Category Archives: Books

BBC to Turn His Dark Materials Into a TV Series

his dark materials books

Confession: I still haven’t read Philip Pullman’s series, His Dark Materials. This may seem like a huge gap in my YA experience but hey, I’m only now watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer so it’s clear I’m behind the times on occasion. I saw The Golden Compass and didn’t love it, although there were concepts I loved, so chances are I’ll enjoy the books more than I did the film. Luckily, someone else is going to attempt to bring the story to screen – the small screen, that is.

BBC One has commissioned an eight-part series based on the British author’s hit young-adult novel trilogy from U.S.-U.K. production company Bad Wolf and New Line Cinema.

Pullman’s tale – originally recounted in the books Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass – follows the tale of an orphan girl named Lyra who lives in a magical, parallel world where mythical creatures exist alongside humans.

As the story unfolds, she is faced with an epic quest, discovers secrets about her past and becomes caught up in a celestial battle that could change the entire universe.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/pullman-his-dark-materials-tv-1.3301466

I trust the BBC to do a pretty decent job with things, so I will be sure to tune in when this 8-part series is released. Will you?

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Simon Snow fanfic novel coming next year!

simon and baz

How totally awesome is Rainbow Rowell?? Not only did she write the fandom favourite Fangirl, but now she is fulfilling the wishes of all who read it by writing a novel called Carry On, about Simon Snow and Baz, ‘written by’ Fangirl protagonist and fanfic/slash author Cath(er)!

Rowell tweeted: “CARRY ON will be a Simon Snow story. And a Simon & Baz story. A love story. It’s my 1st fantasy & it comes out in Oct. I hope you like it!” Hence, Carry Onwill be a full expression of that fake fan fiction. Meta enough for you? ~ http://shelf-life.ew.com/2014/12/10/rainbow-rowell-announces-next-book-and-its-quite-meta/

I absolutely loved Fangirl but at the end was aching to know where Simon and Baz’s relationship ended up. Now we get to find out!

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Recommended Read: The Queen of the Tearling

THE QUEEN OF TEARLING

While I wouldn’t suggest you read The Queen of the Tearling on the heels of Graceling, Fire or Bitterblue by K. Cashore – because it won’t measure up to the wonderfully feminist universes of those other three novels – I would absolutely recommend you sit down with it and settle into a warm, cozy evening of compulsive reading. I use the word ‘compulsive’ because I ended up binge-reading 300 pages within two days and was left wanting more when it was done. The story goes like this: a young women, who has been hidden away and home-schooled by foster caregivers, becomes queen on her 19th birthday and is suddenly the target of assassination attempts coming from multiple parties. She is accompanied to The Keep (her castle) where she must try to both survive, on a daily basis, and learn how to rule a kingdom that is rife with injustice. She is surrounded almost exclusively by male advisors and is thankfully a strong enough woman to hold her own and assert her wishes with men who expect her to collapse in tears any minute. Think Khaleesi with less worshiping and faithful accompaniment.

The story is set a few hundred years in the future, at which point they are living with medieval means (horses, fire, swords) although they refer to the computers of the past. One of my favourite moments comes when the Queen is watching children in her library (books are no longer printed in this world, so a library is an absolute luxury) look at her collection:

Mill’s son and Carlotta’s baby were too young for books, but all of Andalie’s children – except Glee, the toddler – knew how to read, and they seemed to live in the library while their mother was on duty. Kelsea didn’t mind having them there as long as they were quiet. And they were quiet. They had found the seven volumes of Rowling with no help at all, but there was ni squabbling. To Kelsea’s private amusement, the oldest boy, Wen, sat the other three down, and they drew straws, very diplomatically, with four twigs broken from the library’s firewood. Matthew, who was thirteen, won the right to the first book, and the other three were let to look over the shelves for alternatives.

How great that JK Rowling is mentioned amongst other literary greats!

Oh, and there’s a tiny bit of romance (more like a seed for a romantic plot is planted)… and capital-M magic.

There are more books to come, but as this just came out this year it will be quite a wait! Naturally, a movie will be in the works, and unsurprisingly, but disappointingly, it stars Emma Watson as the Queen. Don’t get me wrong, I love our Hermione, but Kelsea is supposed to be ‘plain faced’, of ‘average build’ carrying some ‘extra weight’. The waif-like beauty that is Emma Watson in no way fits any of those descriptions. Sigh.

The Queen of the Tearling is written by Erika Johansen and is available at your library or local independent bookstore!

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Here is the next book series you need to read.

cashore series

A friend bought be Graceling for my birthday back in June, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. Best to read them in order (as pictured), although Bitterblue is actually a sequel to Graceling. However, Fire is connected and Bitterblue will be best understood if you read it beforehand.

These books feature strong, young women who define their relationships and sexualities outside the norms of their societies. They are all connected, in one way or another, to a  royal family/kingdom, and all choose to reject or alter gendered behavioural expectations. There is some content that is quite dark and disturbing, in Bitterblue in particular. But each story finds the protagonist recognizing and using her power, and is reminiscent of the Hunger Games in some of the more survivalist and socially awkward (especially to Katsa, the tomboy Graceling) scenes. (Both the Hunger Games and Graceling were published in 2008, so the likelihood of story-stealing is low.) I’m reading this series for the third time in a row, and have gotten a few friends hooked on it to…. go reserve it at your local library or bookstore!

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Sneak Peak at yet-to-be-released 6th GoT book!

george-r-r-martin ‘The Winds of Winter’ – the 6th book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Because I am not reading the books ahead of the show, I’m not actually going to post the excerpt, just released by George RR Martin. But if you’re interested, here’s the link!

http://variety.com/2014/tv/news/george-r-r-martin-publishes-unseen-chapter-of-new-game-of-thrones-book-1201148936/

 

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YDTWF Valentine’s Day: romanticky queer fan art

I was browsing DeviantART looking for some cool pics to send to my family with Valentine’s Day messages (Ron and Hermione for my aunt, to remind her of their enduring love despite with JK has had to say lately; Smaug and Bilbo for my moms; and random something or other for my sis) and have come across some cool and some very weird fan art. I’m giving you a sample of the thousands of pics you can find if you go looking for it yourself.

sherlock watson HP houses Sherlock and Watson, HP-styles

ron and hermione MLP Ron and Hermione, MLP (My Little Pony) styles – WTF?

harry and draco Harry and Draco, flying on a broom, k-i-s-s-i-n-g…

draco and harry 1 Harry and Draco, via gender-bending cosplay, k-i-s-s-i-n-g…

draco and harry halloweenHarry and Draco, um, er…. dressed up as cats for halloween? K-i-s-s-i-n-g…. hmm.

thomas jimmy unicorns Thomas and Jimmy from Downtown Abbey… on unicorns.

legolas and aragorn Legolas and Aragorn… in lurv.

katniss and johanna Johanna Mason and Katniss……..  unclear, but it looks saucy.

simon and baz simon and baz 2 Simon and Baz…. from ficticious slash fic from a fictional story. A whole new level of nerdy awesomeness! (See Fangirl entry for deets, or better yet, just go read it yourself.)

 

 

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Filed under Books, Downton Abbey, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, Nerdy Stuff

Fangirl: your next must-read

fangirl As is the case with many of the excellent books I’ve read in recent years, Fangirl comes as a suggestion from my friends’ 14 year old daughter on Salt Spring Island, who also turned me onto the Wildwood Chronicles and, most importantly, the Hunger Games. Fangirl features a young woman who heads off to college for the first time (along with her twin sis), and what makes this different from your average coming-of-age tale is that she’s a fanfiction writer followed by thousands of fans. I read 130 pages the first night I started it, and another 130 the next night. It’s such a treat to read a novel written from the insider perspective of someone eyeball-deep in fandom – in this case, based around a fictitious YA series featuring – you guessed it – a world of magic, with a wise old headmaster, a male protagonist destined to beat the evil Insidious Humdrum, a brainy female friend… and an arrogant, smirky nemesis. The fun part about the fanfiction she writes is that it’s slash featuring the lead character and his nemesis in an eventual romance: think Malfoy and Harry breaking through the walls of their mutual disdain, to find love waiting for them! (As thousands of slash writers have dreamed and written about.)

There are great little references to elements that are featured in fandoms, from ‘Keep Calm and …..’ t-shirts bought on etsy.com, to commemorative statues and hand-drawn fan art, to a conversation where the main character is talking about how she felt discussing fanfic with her professor: “She just… made me feel so stupid and… deviant” – which I’m guessing is a tip of the hat to DeviantART.com, a website of art largely comprised of fan art: manga, Zelda and other games, Harry Potter, My Little Pony etc. And Fangirl even includes both excerpts from the series the fanfiction is based on, and the fanfiction itself! Do yourself a favour and go put this book on hold at your local library. You won’t regret it.

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