Monthly Archives: October 2011

H&M To Offer Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Clothing Line

Anyone who’s ever read the Millenium trilogy (aka The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books) is entranced by the story’s heroine, Lisbeth Salander. She’s the badass most women wish they had the cajones to be. She’s strong, fierce, and doesn’t take no for an answer.

But if you’re having a hard time inheriting her strong attitude, it’s okay. Now you can wear her clothes. Sort of.

According to this article by the L.A. Times, H&M is launching a new line of clothing next month, inspired by the wardrobe of Lisbeth Salander. The trendy international clothing store was established in Sweden, where the Millenium series and its author Stieg Larsson are from. The chain plans to release the Salander line December 14th, a week before the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is due to come out in theaters.

Lisbeth Salander is described as a punk, gothic character, and it seems that’s what shoppers can expect from the line — lots of leather, pleather, and deep, muted colors.

Not only is it an amazing marketing strategy for the new movie, but it’s also the perfect kind of clothing for winter. Not to mention, it fits in seamlessly with what H&M already offers. I’m definitely checking out the new line. Will you?

 

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Sookie Stackhouse Saga to End

Sorry, vampire lovers. There will be no more new adventures in the Sookie Stackhouse saga.

You’ll still be able to watch Anna Paquin get her bloody sex on, on HBO’s True Blood, but the series of novels on which hit TV show is based is ending with the release of its final book in May 2013, author Charlaine Harris recently announced.

According to this article by USA Today, Harris is leaving Stackhouse behind for a new venture into graphic novels.

It will be new territory for the author, who has only written novels to date. The graphic novel trilogy will tell the story of a teenaged girl who has amnesia and grew up living alone in a cemetery. The first novel will be aptly titled Cemetery Girl. Harris plans to release it in 2013.S

She says graphic novels are a good fit for this concept, according to Deirdre Donahue.

In a press release from her publisher, Harris said “I’d had the bones of the plot for Cemetery Girl in my head for a year when Chris suggested I re-imagine it as a graphic novel. Suddenly, the project made a lot more sense. Since Chris has more experience in the graphic novel field that I do, we agreed to team up for my first-ever collaboration. This is an exciting venture for both of us.”

But there’s still more Sookie to come. The next Sookie Stackhouse novel, Deadlocked, is set to be released May 1, 2012.

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Interview with Steve Jobs’ Biographer & His New Book

In case you missed it last night, here is the 60 Minutes interview with Steve Jobs’ biographer, Walter Isaacson.

(Note: CBS does not have an embed code for their show. This link takes you to Youtube, where you can find the follow-up links to the rest of the interview. Plus….)

Isaacson’s book about Steve Jobs is on shelves today. Get Steve Jobs in hardcover for less than $20.

 

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Amazon’s Book Monopoly Is Growing

Amazon already sells books. It may soon start a Netflix-like rental service. And now it’s entering another field in the book industry: publishing.

According to this article by The New York Times, Amazon will publish 122 books and e-books this fall. This is good news for authors and the book industry in general. Now authors who may have had a difficult time getting published will have a fresh set of eyes to look at their material, which could result in a second chance at publishing. And in terms of the book industry, that means more books will be physically and digitally available to people all over the world.

But it’s bad news for the intermediate players in the game: the publishers and agents, as David Streitfeld explains in his article.

“Everyone’s afraid of Amazon,” said Richard Curtis, a longtime agent who is also an e-book publisher. “If you’re a bookstore, Amazon has been in competition with you for some time. If you’re a publisher, one day you wake up and Amazon is competing with you too. And if you’re an agent, Amazon may be stealing your lunch because it is offering authors the opportunity to publish directly and cut you out.

Either way, Amazon is creating a book industry monopoly. It may be cruel, but it’s also smart. And as one of Amazon’s top executives, Russell Grandinetti,  says in the article, “The only really necessary people in the publishing process now are the writer and reader. Everyone who stands between those two has both risk and opportunity.”

 

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Amy Winehouse’s Father to Pen Daughter’s Biography

Whenever a celebrity dies, the quickly-published biography is inevitable. But in the case of Amy Winehouse, it’s the author that makes her biography unusual. Her father, Mitch Winehouse, signed a deal with HarperCollins to write Amy, My Daughter, which is set to be released next summer.

This is an all-around bad idea for a few reasons:

1. The deal paints Mitch Winehouse in a bad light. The fact that a father is financially benefiting from his daughter’s death makes me nauseous.

2. In order to properly write a biography, the author must do extensive research on the subject. Mitch Winehouse obviously knew his daughter, Amy. But that’s not to say he knew her well. Though her drug abuse was apparent, he would have to speak with her friends, ex-boyfriends and colleagues to learn the extent of it, and that’s not going to make his grieving period go any smoother.

3. If he doesn’t do the appropriate research and instead writes her biography how he saw it, it will be emotional and loving, but has the potential to show bias and make excuses for her behavior.

It’s for these reasons that Carolyn Kellogg, who wrote this article for the L.A. Times, suggests Winehouse’s good friend and former addict Russell Brand write the biography instead.

But of the many forms that mourning can take, a memoir of a lost daughter seems ill-advised at best. What kind of perspective can Amy Winehouse’s father have? How can he be expected to deal with her difficulties, her proclivities? In a 2007 interview with the Guardian, not long after her album “Back to Black” came out, Winehouse said she wanted her superpower to be “supersexuality”; her one-word answer to “How do you relax?” was “sex”; and her most unappealing habit was “being an abusive drunk.” A straightforward biography would be hard enough — but one from her father?

Instead, I’d like to nominate Russell Brand to write it. His memoirial to Amy Winehouse, which appeared in the Guardian sparkled with intelligence, insight and empathy.

Unfortunately, it seems the rights have already been signed over to Mitch Winehouse, and there’s not much that can be done at this point. We all know Amy, My Daughter is bound to be a bestseller anyway. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best decision.

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Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Recap: In this post 9/11 saga, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close tells the story of 9-year-old Oskar Schell, who sets out on a journey to connect with his father, who died in the September 11th terrorist attacks. The two had a special bond; Oskar’s father used to give Oskar puzzles and tasks to figure out.

So when Oskar discovers a blue vase in his father’s bedroom with an envelope and key inside, he assumes this is one last puzzle his father left for him to piece together. Oskar is on a mission to discover what the key opens. The envelope says “BLACK,” so he starts visiting all the people in New York City whose last names are “Black.”Along the way he makes friends and keeps searching for something that will connect him to his dead father.

Oskar narrates these sections by including letters and photos. Additional narrators include Oskar’s grandparents. They tell the story of how they met, their marriage, their breakup, and so forth through letters.

Analysis: This story is a coming-of-age story told through a very manufactured setting. The 9/11 ties add elements of grieving and loss that make Oskar’s adolescent development all the more complicated. But his quest to find that last connection to his father is empowering and poetic. And the people he meets and relationships he forms along the way also add to the piece.

That’s not to say the book didn’t have its issues. The alternating narrations were an interesting idea, but they weren’t absolutely necessary. The faulty relationship between the two grandparents makes them unlikeable, and I found myself wanting to skip ahead to the portions about Oskar and his search for the lock. The search for the lock is what keeps the story moving. I was as curious as Oskar is about finding what the key opens. And though finding it is highly unrealistic, I felt the same hope he does about uncovering the gift his father left him.

But the end left me disappointed. And while the purpose of every story is to show growth in the main character, I don’t know if I feel as though Oskar has grown very much by the end of the book. And for me, that was another disappointment.

Overall, I would still recommend it. The book is an interesting mix of photos, letters, and narration. For me, the writing of the book was better than the actual content. Plus, it’s coming to theaters soon, starring Tom Hanks (as Oskar’s father) and Sandra Bullock (as his mother). See the trailer below.

MVP: Mr. Black. After Oskar meets him on his “Black”-seeking adventure, Mr. Black decides to join him on his visits around New York City. Oskar is so lonely, so for him to have a companion who watches over him in a fatherly way is beautiful to read about.

Get Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close for just $10.

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Books-A-Million to Take Over Borders Storefronts

In the past, the ongoing bookstore battle always featured the same two players: Borders and Barnes and Noble. Now that Borders has closed its doors, a new storefront will be filling in: Books-A-Million.

According to this article by the L.A. Times, the Alabama-based chain is set to replace 14 of the Borders storefronts throughout the country, including those located in Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota.

In all honesty, it doesn’t sound as though Books-A-Million will be all that different from what Borders did and what Barnes and Noble is still doing. According to this article by the Rapid City Journal, it will still be the home to a number of books, a line of e-books for the Nook, and it will have a coffee shop inside, called Joe Muggs.

It’s good to hear that the Border storefronts won’t go to waste completely. But I do wonder how Books-A-Million will be able to withstand the economic hardship that Borders suffered. If it’s the same thing as Borders was, how does it stand to profit? I’m also curious to know if more Books-A-Million stores will open down the road, if it does well.

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