Robin Sloan’s buzzy, inventive debut tells the story of Clay Jannon, a former Silicon Valley tech guy who starts work at a mysterious bookstore and then embarks on an unusual quest to crack a 15-century code. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore ingeniously novelizes the ongoing divide between digital publishing and good old-fashioned cellulose books, and it’s also a funny, twisty page-turner that combines several sub-genres (read EW’s review). Check out a 10-minute excerpt of the audiobook below — as a bonus, Sloan himself makes a cameo as the audiobook narrator within the audiobook. Yep, it’s that kind of book. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Fiction (91-100 of 305)
Before Katniss Everdeen, Tris Prior, and dozens of other teenage characters began raging against dystopian machines, there was a 12-year-old kid named Jonas — protagonist of The Giver, a slim novel first published in 1993 that’s become a modern children’s classic. The Giver was Brave New World for the under-18 set before books about futuristic totalitarian societies became a dime a dozen — and most of today’s popular dystopian stories are in Lowry and The Giver‘s debt.
Middle schoolers and former middle schoolers across the world know that Lowry’s Newbery winner ends on an ambiguous note; it’s unclear whether Jonas and Gabriel, the baby he’s rescued from their colorless community, find the safe haven they’ve been seeking or freeze to death on a hillside. In 2000, Lowry decided to partially answer that question by inserting an oblique reference to Jonas into another futuristic novel, Gathering Blue. Jonas reappeared for the first time as a full-fledged character — albeit under a different name — in 2004’s Messenger, a sequel to Gathering Blue. And today, his saga (and Gabe’s) finally comes to an end with the release of Son, the first direct sequel to The Giver. The novel travels back to the community Jonas fled to tell the story of Claire — a 14-year-old girl drafted to be a Birthmother who finds that she, too, cannot live in a society devoid of love.
Before Son‘s release, I spent half an hour chatting with Lowry about everything from her childhood favorite reads — The Yearling and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, for the record — to the unfinished Anastasia Krupnik book sitting on her hard drive. Most of our conversation, though, focused on her now-finished Giver quartet. Read on to learn why she elected to continue Jonas’s story, what she thinks about the dystopian trend, and why she believes The Giver has been one of history’s most frequently challenged children’s books. (Want even more? Check our Inside Movies blog for Lowry’s comments about the long-gestating Giver movie.)
Scholastic’s reading guide for The Giver includes an interview in which you’re quoted saying that you would never want to write a sequel–
Uh huh. Oh, how I wish I had never said that publicly! [laughs] It comes back to haunt me. I didn’t have any intention of writing a sequel. I liked the ambiguity of the ending. Over the years, though, it became clear that younger readers in particular did not. The amount of mail I got passionately asking what had happened to Jonas — I suppose after a period of time, it made me wonder as well. So I guess it was in response to the kids who didn’t quit asking and wondering.
My Little Pony meets Sin City: Comic book stars Grant Morrison, Darick Robertson talk up the surreal pulp of 'Happy!'
Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson have created some of the most acclaimed – and controversial – comics of the past two decades. Scottish scribe Morrison has spent the past several years writing best-selling Superman and Batman titles for DC Comics (and penning a great history lesson/memoir Supergods: Our World In The Age of The Superhero), but before that made his name with audacious original work like The Invisibles, The Filth and Flex Mentallo, filled with challenging ideas, formal experimentation and high strange surrealism. California-based artist Robertson, known for his strong, visceral style, has worked in many genres, from pulp to sci-fi, and is best known for long runs on two hard-edged satires, The Boys and Transmetropolitan.
Now, the two talents have teamed up – for the first time – to produce the ironically titled Happy!, a four-issue mini-series that tracks the twisted downward spiral of an utterly reprehensible thug named Nick Sax… and his imaginary friend Happy!, an aggressively sweet winged horse. The first issue, now in stores, includes foul language, brutal violence and a sexual encounter involving a man dressed as seafood.
Naturally, it’s a Christmas story.
It’s also a gleefully gonzo-sick crime comic, and the beginning of a return to trippy-edgy creator-owned stuff for Morrison after years of marvelous mainstream toil. In separate interviews, EW.com spoke with Morrison and Robertson about their collaboration.
Nobody, it seems, says no to J.K. Rowling. After selling some 450 million copies of her justly beloved Harry Potter books, publishing’s biggest superstar could write a Proust-size ode to her toenails and eager editors would line up to publish it. She wrote a 500-page novel for grown-ups? Great! It’s got teen sex and explicit descriptions of shooting heroin and characters who say things to each other like “you useless f—in’ smackhead cow”? Uh, okay. It’s about a bunch of disagreeable buffoons bickering over a minor local-government job in Nowhere, England? Huh. If you say so…
The Casual Vacancy, Rowling’s overlong but often entertaining debut adult novel, is a big book that follows small people jockeying for a little position in the tiny town of Pagford. When one of the community’s 16 parish councilors unexpectedly dies of an aneurysm, a bunch of town notables try to use the ensuing “casual vacancy” to pursue various conflicting agendas. Rowling does a nice job laying out her 20-plus characters’ endless pretensions and weaknesses, which she punctures with gleeful flicks of a surprisingly sharp comic blade. READ FULL STORY
A writer to watch: 'Cranes Dance' author Meg Howrey talks 'Black Swan' comparisons and writing as performance
Classically trained dancer to novelist isn’t a standard career trajectory, but Meg Howrey isn’t your typical author. Her absorbing second novel The Cranes Dance draws from her years as a New York-based professional ballerina, but her first novel — Blind Sight, now available in paperback — was a sensitive coming-of-age story told from the perspective of a 17-year-old boy. Like a performer, Howrey likes to reinvent herself with each project, which bodes well for a fascinating, unpredictable body of work. (Case in point: Her third novel, coming out in November, is a euro thriller called City of Dark Magic under the pseudonym Magnus Flyte). Howrey took a moment to talk about writing, dance, and the hit-or-miss quality of ballet movies. READ FULL STORY
Fifty Shades of Grey just got a whole lot hotter. (Couldn’t resist the pun.)
A British charity for domestic abuse has announced plans to hold a mass burning of E L James’ erotic novel. Clare Phillipson, director of Wearside Women In Need, described the book as “dangerous” and insisted that it could potentially encourage domestic abuse.
“I do not think I can put into words how vile I think this book is and how dangerous I think the idea is that you get a sophisticated but naive young woman and a much richer, abusive older man who beats her up and does some dreadful things to her sexually,” Phillipson said. READ FULL STORY
book is a triumph of imagination. Johnson has created such a convincing universe that it doesn’t really matter if he’s accurately captured every detail. It feels real, often terrifyingly so.” Although no one can really know the ins and outs of daily life in North Korea, Johnson certainly did the research to create as truthful of an account as possible. As you’ll see below, North Korea is nothing short of an obsession for Johnson. Read on for Johnson’s fascinating views on the subject, tangents and all. READ FULL STORY
Melissa Marr, author of the Wicked Lovely series and Graveminder, has written Untamed City: Carnival of Secrets, a novel set in the city of daimons, where rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.
All Mallory knows of The City is that her father — and every other witch there — fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it’s only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable. While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the Carnival of Souls.
EW talked to Molly Ringwald recently about her new novel, When it Happens To You and her writing career. She also sure knows how to support her fellow writers! Here’s Ringwald reading the beginning of Emma Straub‘s new novel, Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures (available Sept. 4).
Straub’s novel is about a young and blonde wisp of a girl named Elsa Emerson in 1920’s rural Wisconsin who, through various twists of fate, grows up to be Laura Lamont, dark-haired and exotic movie star. Straub previously wrote the wonderful short story collection Other People We Married and we’re guessing Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures will be among the more buzzed books in fall.
Penelope is one of those novels that’s more than entertaining enough to take to the beach but can still dazzle you with its wit and razor-sharp intelligence. In person, Rebecca Harrington, the 26-year-old author who wrote Penelope, conveys a similar mix of bubbliness and literary geekiness: Our conversation over craft beers and truffle fries covered everything from Kristen Stewart’s messy personal life to contemporary adaptions of classical Greek theater.
Harrington doesn’t appear to have much in common with her titular character. In the novel, Penelope O’Shaunessy arrives at Harvard completely blindsided by the pretentiousness and bizarre social behaviors of her classmates. Like a cypher, she shows up to every student event she’s invited to, quietly (and hilariously) observing the goings-on — a ludicrous student production of Caligula, endless pre-gaming sessions for parties that never happen, a literary magazine meeting that will have you laughing out loud — while engaging her surroundings with mostly one-word responses like, “Yeah” and “Sure.” “She thinks that if she’s agreeable, she’ll somehow be seamlessly accepted into some kind of group,” says Harrington of her deadpan, painfully awkward heroine. “But really, nobody seems to care.” READ FULL STORY
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