On The Books: Grasshopper Jungle might be a movie

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Hollywood hasn’t finished with the story trend of teens struggling to find their identity in a post-apocalyptic dystopia yet.  The most recent YA novel to get snatched up by movie executives is Grasshopper Jungle, which was just optioned by Sony. Scott Rosenberg (Con Air, Beautiful Girls, High Fidelity) plans to adapt the script. The novel is about a 16-year-old boy who inadvertently unleashes a plague of insects that turn the populace into mindless super-soldiers looking to eat, have sex and kill things — basically a bizarre take on the Pandora’s Box myth. Apparently author Andrew Smith carries it off with some verve though because we gave it an A- in our review. Movie-wise, I’d say this would come in around Planet of the Apes mixed with 28 Days Later and multiplied by that Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, “Teachers Pet.” Can’t wait.

A new campaign called Let Books Be Books aims to end gender bias in the presentation of children’s books. They’re calling for publishers to remove “for boys” and “for girls” labels from kids books, as well as make the covers more gender neutral. This idea has been swirling for a long time, but it seems to be gaining more momentum recently…or maybe I’m just thinking of that amazing GoldieBox commercial for girl’s toys. [Guardian]

On that note, there’s a great essay by Anna Holmes in The New Yorker called “How to be a Good Bad American Girl.” Holmes looks at the legacy of troublesome little girls in American literature, specifically Harriet the Spy and To Kill A Mockingbird. “Harper Lee and Louise Fitzhugh taught their readers that difference, nonconformity, and even subversion should be celebrated in young girls,” she writes. “These qualities are the prerequisites for, and not the enemies of, creativity, curiosity, and insight.” [New Yorker]

The longlist of 20 nominees for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction was just announced today. Lots of great women made the cut. I don’t envy the judges’ job of narrowing this down to a winner for June, 4th. Check out the nominees below.

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
  • Margaret Atwood, MaddAddam
  • Suzanne Berne, The Dogs of Littlefield
  • Fatima Bhutto, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon
  • Claire Cameron, The Bear
  • Lea Carpenter, Eleven Days
  • M.J. Carter, The Strangler Vine
  • Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
  • Deborah Kay Davies, Reasons She Goes to the Woods
  • Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things
  • Hannah Kent, Burial Rites
  • Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers
  • Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland
  • Audrey Magee, The Undertaking
  • Eimear McBride, A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing
  • Charlotte Mendelson, Almost English
  • Anna Quindlen, Still Life with Bread Crumbs
  • Elizabeth Strout, The Burgess Boys
  • Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
  • Evie Wyld, All The Birds, Singing

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