New James Bond Book Coming in 2015

Most of us book nerds know most good television and movies come from books. Such is the case with one of the most famous spies of all time: Bond, James Bond. And come 2015, there will be plenty more where that came from.

According to Entertainment Weeklywriter Anthony Horowitz will pen a new James Bond novel to be released next year. The novel will be developed from an unpublished story written by the original author of the 007 series, Ian Fleming. The story, entitled Murder on Wheels, will be renamed Project One and will revolve around Bond and race cars — because he always needs a little action, right?

The estate of Ian Fleming gave Horowitz the story to use, and apparently both the estate and Horowitz have done this before. The estate has given several stories to authors to develop into novels and publish, and Horowitz has also written Sherlock Holmes stories, with the permission of Sherlock author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Nothing like rewriting history, huh?

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Lois Lane YA Novel On the Way

Not many care about Lois Lane when there’s the Supermanish Clark Kane flying around. But that’s about to change.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the Superman comic character Lois Lane will soon have her own full-length young adult novel. Entitled Lois Lane: Fallout, the book is the first to tell the story of Lane, an investigative reporter who grew up as an army brat.

Switch Press in association with DC Entertainment will publish the YA novel, which will tell the story of the teenage version of Lane, as enters her new high school in Metropolis, where trouble is on the way. That’s also where she befriends someone with the screen name “SmallvilleGuy.” You can imagine what happens next.

No word on when the book will be released.

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Movie vs. Book: Gone Girl

The morning of Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth anniversary starts off normally enough. Nick heads to work at the bar he owns in a small Missouri town, leaving his wife, Amy, at home to do whatever it is housewives do. But this day is unlike any other. Nick comes home to find Amy’s missing. The house is in disarray, as if there were a struggle, and no one seems to know where Amy is.

Suddenly, Nick and Amy’s anniversary turns into a police-assisted hunt for Amy. The story about the beautiful missing housewife quickly goes national, and as time passes, the media and people across the country peg Nick as a killer. He smiles when he should appear sad. He’s kind to others, instead of pissed off or upset. Not to mention, his alibi is shoddy, and police determine that the crime scene looks staged.

While all this is going on, we get a glimpse into Amy’s version of the story through flashback scenes dictated by Amy’s diary entries. We see both the happy times Nick and Amy had together (their first kiss! Nick’s proposal!) and the bad times (Nick hit Amy! She wants to buy a gun!). So what happened to Amy? And did Nick have something to do with it?

What I’ve detailed for you is a summary of both the novel and the movie. I say that because the movie stays so true to the book, thanks to the fact that Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn also wrote the film’s screenplay. Not only does the movie follow the book to a T, the casting is also incredibly on point. Ben Affleck is a natural at Nick Dunne’s aloof, smug charm. A relatively unknown Rosamund Pike plays Amy in an exceptionally sharp, twisted, scary way. Neil Patrick Harris as one of Amy’s former lover’s and Tyler Perry as Nick’s lawyer round out the perfectly-casted bunch.

There are a few minor changes, but it’s hard to describe them and not reveal any spoilers about the story. I do, however, think it’s safe to say that one thing the movie does differently is make the viewer hate Amy more than Nick at the end. The movie makes you sympathize with Nick and feel bad for the poor bastard. But when I finished the novel, I hated both Nick and Amy equally by the end. Aside from that, the casting, the direction, the music and sound, and the overall opportunity to see this story rather than picture it your head might make it even more twisted and creepy than the book. And I mean that in a good way.

Get Gone Girl ( Movie Tie-In Edition) for $7.86.

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Review: Astonish Me

Recap: Talk about scandal taking center stage. When Joan Joyce, a young up-and-coming professional ballerina, meets famed international ballet superstar Arslan Rusakov, a brief romance sets them on a journey neither of them expect. They meet in the 1970’s in Paris, as Joan is working to get her not-so-perfect ballet feet wet. While Arslan is one of the most talented, Joan is not. But there is something about her that astonishes Arslan, and he relies on her to help him deflect and smuggle him into the United States. Their romance ends soon thereafter, as does Joan’s career. She teaches ballet, but leaves Arslan, her best friend Elaine, and the world of professional dance behind.

Joan goes on to marry and raise a son, who has his own knack for ballet, in California. She teaches him ballet, as well as her son’s friend/neighbor/crush. The kids become points of pride for Joan, proving her to be a talent when it comes to teaching ballet. But both Joan and her husband have mixed emotions when faced with the idea that the children may one day surpass Joan with more successful professional dance careers, and that it could lead Joan back to Arslan at some point. While the act of ballet is physical, dance weighs heavier on the hearts and minds of these families than it does on their feet and muscles.

Analysis: When this novel came out earlier this year, all any of the reviews talked about was what a phenomenal writer author Maggie Shipstead was. Each review mentioned her debut novel, Seating Arrangements — which I immediately borrowed from a friend — and said that Astonish Me wasn’t quite as good as Seating Arrangements, but was a very close second. I have to agree.

Like Seating Arrangements, Astonish Me tells an intricate story of a family whose lives revolve around a certain categorized system of social class. In Seating Arrangements, it’s that of a prep school/Ivy League crowd. In Astonish Me, it’s a ballet crowd. And similarly to her debut novel, Astonish Me relishes in the scandals amongst its characters, in the complex weaving of relationships, almost as twisted as a pair of lace-up pointe shoes. But Shipstead’s writing makes the story less trashy and more scandalous in the way that many love-driven classic novels are written, like those by Edith Wharton or Jane Austen.

MVP: Joan’s best friend, Elaine. Even though Joan is more of the titular character, the woman around whom the novel revolves and the woman who “astonishes,” she comes across as mostly plain, drab, and unremarkable throughout the novel. Elaine is the strongest female character of the book, an independent woman who both knows and does what she wants.

Get Astonish Me in hardcover for $16.41.

Or on your Kindle for $10.99.

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Barnes & Noble Nook Division To Become Its Own Company

In an attempt to resuscitate its failing e-reader division, Barnes & Noble has decided to split into two companies.

According to Mashable, the company will separate the division for its Nook e-readers into a separate company by the end of the first quarter of 2015. Barnes & Noble CEO Michael Huseby released this statement:

“We believe we are now in a better position to begin in earnest those steps necessary to accomplish a separation of NOOK Media and Barnes & Noble Retail. We have determined that these businesses will have the best chance of optimizing shareholder value if they are capitalized and operated separately.”

Basically, this means he hopes the separate Nook company will be more flexible on its own and therefore acquire more partnerships or even new owners. Microsoft, for example, could theoretically purchase the company. But branching off may have little to no impact on the Nook company. It’s been struggling for years, and has continued to decline in sales revenue, as other e-readers and phone apps compete in the digital market.

Guess we’ll have to wait at least another six months to see what happens.

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Bruce Springsteen To Publish Children’s Book

springsteen-outlaw-pete-bookAnother celebrity is penning another children’s book.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Bruce Springsteen is set to publish Outlaw Pete, due out November 4th. The picture book is based on The Boss’s 2009 song, also called Outlaw Pete. In case you you’re not familiar, the song tells the story of a bank-robbing baby:

Outlaw Pete…

He was born a little baby on the Appalachian Trail
At six months old he’d done three months in jail
He robbed a bank in his diapers and his little bare baby feet
All he said was “Folks, my name is Outlaw Pete.”

I’m Outlaw Pete!
I’m Outlaw Pete!
Can you hear me?

At twenty-five a mustang pony he did steal
And they rode around and ’round on heaven’s wheel
Father Jesus, I’m an outlaw, killer and a thief
And I slow down only to sow my grief

I’m Outlaw Pete!
I’m Outlaw Pete!
Can you hear me?

He cut his trail of tears across the countryside
And where he went, women wept and men died
One night he woke from a vision of his own death
Saddled his pony and rode her deep into the West
Married a Navajo girl and settled down on the res
And as the smoke fell he held that beautiful daughter to his chest

I’m Outlaw Pete!
I’m Outlaw Pete!
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?

Out of the East on an Irish stallion came Bounty Hunter Dan
His heart quickened and burdened by the need to get his man
He found Pete peacefully fishing by the river, pulled his gun and got the drop
He said, “Pete, you think you’ve changed, but you have not.”
He cocked his pistol, pulled the trigger and shouted, “Let it stop!”
He drew a knife from his boot and pierced Dan through the heart
Dan smiled as he lay in his own blood dying in the sun
And whispered in Pete’s ear, “We cannot undo these things we’ve done.”

You’re Outlaw Pete!
You’re Outlaw Pete!
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?

For forty days and nights Pete rode and did not stop
Till he sat high upon an icy mountain top
He watched a hawk on a desert updraft slip and slide
Moved to the edge and dug his spurs deep into his pony’s side

Some say Pete and his pony vanished over the edge
Some say they remain frozen high upon that icy ledge
The young Navajo girl washes in the river, skin so fair
And braids a piece of Pete’s buckskin chaps into her hair

Outlaw Pete!
Outlaw Pete!
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?

Frank Caruso will illustrate the picture book. Springsteen is just another one of the many celebrities and rock stars to pen a children’s book, in addition to Madonna, Keith Richards, and Jimmy Buffett.

 

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Review: 27

Recap: When pop music sensation Amy Winehouse died of an overdose a little more than three years ago, the world was stunned — and then it wasn’t. Yes, the British singer was a 27-year-old, whose music was just starting to gain popularity in the United States. But ultimately, it was clear that Winehouse had been down a destructive, drug-consuming and alcohol-consuming path for years. Her singing voice had gotten worse. Her body had become visibly weak. She was in the media often for doing crazy and bizarre things, and her substance abuse problem was no secret.

But it resulted in an outcome that could either be considered morbid or legendary: she entered “The 27 Club.” That is to say, she “joined the club” of other famous rock stars and musicians who have also died at 27. The other big names in the club include Brian Jones, of The Rolling Stones, Jim Morrison of The Doors, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Kurt Cobain. 27 explores the “club,” putting into perspective whether famous musicians are more likely to die at that age for some reason, and if so, why, or if it’s just coincidence.

The author’s point of view? Mostly coincidence. But he researched the backgrounds of each of these six most notable members of the “club,” examining their relationships with their parents, with drugs and alcohol, with sexuality, and with fame and success at a young age. He more or less explains that anyone who achieves such success so early in life may be more inclined to die young — especially when issues with confidence, substance abuse and family are at play.

Analysis: The research done for this nonfiction book is extensive, as one would expect from acclaimed biographer Howard Sounes, and that research proves how many things these celebrities had in common — aside from their innate musical talent.

As Sounes points out the similarities between these musicians, it’s less surprising their lives would lead to same ultimate outcome. Many of them had terrible relationships with their parents. All dabbled in drugs and alcohol at a young age, and were equally as experimental sexually. Most of that stemmed from self-esteem and confidence issues — not thinking they were good enough, scared to be alone, stage fright. Some even suffered from mental health problems, like Brian Jones, who was said to be bipolar. Most of them had already peaked professionally and had been kicked out of their bands, given horrible performances, and been arrested several times.

The book explores their deaths as much as it explores their lives. Brian Jones drowned in a pool after a night of drinking and drugs. Jim Morrison, after taking heroin and laying in a bathtub. Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, overdoses. Amy Winehouse, alcohol. Kurt Cobain, the only suicide. But there are dozens of theories about how each of these people died  — murder, being the primary suggestion.

The author suggests it’s no surprise they died so young because by 27, most of them had lived full lives, accomplishing and going through more than what most people achieve in a lifetime. Whether you’re a big music fan or not, 27 is more than worth a read, with its six true tales of life, success and death.

Get 27 in hardcover for $18.74.

Or get it on your Kindle for $12.99.

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