“The Books of Magic makes The Lord of the Rings, The Avengers, Harry Potter, and even Twilight all look like entries in the same broad genre of tween-superhero fantasy, in which someone insignificant gets mighty powers, fights the forces of evil, and ultimately triumphs. …The pop culture landscape starts to look like an endless row of Tim Hunters, the same successful formula applied again and again.” From The Atlantic, a look at how Neil Gaiman‘s The Books of Magic prefigured the runaway success of Harry Potter and the modern YA fantasy-adventure craze.
Peg Plunkett was an 18th-century Dublin courtesan who decided one day to make some money by publishing a series of memoirs. Now, over two hundred years after Plunkett sketched out her life story, Professor Julie Peakman has rewritten all three volumes for a modern audience. In a piece for The New Statesman, Sarah Dunant reviews her edition of Plunkett’s oeuvre.
The Morning News continues its ongoing Reading Roulette series by sharing “A Light Head” by Olga Slavnikova. While the author is a contender for the 2013 Russian Booker Prize, TMN correspondent Elizabeth Kiem doesn’t need to wait to award “best line” to this little ditty: “The Russian dilemma posed by Dostoyevsky—‘Shall I let the world go to hell or skip my tea?’—has been resolved in favor of the tea.”
The Oscar Blog: Ed has recruited Scott, YPTR, Elizabeth Crane, Jeff, Gwenda, Mark and several others to “live blog” the Oscars on Sunday. I’m convinced that no good can come of this… but you can bet I’ll be reading along.I’ll read what ever Malcolm Gladwell writes, but his 2-part conversation with ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons on sports (and many other topics) is particularly entertaining.I’m a huge fan of the Comics Curmudgeon blog, which hilariously skewers the newspaper funnies. Now Josh has hit the big time. He’ll be skewering political cartoons for Wonkette.The winners of the 2005 Book Critics Cirle Award will be announced tonight. Here are the finalists.Brokeback Mountain (video link) in Bun-O-Vision.
Happy Freedom Day: The work at the center of all the reviews, magazine covers, and even, of course, controversy, has arrived. Jonathan Franzen’s long-awaited novel Freedom hits shelves today. Our review. Also out today is Booker longlister Skippy Dies by Paul Murray. Another newly translated Roberto Bolaño is out, The Insufferable Gaucho. As is You Were Wrong by Jamestown author Matthew Sharpe. Finally, fashion fans will dig vintage Japanese prepster handbook Take Ivy.