Upcoming Smeyer

The unstoppable Smeyer machine keeps chugging along: a new novella, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner drops 5 June, just before the release of Eclipse in theaters. Here’s the deets over at B&N. And a synopsis: Continue reading “Upcoming Smeyer”


How to Train Your Dragon and the Question of the Animal

Let’s just get it out of the way right now that I really enjoyed How To Train Your Dragon. I’m always anxious about Dreamworks’ animated features – Kung Fu Panda was thoroughly enjoyable, the Shrek franchise is hit or miss, and the Madagascars are execrable – but Dragon was a pleasure. The characters are charming, the animation approaches Pixar-exquisite, the story, though slight, is entertaining, and the dragons are beautiful. The film is based on Cressida Cowell’s young reader series. Briefly, the story follows Hiccup (voiced by the adorable Jay Baruchel), a misfit Viking who bonds with a dragon and must convince his tribe – whose culture is centered around conflict with the dragons – that everything they know about the beasts is wrong. Continue reading “How to Train Your Dragon and the Question of the Animal”

Twilight the Graphic Novel Redux

This week saw the release of both the New Moon DVD and the Twilight graphic novel. Whoo hoo. I somewhat shamefacedly purchased the DVD (at the same time, I bought Where the Wild Things Are to maintain balance in the universe, and Becky bought one too, so I wasn’t alone in my shame), but am waffling about whether or not to buy the graphic novel. I am a casual manga fan, love love love the Holly Black g.n., and kind of feel obligated to own a thing if I’m going to bitch about it loudly after a couple of glasses of Malbec, so I decided to check out some of the reviews. Continue reading “Twilight the Graphic Novel Redux”

Percy Jackson

The film of Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief opens on Friday.

I’m looking forward to it. Rick Riordan’s books did for Greek myth what Harry Potter did for the wizarding world. But don’t let the comparisons to Harry Potter dissuade you from seeing the film (or reading the books, for that matter). Riordan’s characters are likable and charming, and the action is brisk.With Chris Columbus at the helm the films should be engaging. Continue reading “Percy Jackson”

Bad Moon Rising

I went to New Moon last night with my friend Becky. She’s a better blogger than I am, a sincere and unrepentant feminist, and a YA lit fan. She’s also my chosen movie companion, joining me for Where the Wild Things Are, two Harry Potter movies, and even the execrable Transformers 2 (how do you make a robot battle movie boring? Ask Michael Bay.). Anyway, Becky and I have been discussing the Twilight phenomenon, how alarmed we are by its inveterate anti-feminism, how much Becky wants to marry (or something) Robert Pattinson, and how werewolves can be cougar-bait for some time now and so, though we had some mixed feelings about it, we decided to go to a late show on a school night (to minimize the number of squealing tweens we’d have to sit next to). Continue reading “Bad Moon Rising”

Some Books Are to Be Tasted

In Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart, the plaque on the door to Mo’s bookbinding workshop bears the legend:

Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly. 

Now just about anyone who has completed a Brit Lit I course (or had to teach one), will recognize this as a paraphrase from Francis Bacon (philosopher, not painter). Continue reading “Some Books Are to Be Tasted”


I snagged Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan the minute it dropped. (Simon Pulse, ISBN: 9781416971733) I was out in Massachusetts on a research fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society and didn’t have time to read it all the way through right away, so picked up the audio book version as well (ISBN: 9780743583886). Continue reading “Leviathan!”

Gay Vampire Boyfriends

In the latest issue of Esquire, columnist Stephen Marche offers an intriguing take on the current vampire craze.  In “What’s Really Going on With All These Vampires,” Marche proposes that the vampire characters are proxies for gay men, and the fantasies encoded in books like Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books (for an older but no less fantasy prone audience), involve the awkward girl scoring with the un-gettable guy. Continue reading “Gay Vampire Boyfriends”

Harry Potter: The Boy Who… umm… Drank?

The New York Times has an article on concerns about drinking in the new Harry Potter film. In a story where potion-making, -drinking, and -sneaking becomes central to the story line – from the liquid luck awarded Harry by Slughorn, to the rampant love potions, to the poisoned mead, and of course the disastrous liquor that hides the Horcrux in the sea cave, potions of some sort propel almost every twist of the plot – it’s no surprise that liquid charms would show up in the film. Continue reading “Harry Potter: The Boy Who… umm… Drank?”