Tag Archives: online

Fans Praise ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Web Series

Almost 200 years after it was published, Pride and Prejudice is having a moment…online, that is.

According to The Daily Dot, a modernized version of the classic tale is now a web series, called the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, or LBD. It takes the form of a vlog hosted by the main character, Lizzie Bennet. The beauty of the series is that producers and writers can go in depth with the story, better describing the characters and using each episode to act out each chapter of the novel. Co-producer Hank Green got the idea for the series from his wife, who’s a big Jane Austen fan, and the now the series is taking off as Aja Romano explains.

Green promoted the show to his legions of fans, known as Nerdfighters. Thousands of them faithfully flocked to the LBD despite not having read the novel or knowing anything about the plot. This phenomenon led to an ongoing wonder in the comments of each YouTube video, as fans who know the story by heart interacted with fans who begged other fans not to spoil them for what happened next.

The big news this week is that after 59 web episodes — 59! — Darcy was finally introduced. Fans of the series took to Tumblr and Twitter to freak out about the episode. Here’s a clip of the 60th episode of the show:

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‘Hunger Games’ Outsells ‘Harry Potter’ on Amazon

Sorry, Potter fans. Hunger Games fans are better than you …in terms of Amazon sales anyway.

According to Deadline, The Hunger Games trilogy is now Amazon’s top-selling book series of all time, outselling Harry Potter. Sales numbers include both physical books and e-books. Exact sale numbers are not being released, according to The New York Times.

Despite The Hunger Games’ obvious popularity with young adults, it’s still surprising, considering there are seven Harry Potter books that were released over 10+ years, compared to only three books in The Hunger Games trilogy, released over four years.

Another close call on the list? No surprise here: E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, which is still number one on The New York Times bestseller lists for print, e-book, and paperback trade fiction.

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‘Fifty Shades’ Classical Album Available for Download This Week

For those who have read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, you know the role classical music plays in the story. Christian often puts on classical music while he and Ana have their “alone time.” But it’s much more than that.

For Christian, classical music is a coping mechanism. He often plays pieces on the piano when he wakes up from nightmares. He also puts it on in his car while he drives Ana around town.

Now according to Entertainment Weekly, bestselling author E.L. James is a releasing an album of classical music that inspired her while she wrote the trilogy. James selected the pieces, which were mentioned throughout the books as well. The album is available for download Tuesday. The CD will be released in September.

The 15-track album includes music by Bach, Chopin, and Verdi. EW‘s Ray Rahman reveals the track list:

1. Lakmé (Act I): Flower Duet (Mady Mesplé, Danielle Millet)

2. Bach: Adagio from Concerto #3 BWV 974 (Alexandre Tharaud)

3. Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasilerias #5 — Cantilena (Barbara Hendricks)

4. Verdi: La Traviata Prelude (Riccardo Muti / Philharmonia Orchestra)

5. Pachelbel: Canon in D (Sir Neville Marriner/ Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields)

6. Tallis: Spem in Alium (The Tallis Scholars)

7. Chopin: Prelude #4 in E minor, Largo (Samson François)

8. Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto #2 — Adagio Sostenuto(Cecile Ousset, Sir Simon Rattle / CBSO)

9. Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (Sir Adrian Boult / LPO)

10. Canteloube: Chants d’auvergne, Bailero (Arleen Auger)

11. Chopin: Nocturne #1 in B-flat minor (Samson François)

12. Faure: Requiem — In Paradisum (Choir of King’s College, Cambridge / Stephen Cleobury)

13. Bach: Goldberg Variation — Aria (Maria Tipo)

14. Debussy: La Fille Aux Cheveux de Lin (Moura Lympany)

15. Bach: Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring (Alexis Weissenberg)

 

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Great Web Sites for Bookworms

If you’re a bookworm like me — and you probably are, since you’re reading my blog — there are a few fantastic web sites to help you keep track of what books you’re reading, see what people think of them, share books, and know when books are being adapted into feature films. So here you go…take a look at some of the awesome web sites that will enhance your nerdiness and give you a new way to connect with other readers.

Goodreads.com:  Goodreads is one of the more well-known book sites. More and more, I’m finding that people are already familiar with Goodreads, which acts as a social networking site for readers. Once you make a Goodreads profile — for free — you can become friends with other Goodreads users, and search books that you’ve read or are interested in. You can then separate those books into lists: Read, Currently Reading, and To-Read. The lists help you keep track of what you’ve read. Once you finish reading a book, you can also rate it on a scale of 5 stars, as well as add your own review.  This allows your friends to look at what you’ve read, see how much you liked a particular book, and decide whether or not they want to read it. And vice versa. You’re able to view all the books your friends are reading, have read, or want to read, and then decide if you’re interested, based on how they rate it. The web site also offers book recommendations catered to you, based on what you’ve already read.

Bookcrossing.com: Bookcrossing is another social networking site, but it works in a very different way from Goodreads. Bookcrossing acts as an online library, where you can share and trade books with other readers. Instead of letting your old books collect dust on your bookshelf, you can register it on the site, label it, and send it to someone who’d like to read it. Not only can you share books, but you can then track them. Only 29% of the site’s users are from the United States, which means your book could travel anywhere in the world, and you’ll always know where it is. How amazing is it to be able to send your book to someone in Finland, Germany, or even just Wisconsin and follow your book on its journey around the world? Bookcrossing also allows you to borrow books from people around the world, which means you can probably get a hold of books you never thought you’d have access to. Bookcrossing is also free to join.

Readit1st.com: When I know a book is being adapted into a movie, I vow to read the book first, then see the movie. I feel like I owe it to the book, as the original, to read that first. And I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way. That’s what Readit1st is for; you can sign up for the site and receive newsletters about when the newest book-movie adaptation is coming to the big screen. On the site’s homepage, you can either pledge to read the book first or sign up, saying you’ll read the book whenever you want. But either way, you can get the newsletters. After all, according to the site, 50% of the highest grossing movies of 2010 were based on books. Readit1st is also free to sign up.

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Pottermore: A Partisan Review

Contributed by Harrison Cole

As a self-proclaimed Potterphiliac, I was delighted to be granted access to the Beta version of Pottermore before its opening to the general public. For those who haven’t heard, Pottermore is an interactive website that provides fans with a new way to experience the world of Harry Potter. Users navigate the story of The Boy Who Lived by clicking through picturesque snapshots from each chapter of the series while interacting with fellow fans. The site is scattered with snippets of information, including exclusive content relating to the many characters and places within the wizarding world crafted by J.K. Rowling.

To my surprise, after first logging on I was frustrated with the interface of the site.  Users must begin with Chapter One of The Philosopher’s Stone and move through each of the seven books in chronological order. Within each chapter, content-unlocking discoveries must be made in order to advance. This might be a result of my computer and gaming ineptitude, but I would prefer to read the site at my leisure without spending ten minutes clicking around each page to locate hidden items. Although interesting to the Potter fanatic, the pages within Pottermore provide an excessive amount of detail. This site is not for the casual fan; I doubt there are many itching to peruse the 4,596 words devoted to the types of wood used in wandmaking.

The material unique to Pottermore includes Rowling’s inspiration for certain aspects of the story, and “Ghost Plots” or scenes and events that did not make the final cut of the published novels. The site also adds a personal touch for the fan, providing the opportunity to purchase a wand of their own and don the Sorting Hat to join one of the four houses of Hogwarts.  Pottermore is somewhat reminiscent of a role-playing video game; once sorted, users can earn points for their house by brewing potions, or test their wandwork by challenging others to duel. This competitive aspect should lure users with waning attention spans. Those that are expecting more of a Potter encyclopedia with freely accessible information should keep their expectations low.

Like I mentioned above, I love Harry Potter and as a result will probably end up reading Pottermore cover-to-cover, or whatever the internet equivalent of that may be…even the aforementioned section on wandmaking. But completing the Pottermore journey is a laborious task, and I surmise most people would prefer to enjoy the series without the excruciating additional detail. If I had any sense, I would broaden my horizons by moving on to a new book, but alas, I do not.

Harrison is a human male and a Certified Public Accountant in the state of New York. He lives in Manhattan’s Upper East Side with his collection of Harry Potter novels and memorabilia. You can follow him on Twitter @HarrisonsHuff, if you’re into that kind of thing.

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J.K. Rowling Sure Knows How to Make Headlines

The beloved Harry Potter series may very well be over, but author J.K. Rowling certainly knows how to keep her name in the news. The author recently announced that she would be writing another novel — but this one, for adults. Then there was the announcement that her Pottermore web site won’t be ready to open to the public until early April — 6 months after its scheduled opening. And now, according to Entertainment Weekly, she’s no longer a billionaire — sadly just a millionaire.

EW reports that Rowling has given away so much money to charity and taxes — an estimated $160 million — she was removed from the Forbes Rich List.

But with Pottermore set to open to the public in April and a new book on the way, her profits will surely boost again.

The reason for the delayed Pottermore opening is simply because it wasn’t ready yet. A beta version of the site opened in October, but had a number of major glitches that needed to be ironed out.

And as far as the new, adult book is concerned — not much has been released about it. It does not yet have a title or publication date. All we know is that Little, Brown is publishing it and that it will be “very different” from the Potter series, according to Rowling’s statement, below:

“Although I’ve enjoyed writing it every bit as much, my next book will be very different to the Harry Potter series, which has been published so brilliantly by Bloomsbury and my other publishers around the world,” she said. “The freedom to explore new territory is a gift that Harry’s success has brought me, and with that new territory it seemed a logical progression to have a new publisher. I am delighted to have a second publishing home in Little, Brown, and a publishing team that will be a great partner in this new phase of my writing life.”

So what do you think? Will J.K. Rowling soon be back on top?

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Authors’ Words in 140 Characters

More and more nowadays, authors are using their literary prowess to not only write novels, but write tweets as well. And while their 140-character thoughts might not take as long to type, it’s equally as fun as writing a novel — and equally as fun for us to read.

This fun essay by The New York Times explores modern-day authors’ intrigue with Twitter. Some who use it see it as a marketing tool; others use the popular micro-blogging site as way to interact with their readers. And some authors hate the idea altogether. For them, the reader should remain distant from the author, as Anne Trubek explains.

In “A Note From Jeffrey Eugenides to Readers,” he described his joy at meeting them, but concluded by saying he doesn’t know when or if he’ll post on the page again: “It’s better, I think, for readers not to communicate too directly with an author because the author is, strangely enough, beside the point.”

Eugenides makes a good point. But the ability to directly communicate with your favorite author is exactly the kind of thing that inspired me to join Twitter. When I learned celebrities were on the site, I said, “Wait. I HAVE to join now.” And to me, these authors are  celebrities. Of course, I’m interested in what they’re doing, what they’re writing, and what they have to say. My theory is, if I like their books, I’d probably like them too. And based on their tweets, I do.

I think Jennifer Weiner (@JenniferWeiner) is one of the most hilarious authors out there, and her tweets confirm it. I also follow Jodi Picoult (@JodiPicoult) and Judy Blume  (@JudyBlume) . Authors who tweet form a strange, but lovely online bond with their readers, which I think is a win-win situation for everyone involved. If an author can’t be bothered to use 140 characters to communicate with me, so be it. But I rather like the ones that do.

And if you’re interested, follow me on twitter @LaraBryn.

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CliffsNotes Comes to the Web…In Video Form

In case you ever wanted to see a classic book or Shakespeare played out in cartoon form, you can now. That’s right. CliffsNotes is coming to the web.

According to this article from Entertainment Weekly, Producer Mark Burnett has teamed up with CliffsNotes, AOL, and Coalition Films to create web videos of all the classic novels and plays, mostly read by high school and college students.

Producers say they don’t want to replace the books by any means. But for the students who won’t read the books anyway and already plan to read the CliffsNotes, now they can just watch them instead. Not to mention, they’ll also be funny, which could pull people in more than the original book might. Stephan Lee explains.

Burnett got involved in the project after seeing a need for this sort of content. “There’s no question that there’s no replacement for reading the actual books,” he told EW. “But kids do use CliffsNotes worldwide, no question about it. It amazed me that there was no digital version of these CliffsNotes.” In addition to being quick and informative, the series aims to engage its audience with humor.

Only six Shakespearean plays are currently available, including Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Julius Caesar, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But Burnett hopes to eventually have hundreds of shorts on his site.

I can’t decide if I think this is good for the industry — because more people will likely learn the stories — or bad — because they won’t be reading the originals. What do you guys think?

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Nasty Amazon Review Has Author Suing

Every once in a while, I come across a story that makes me think “REALLY?!” This is one of those stories.

According to this article by the L.A. Times, a British author is suing someone over a negative book review they wrote on Amazon. Yes, really. Apparently, British libel laws are completely different from those of the United States, and this lawsuit is somewhat warranted there.

Author Chris McGrath is suing Vaughn Jones for writing a review — which has since been removed — of his book The Attempted Murder of God: Hidden Science You Really Need to Know. He’s also suing Amazon, Richard Dawkins, and the Richard Dawkins Foundation — for whom Jones also wrote an article.

The article also mentions that Jones could not afford representation. That, and the fact that Britain’s dafamation laws generally work in the favor of the claimant make it seem like McGrath is the likely winner here.

To me, the fact that an author could sue over a bad review is ludicrous. Freedom of speech is an obvious right in the United States, and critical reviews are a daily occurrence. The fact that this could cause an uproar in modern times just blows my mind. What do you guys think?

 

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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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