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Category: Harry Potter (1-10 of 22)

On The Books: Stieg Larsson basically was Mikael Blomkvist

Remember Mikael Blomkvist from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series? (He was played by Daniel Craig/Michael Nyqvist, depending on whether you watched the Swedish or American version.) Well, Stieg Larsson didn’t have to get very creative when he was writing that character because he was that character. In 1986 the Swedish Prime Minister was assassinated leaving the cinema with his wife. A few years later, a petty criminal was arrested and charged, but it was widely thought that the police bungled the investigation. Much like the Kennedy assassination, conspiracy theories swirled about what really happened. Larsson himself sent the police fifteen boxes of papers he said proved that the shooting could be traced to a “former military officer said to have had links with the South African security services.” What? Fifteen boxes?? That’s right out of a page of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I love it. He was probably one of those guys whose office was spackled with photos stuck to the walls and lampshades with pushpins and yarn. [The Guardian]

After stepping down from his post last month, Ben Bernanke announced that he will pen a memoir about his time as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. I will only read this if Marjane Satrapi agrees to make it a graphic novel. [Washington Post]

In preparation for Wes Anderson’s newest fancy, The Grand Budapest Hotel, check out this article on Stefan Zweig, the Austrian author whose work inspired the movie. Zweig was a prolific and important literary voice during the 1920′s and 30′s, but as a Jewish Austrian he was driven out of Europe as the Nazi’s rose to power. Ultimately, his tortured life ended in a double suicide. He and his wife swallowed a bottle of barbiturates in a hotel room in Rio de Janeiro in 1942. Despite, Zweig’s sad end, his stories of “disastrous passion” live on. I got a sneak preview of Grand Budapest last week and it was amazing. You definitely don’t want to miss it. [The Guardian]

In case you missed this, a new low-sugar book has been generating some buzz in the public health community. Dr. Richard Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF, has a new cookbook out called The Fat Chance Cookbook with low sugar recipes that can be made in under 30 minutes. The New York Times did a Q&A to get some basics about his dietary philosophy.

J.K. Rowling to write a book for adults

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling will come back from a five-year break from publishing with a new book, this time for adults. Little, Brown is the lucky publishing house with the rights to the upcoming book, which does not yet have a title or a publication date.

Rowling gave a statement about her new project, but she remains unsurprisingly cagey about the details. “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.”

The billionaire author stated last year that she had been “writing hard” ever since the 2007 release of the final Harry Potter novel, published in the U.S. by Scholastic. As for returning to the Potterverse in the future, she said, “Never say never. It is my baby and if I want to bring it out to play again, I will.”

What are your hopes for this mysterious book for adults? Do you think there will be a fantasy element, or will it be firmly rooted in the real world?

Read more:
Pottermore delays ‘Harry Potter’ e-books
Pottermore: First impressions of the new interactive Harry Potter site

'Harry Potter' director Chris Columbus to write forthcoming fantasy-adventure series -- EXCLUSIVE

EW has learned exclusively that HarperCollins has acquired the rights to a three-book middle-grade series, House of Secrets, written by filmmaker Chris Columbus and co-authored by young adult author Ned Vizzini. Both the publisher and Columbus, who directed the first two Harry Potter films, are keeping mum about the details about the plot until the first book comes out in spring of 2013, but here’s the general summary:

The Pagett kids had it all: loving parents, a big house in San Francisco, all the latest video games . . . But everything changed when their father lost his job as a result of an inexplicable transgression. Now the family is moving into Kristoff House, a mysterious place built nearly a century earlier by a troubled fantasy writer with a penchant for the occult. Suddenly the siblings find themselves launched on an epic journey into a mash-up world born of Kristoff’s dangerous imagination, to retrieve a dark book of untold power, uncover the Pagett family’s secret history and save their parents . . . and maybe even the world.

Columbus took a moment to talk to EW about House of Secrets.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did the idea for House of Secrets come to you? READ FULL STORY

Pottermore: First impressions of the new interactive Harry Potter site

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We all enjoyed the story of Harry Potter and his progressive battles against fosterage, puberty, and a noseless supervillain, but what readers—especially, but not limited to, younger ones—really loved about the series was the ability to immerse themselves in a world of everyday magic, of charm spells, enchanted clocks, and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. How many kids at one point or another pulled a Veruca Salt, demanding of their parents, “But mummy and daddy, I want an invitation to Hogwarts, now!” Forget Santa Claus, for a whole generation of children the real heartbreaking revelation was that we’re all Muggles and that’s all we’ll ever be.

While it won’t let you apparate or play Quidditch (there are leagues for that already), J.K. Rowling’s new interactive website Pottermore will at least let you experience some of the fun of living in the world of Harry Potter. It’s still in beta and doesn’t open to the general public until October, but Pottermore is rolling out early access to the one million fans who qualified for it, and we were lucky enough to get an account. READ FULL STORY

Some excerpts from the biography of a Hollywood producer and Israeli secret agent

Arnon Milchan has two high-level lives: One as the producer of big-name movies like Love and Other Drugs and Knight and Day, and the other as an intelligence agent for the Israeli government. Confidential: The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon, a new biography by Meir Doron and Joseph Gelman, is chock-full of hush-hush anecdotes — more from the Tinseltown gig than the foreign government one, but both can be equally top secret. Check out the following excerpts from the upcoming book, including Milchan’s selling-your-Google-stock-in-2004-esque missed opportunity when he passed on the Harry Potter franchise: READ FULL STORY

On the Books July 11: Harry Potter meets Bruce Lee, Jaycee Dugard book tops Amazon

++A fan-made video re-imagines a Harry Potter wand fight as a kung-fu battle. Someone’s been paying attention in Defense Against Dark Martial Arts class.

++Following her Diane Sawyer interview, the memoir by Jaycee Dugard—the woman who was kidnapped when she was 11 years old and imprisoned in the backyard of sex offender Phillip Garrido for 18 years—has jumped to No. 1 on Amazon.

++The Guardian reveals the list of submissions for their first book prize.

++J.G. Ballard’s house is for sale. Don’t worry, it’s not in a high rise.

'Pottermore' interface revealed: Just how much will this site be able to do?

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J.K. Rowling announced details about her much buzzed-about website, Pottermore, this morning, and fangirls and fanboys-who-lived are already raving with excitement. Now, thanks to Harry Potter fansites The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet, excitement levels are rising even more.

Those sites have released the first few images of Pottermore’s interface, and they give a good idea of what the interactive user experience might be like. The above picture comes from MuggleNet and is entitled “Christmas at Hogwarts.” Obviously, it’s an illustration of the wizarding school during the holidays, which is fun in its own right, but it’s all the buttons that surround the image which really interest me.

There is a “Read About” tab, which will presumably provide some of Rowling’s unreleased notes about Christmastime at the school, a Hufflepuff badge and “house points” counter, and a “Friends” link, which will allow users to interact with their fellow witches and wizards. Along the top bar, there are buttons for “Diagon Alley,” “Great Hall,” “Gringotts,” “Common Room,” “Spells,” “Potions,” “Trunk,” “Friends” and “Favorites.”

Where will all these buttons lead? No idea. But they do show that Pottermore is seeking to be more than just a simple platform for releasing e-books or hosting an MMORPG. It looks like it is seeking to be a comprehensive web community for Potterheads that will allow users to insert themselves within the Hogwarts experience. Plus, it’s a pretty innovative way of releasing Rowling’s new insights on characters and plot points without publishing a whole new book, which haters would inevitably deem a sellout move.

You can check out more images from MuggleNet HERE or at The Leaky Cauldron HERE.

J.K. Rowling unveils new 'Pottermore' website

After a full week of wild speculation over the purpose of J.K. Rowling’s new site Pottermore, the Harry Potter author announced it to us Muggles this morning. Theories had ranged from a real-world treasure hunt to a MMORPG based on the books to the revelation that magic was actually real and that I had just been accepted to Hogwarts despite being far too old for it (wait, was that just me?), but according to the video uploaded to YouTube by Rowling (watch it below), Pottermore will actually be a comprehensive website with a number of features, including e-books and, Rowling says, “additional information I’ve been hoarding for years.” READ FULL STORY

My Summer Reading: Harry Potter, all seven volumes

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As a book review editor, I’m always reading ahead: manuscripts, galleys. That fat beach read you’re devouring now? I sat down with it in January or February. I’m well into fall 2011 now. That’s just the nature of the job. But every summer, when  I go away for a couple of weeks, I try to take a break and reread something I loved, something that, at some point in my life, meant a lot to me: John Updike’s Rabbit books. Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City. Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon.

When I was trying to decide what to reread this summer, it wasn’t hard to choose. Like many of you, I’m both excited and incredibly bitttersweet at the idea that I’m about to watch the final Harry Potter movie. When those final credits roll, I’m sure I’ll be thrilled — and heartbroken. It seems like only yesterday that a friend brought me the very first volume back from a trip to England, where it had, shortly after publication, become a Very Big Deal. Either it hadn’t come out here yet, or hadn’t rocketed up the best-seller list; I don’t remember which. But I do remember the way the book seized my imagination — and the way my young daughters hung on every word as I read it to them. Those books became the touchstones of their childhood. When the girls were young, long before stores were inundated with Harry Potter merchandise, they fashioned their own wands and glasses and robes, made their own Halloween costumes.We waited in bookstore lines at midnight for copies, then sometimes stayed up half the night reading, fueled by sheer excitement. We’d sleep for a few hours and then get up early to continue our all-day reading marathons. We liked to argue about which book was our favorite (I’m still partial to Goblet of Fire).

So I think, in honor of the last movie (which both of my daughters, now grown, plan to see on opening day) I’m going to take my battered copies off the shelves and start at the beginning. All the way back at “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” I won’t finish all seven on vacation — I may  be snatching time for the rest of the summer. But you know, it’s been a long time since I’ve picked some of them up. I’m excited. Yes, it’s going to be nostalgic journey, but it’s also going to be an exhilarating one.

How about the rest of you?  Have you ever gone back and thrown yourself into a marathon reading of a much-loved series?

On the Books June 9: Tea Obreht becomes youngest ever Orange Prize winner, J.K. Rowling builds her own Hagrid's hut?, and more

++ Ever since The New Yorker included 25-year-old Téa Obreht in their “20 under 40″ issue a year ago, the buzz for The Tiger’s Wife author hasn’t died down a bit. Yesterday, she became the youngest ever Orange Prize winner, beating out more seasoned writers like Emma Donaghue and Nicole Krauss. Obreht was the youngest author on the shortlist (which notably excluded Pulitzer-winner Jennifer Egan) by 13 years. READ FULL STORY

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