Monthly Archives: September 2011

Like Radio, Books Aren’t Going Anywhere

In the 1950’s, when television entered the market, the industry feared radio would become a thing of the past. Sixty years later, we’re still listening, and those worry warts are smiling. And it seems the same thing is happening with books.

Though the public is generally more inclined to turn on the tube than pick up a book, it seems books are actually growing in popularity, according to a new survey by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group.

According to this article by the New York Times, a recent study shows the publishing industry has expanded since as recently as 2008. Numbers are up in all categories — including trade, academic, and professional books. Researchers say that may be due to the rise in adult students who have returned to school to increase their marketability and find jobs in a struggling economy. Another reason for the increase? As Julie Bosman explains: e-books.

Sales of trade books grew 5.8 percent to $13.9 billion, fueled partly by e-books, the report said. Juvenile books, which include the current young-adult craze for paranormal and dystopian fiction, grew 6.6 percent over three years.

One of the strongest growth areas was adult fiction, which had a revenue increase of 8.8 percent over three years.

E-books were another bright spot, thanks to the proliferation and declining cost of e-reading devices like the Nook by Barnes & Noble and Amazon’s Kindle, and the rush by publishers to digitize older books.

The end of the article, however, touches on a few notable drops, like hardcover trade books. Overall, it’s nice to see that not only is the publishing industry doing well, but improving! As a book lover, it gives me all kinds of warm and fuzzies to know that books will keep on keeping on.

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Movie vs. Book: The Help

On the surface, it’s a story about civil rights. But really, it’s one of friendship. The Help follows the story of two black maids, Aibileen and Minny, Miss Skeeter, an aspiring writer, and their friends and families down South in the 1960’s. The book is a bestseller, and rightfully so. And the movie, a hit.

Normally, when a phenomenal book is turned into a movie, it’s terrible. The director doesn’t do the characters justice. But here, director Tate Taylor gets it just right. The movie does an excellent job of portraying the deep love between Minny and Aibileen. Not to mention, Minny’s attitude. But Taylor even managed to make Emma Stone (as Skeeter) ugly, which is a key point in the story. In the book, it’s sometimes hard to recognize the appreciation the maids and their employers have for each other. But when we see it onscreen — facial expressions and all — we realize there’s something there. Though they’re unwilling to admit it, these white women couldn’t live without their maids.

That’s not to say there aren’t a few changes in the movie. For instance, some of the plot points are a little out of order. Others are just a tad off from what actually happens in the book. But I recognize that when you’re making a complicated story a movie, there are things that need to be altered. For instance, the woman Minny works for — Celia Foote — miscarries her 4th child. In the novel, Minny doesn’t know Celia was ever pregnant, so the miscarriage is a complete shock. It remains shocking onscreen too, but in the movie, Celia tells Minny she’s pregnant when she hires her, undeniably stealing away from that surprise at the end.

Then again, some of the changes made in the movie version of The Help work. Like Sissy Spacek, who plays Hilly Holbrook’s mother. As readers/viewers, we all know Hilly (played by Bryce Dallas Howard) is the least likeable, most devilish character. But her mother knows it too. In the novel, her mother plays a minor role — one that shows how cruel Hilly can be. But in the movie, there’s more focus on her. She’s funny and aware of her daughter’s cruelty. By showing disdain for her own daughter, we’re left feeling even more hateful of Hilly.

Overall, the changes the movie makes are minor. Like the book, I still cried at the end. I still finished it feeling like I needed to hang out with my girlfriends. And I still left understanding more about the life of the help than I ever had. And after all, isn’t that the point?

Click here to buy The Help in paperback for just $8.80 — a total savings of 45%.

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Get Robopocalypse in Hardcover for $15

I’ve yet to get my hands on it, but Daniel Wilson’s Robopocalypse has been on my reading list for a while. It’s gotten amazing reviews, and it sounds like one of the best science fiction novels of the year. The story centers around a robot uprising, which puts the robots in control of the Earth.

Sounds a little crazy, but it’s science fiction, so you’re sure to get what you asked for. Not to mention, according to IMDB, Steven Spielberg is already in the process of turning the book into a movie (production begins next year).

Right now, Amazon’s got an amazing $15 dollar deal for the hardcover version of the book. A steal! Especially for a brand-new bestseller. In a rare occasion, I’m going to go ahead and recommend you stick your nose into Robopocalypse, even though I haven’t yet had the chance.

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Captain G-Unit: 50 Cent to Pen Comic Book

Rapper 50 Cent is already a New York Times bestseller with his book, The 50th Law. But now he’s looking to capitalize on his writing success by penning a comic book (which will be co-written by Robert Greene).

According to this article by XXL News, the comic will be based on his bestselling book. The 50th Law (co-written by Robert Greene) is a how-to for achieving success. SmarterComics will publish it next year in print and e-book versions. As Lauren Carter explains, the publishing company “combines the educational power of textbooks with the visual appeal and entertainment value of comic books.”

I hadn’t known that 50 Cent had a book, but now I’m curious to read it. I’m also wondering how a self-help book will become a comic book. After all, aren’t most comics fantasies?

Get The 50th Law for just $11 — a total savings of 44%.

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Get For One More Day for $15 in Hardcover

There’s a hot deal right now for Mitch Albom’s bestseller For One More Day. Now you can get it in hardcover for less than $15 — a total savings of 32%. And it’s less than $10 on Kindle or in paperback.

I reviewed it a few months ago, and pointed out its fantastical take on life and death. It’s a tearjerker, but it makes you think and appreciate what you’ve been given.

Definitely worth picking up.

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Perez Hilton To Publish Children’s Book

Born This Way. Firework. It Gets Better. These uplifting themes that have become pop culture references in their own right are exactly what’s going into Perez Hilton’s new children’s book.

Called The Boy With Pink Hair, the book follows the story of a young boy with pink hair who gets bullied, makes a friend, and overcomes the hate. According to this Entertainment Weekly article, the book is creative and tells an inspiring story. As Stephen Lee explains, there’s no reason for parents who might not like Perez Hilton to worry.

No, the “Boy with Pink Hair” isn’t a euphemism for “Boy with Homosexual Tendencies,” as some may fear; the book will appeal to creative kids who may have been picked on for their offbeat interests…Devoid of Hilton’s signature snark and celebrity obsession, The Boy with Pink Hair is a harmless, fun read for kids.

It sounds to me like this children’s book is a keeper. And we all know what that means…the famed celebrity blogger’s new title may very well be bestseller.

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Review: One Day

Recap: All it takes is one day to fall in love. And so begins the story of Dex and Em, Em and Dex, as they so coyly refer to themselves. Emma Morley is a self-conscious, brilliant beauty who’s not sure quite what she wants out of life. Dexter Mayhew is a lost puppy himself, but he’s got all the charm, looks, confidence, and sex drive of an 18-year-old frat boy.

The story begins when the two of them fall into bed together just after graduating from college in Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s July 15, 1988. The book follows their rocky relationship over the next 20 years, each chapter marking where they are on July 15th of a particular year.

It takes us through Em’s loveless relationships, Dex’s rise to and fall from fame, Em’s struggle to start a career in writing, Dex’s alcoholism, Em’s affair, and Dex’s divorce. Fate and their disdain for loneliness is what keeps them coming back to each other.

Analysis: The rollercoaster ride of Em and Dex’s relationship made me feel up and down about this book overall. Initially, I couldn’t put it down. The flirtation, romance, and awkwardness between the two of them was relatable and funny. Despite their glaring flaws, these two characters maintained likeability.

But as the story progressed and they both had moments in which their lives spiraled out of control, I found myself hating them more and more. I had to force myself to read in the hopes they would get together. It was like watching the movie Serendipity 10 times in a row.

In the third act, it picks back up, and I fell back in love with the characters. But there’s the ending. A shocking, depressing, and very unnecessary one (for those who haven’t spoiled it for themselves like I did). It simply forced drama in an already dramatic relationship. The very last chapter was well done — sentimental, romantic, and beautiful. But the fact that I was able to imagine the story done differently and still have the same poetic last chapter is not a good sign.

However, bonus points for the cool formatting of the story. To follow them on the same day every year was a new way of storytelling I had not yet experienced.

MVP: Emma Morley. As unlikable as she is at parts, she’s real. She’s beautiful, but sleeps with all the wrong men. She’s brilliant, but can’t find work. She’s awkward and cynical and downright British. And as she continues to explore her relationship with Dexter, overanalyzing it and both hating and loving it simultaneously, we realize we’ve all been Emma Morley at one time or another.


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