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  • Brian Boone 2:00 pm on 2017/11/02 Permalink
    Tags: , ana of california, andi teran, anne of green gables, , , dorian an imitation, going bovine, , , , , , maya lang, , , page to page, , the sixteenth of june, , will self,   

    5 Books You Didn’t Know Were Remakes 

    Many standup comedians have made the amusing joke/observation that us creative humans in the Western world don’t hesitate to remake movies or songs but we never remake books. The most famous variation on the gag—after expressing that sentiment, the comedian mentions that they’re writing a word-for-word remake of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. The thing is, authors remake other authors’ material all the time. It’s just that in the world of books they’re called “adaptations” or “re-imaginings.” Here are some books that offer a brand new take on pre-existing works.

    A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley is a remake of Shakespeare’s King Lear
    One of big reasons why Shakespeare is regarded as the greatest author, or playwright, of all time, is because his stories and characters continue to resonate through the centuries. The Bard wrote his stuff 400 years ago, and it’s still solid, because his themes are universal and his characters are relatable. Once in a while, an author will use one of Shakespeare’s plays as a jumping-off point—they just need to update the language. And the settings. And the plots. And into prose from dialogue. Perhaps the best example of Shakespeare 2.0 is Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres. Because a king deciding which daughter to bequeath his kingdom to is a little irrelevant to the modern United States, Smiley made it about three daughters up to inherit their aging father’s farm. Smiley won a Pulitzer Prize for the novel.

    Going Bovine by Libba Bray is a remake of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote
    Miguel de Cervantes’ epic comedy Don Quixote is about a man with both mental illness and delusions of grandeur—it’s pretty modern and sophisticated for having been published four centuries ago. But hey, funny is funny, and comedy is eternal. Libba Bray deftly reworked the vast, complicated classic into a digestible modern tale set in high school. A regular guy named Cameron contracts Mad Cow Disease, as one does, and suffers from all kinds of delightful hallucinations.

    The Sixteenth of June by Maya Lang is a remake of James Joyce’s Ulysses
    James Joyce’s crowning achievement is Ulysses, an astonishingly detailed, hyper-realistic look at a single day in Dublin, Ireland—June 16, 1904. Commemorations of that day are now known as Bloomsday, after one the book’s many, many characters, Leo Bloom. Almost as real as Joyce’s physical descriptions are the richly rendered characters. “A day in the life” is a repeatable formula, but difficult to do well. Author Maya Lang pulls it off with The Sixteenth of June. It’s a cutting, insightful, emotional look at the good people of Philadelphia on June 16, 2004. A couple of people even throw a Bloomsday party! (Of course, if you want to get technical, Ulysses itself is a remake of the ancient Greek epic The Odyssey.)

    Ana of California by Andi Teran is a remake of L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables
    You can’t improve on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s moving story of plucky, idiosyncratic red-headed orphan Anne Shirley charming the once crusty townsfolk of Avonlea. You can only re-create it in another time and place. At its core, Anne of Green Gables is a story about how hard it is to a new place, and fit in while maintaining your identity and integrity, and Andi Teran maintains all of Montgomery’s themes in her Anne reimagining, Ana of California. And she does it quite well, telling the tale of a teenage orphan named Ana Cortez who leaves the foster care system and East L.A. for a farm work program in Northern California.

    Dorian by Will Self is a remake of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray
    What if Oscar Wilde were Bret Easton Ellis? Then he’d write Dorian. Of course, Will Self already wrote this book in 2002. Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray story of a fresh-faced man and his grotesquely aging portrait called out and satirized the superficial. Self logically adapted the novel to take place in the equally hollow and image-conscious world of the 1980s London art scene.

    What are your favorite literary remakes?

    The post 5 Books You Didn’t Know Were Remakes appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Rebecca Jane Stokes 3:30 pm on 2014/11/25 Permalink
    Tags: , , anne of green gables, , , , dysfunctional families, , , , , , , , , ,   

    10 Fictional Families We’d Love to Spend The Holidays With 

    Little Women movie castThe holidays are about spending time with your family. They’re also about drinking more wine than usual and stuffing your face with stuffing, various types of brittle, and all-of-the-cheese-there-is in a bid to keep you from throttling said family within an inch of their lives. That’s what family is: food and resisting the urge to sucker punch your brother for asking you why your new haircut makes you look like George C. Scott. Instead of adding another mountain of calories that no holiday sweater (no matter how ugly) could hide, why not spend this holiday season with some of fiction’s most interesting families? From kindly to eccentric, feuding to nerdy, each family listed below has one splendid thing in common: They aren’t yours.

    The Cratchit Family
    To be clear, I don’t want to bro down with the Cratchit family in that one scenario where Tiny Tim has been killed due to Scrooge’s lack of altruism. That would be one epic bummer of a holiday fete. But the Cratchit family throwing down and giggling over a Christmas goose? Bring. It. On. That said, I don’t think I’d want to be there the day Scrooge invites himself over for Christmas dinner, because yes, brilliantly kind gesture dude, but also dining with one’s boss is almost always ten shades of awkward.

    The March Family
    Spending the holidays with Jo, Laurie, Beth, Amy, Meg, and Marmie would be the greatest. Sure, you’d have to stomach a lot of religious instruction and hear lectures about kindness, but you know that nine times out ten their family meals end with them braiding each other’s hair in front of a fire while Jo wears a top hat and practices her gentleman walk.

    The Weasley Family
    Reason number one I’d kill to spend the holidays with the Weasleys: Magic. Powers. Reason number two: Gingers are the best and greatest breed of people who exist currently on our planet. Reason number three: You know they’ve got dirt on Potter. Reason four: At least three of the foods served will probably involve magical properties, and there is nothing un-awesome about that.

    The Quimby Family
    If you’re at a meal with Ramona Quimby and her parents and her sister Beezus, you don’t need to worry about being the center of attention or putting on a good performance as a host, because everyone will be in a tizzy about Ramona cutting her hair with pinking sheers or dying her entire body with bluing. As different folks yell and Beezus glowers, you can get blitzed on rosé and be all, “Ramona you lovable buffoon!” and then eat all the rolls free of fear of censure.

    The Capulets/Montagues
    Admittedly, this dual-family affair would be mad tense, but that’s only until ale has been quaffed and swords draw—then the drama kicks in! If you like reality TV, than dinner with Shakespeare’s dueling families should be right up your alley. Just avoid that Mercutio character: he talks, like, a lot.

    The Murry Family
    When I was a kid I wanted the Murrys to adopt me. Admittedly, I would not have done well in this math- and science-loving clan, but I get the feeling they would at least have been kind about it. Though frankly, if grasping math meant I got to travel through time and the universe, I’d probably be down. I like the idea of eating a big meal with the Murrys, because you know it would be served at least partially out of beakers and test tubes.

    The Cuthbert Family
    Being a part of the Cuthbert family means you’re probably getting blitzed on elderberry cordial and attempting (and failing) to color your hair for the big party. That said, while I wouldn’t necessarily want to be Anne of Avonlea, living on Prince Edward Island and hanging out with two dope as hecks old folks eager to impart wisdom and love sounds like the perfect way to spend the holidays.

    The Everdeens
    If I had to pick any family with whom to dwell during the holidays in an apocalyptic version of earth, it would have to be the Everdeens. That’s mainly because if I overindulge in my food rations, Prim or Mama Everdeen would be able to brew up some sort of herbal tincture to treat my indigestion. That being said, the “cornucopia” utilized in the Games themselves is a cruel mockery of the symbol of a day when the only battle to the death should be over the last piece of pumpkin pie.

    The Bennet Family
    You know what? I’d like to have my holidays with the Bennets because I think poor, homely Mary gets a raw deal! I’d go hang out with them, wear a dress that makes me look pregnant and a severe center-parted hairstyle, and listen attentively while she played the piano for hours and hours and hours. I’d also wisely impart to Kitty and Lydia the virtues of the single life, all the while being thankful for the opportunity to ogle Mr. Darcy to my heart’s delight.

    The Sedaris Family
    Anyone familiar with David Sedaris’s writing knows that holiday dinners are when his eccentric family comes most colorfully to life. Remember when Amy wore just the bottom half of a fat suit, sending her dad into a veritable fit? The idea of breaking bread with David Sedaris and his entire clan sounds unmissable. Though there’s always the chance you’d make it into one of his essay—a thought that does not rest easy in my mind.

    The Mortmain Family
    A family cool enough to move into an abandoned castle, ruled over by a writer-father and an artist stepmother: how can their parties not be epic?! Cassandra and her sister, Rose, are forever weary of their family’s artistic inclinations and bohemian life, but I’d gladly trade with them, especially on the holidays. You know Topaz makes excellent crafts.

     What fictional family would you love to visit this holiday season? 

  • Rebecca Jane Stokes 8:00 pm on 2014/09/03 Permalink
    Tags: anne of green gables, , bookmarks,   

    11 Things You Would Never See Written on a Bookmark 

    Twelve Shakespeare BookmarksI used to be terrible at using bookmarks. The truth is, I still sort of am. If I manage not to dog-ear my page before closing the covers, I’ll flip open to my place and find a candy wrapper, a crinkled receipt or, one time, a Q-Tip left as my marker. This is all disgusting and terrible.

    In my defense, if you’re a real book-lover (such as I am) you’re very often reading every spare second you can manage. This might mean that you don’t have time to find your bookmark in the bottom of your purse before leaping off the train before you miss your stop. I’d rather find a slightly dingy tissue and pick up where I left off than suffer the indignity of trying to remember my page number.

    That said, there are some stunning bookmarks out there that make my goal of reforming that much more desirable. Anything goes with bookmarks! Well, almost anything. Here are some things you’ll never find printed on a bookmark. I mean, unless I get ambitious and start some sort of terrible Etsy store.

    1. Snitches Get Stitches
    Because every book-lover knows that violence is never the answer…unless you borrow one of our books and don’t return it.

    2. “I Am Become Death Destroyer of Worlds”
    Because misquoting the Bhagavad Gita is a bit heavy when instead you could have some quippy (and correct) Anne Shirley quotation beaming up at you.

    3. President of The Anti-Book Reading Association
    Because if you found this bookmark you would probably die laughing and then somberly flush it down the toilet.

    4. Werds Are Fer Nerds
    Because while we agree with the sentiment (being nerds ourselves), we are sticklers for spelling.

    5. 10 of History’s Most Famous Book Burnings
    Because if we thought too hard about all those small-minded people bent on destroying great works, we’d have to take to our beds immediately and re-read all of Tolkien, and we just don’t have the time these days.

    6. I Could Be Watching The Real Housewives Right Now
    Because it’s 2014 and we all have DVRs. Orange County will wait, and should you ever run into Heather Dubrow she will be impressed with the exceptional vocabulary which spending so much of your time reading has given you.

    7. This Bookmark is Edible
    Because if so, this bookmark would have already been eaten during a bout of snackishness that popped up in the throes of a particularly riveting paragraph.

    8. Magic Isn’t Real
    Because if reading is a major part of your life, you live each day in the constant pursuit of magic.

    9. My Kingdom For a Nap
    Because while we concede that both naps AND funny takes on Shakespearean quotes are rare delights, we’re far more likely to give our kingdom for a Barnes & Noble gift card.

    10. Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick
    Because while we support speaking softly, our arms are too full of books to also manage clutching a massive shillelagh of some kind. Also because who would say “stick” when you could use a word like “shillelagh“?

    11. I Loathe Big Books & I Cannot Lie
    Because this is a travesty against fiction, non-fiction, and Sir Mix-a-lot. Any book-lover worth their salt LOVES big books. And also lying (in books). Because it often creates dramatic conflict within the confines of the pages, which pleases us greatly.

    What would you never expect to find on a bookmark? 

  • Ginni Chen 6:00 pm on 2014/06/11 Permalink
    Tags: anne of green gables, , , , , , , , , , , scarlett o'hara,   

    6 Flirting Tips I Learned From Fiction 

    Alexandra Ripley's Scarlett

    My first school dance ended with me crawling out the bathroom window clutching Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. I was in seventh grade, I was a scrawny little book nerd, and I’d attended an all-girls Catholic school my entire life. No one had taught me what to say or do around boys. So when one unfortunate fellow asked me to dance, I excused myself, tucked my book into my jeans, and climbed head first out that window, all to avoid three and a half minutes of awkwardly swaying to and fro with my arms around a boy’s sweaty neck.

    I’ve come a long way from that school dance. These days, I like boys (well, some), and I’ve stopped escaping out of unmanned bathroom windows. But I never did break the habit of bringing a book everywhere, and that’s okay, because books have actually been quite edifying in matters of birds, bees, love, and lust. Books have taught me more than any gum-chewing, eye-shadow-wearing older sister could, and got me into just as much trouble. Here are 6 flirting tips I learned from fiction:

    1.  If He Teases You, He Likes You
    Anne of Green Gables taught me that, and it served me well in junior high and high school. That boy who goes out of his way to prank you in homeroom, snap your bra, trip you, or otherwise annoy you with juvenile antics? He’s probably crushing on you. Your response? Stand up for yourself. Act oh-so-dignified and too good for his shenanigans. It’ll make you irresistible.

    2. Be A Little Bad
    Fiction is full of men falling for women who were just a little tougher, a little feistier, and a little badly behaved for their time. Hemingway’s Lady Brett Ashley is a heartbreaker because she’s no wilting flower—she runs with the boys, drinks with the boys, and seduces whomever she wants. That makes all the men go gaga for her.

    3. Know Your Audience
    Know who you can reel in with your charms and who you’re never going to win over. Know who you appeal to, whose “type” you are, and who you shouldn’t waste any time with in a useless flirtation. I learned that one from one Miss Scarlett O’Hara. She’s the queen bee of flirting (she steals her younger sister’s beau), but ultimately squanders too much affection, attention, and effort on Ashley Wilkes. The lesson here? However beautiful and charming you are, you’ll never be every man’s type. So divide and conquer amongst yourselves, ladies, divide and conquer.

    4. Be a Little Mysterious
    These days, social media makes it far too easy to know what everybody’s doing at all times. It’s too bad, because being a little inscrutable, a little mysterious, and disappearing every so often is kinda hot. At least, that’s what I’ve learned from Haruki Murakami. His heroines harbor secrets, reappear after unexplained absences, and make vague statements about their whereabouts. It’s all very intriguing, and it keeps their object of affection on his toes. So instead of tweeting about spin class, smoothies, and doing laundry for a weekend, try letting him wonder what fascinating things you’re up to!

    5. Let Your Smarts Shine
    Literature has repeatedly taught me that one should never, ever, ever, under any circumstances, dumb themselves down. From Pride and Prejudice‘s Elizabeth Bennett to the Harry Potter series‘ Hermoine Granger, fictional heroines have shown that brains win out over beauty. Who can resist the awesome appeal of women with witty repartee, ingenious problem-solving skills, and the ability to outwit the forces of evil? Nobody, because that’s HAWT. Way hotter than flipping your hair and giggling.

    6. Never Let Someone Take You Down
    I learned this lesson early on, from the incredible children’s book The Paperbag Princess. Never let someone else influence your self-worth or tell you who you are. If a boy doesn’t like the way you look, doesn’t like the way you dress, and doesn’t appreciate the things you do, do what the Paperbag Princess does: tell him he’s a bum. Confidence is endearing, admirable, and attractive. And above all, it makes sure you attract the kind of people you deserve.

    What flirting tips have you learned in books?

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