Welcome to Buzz Worthy News where the stories are awesome and not at all well-written. Need your YA industry news? Never fear, Kate Copeseeley and Kat Kennedy are here to give it to you straight.
In this week’s Buzz Worthy News: Poor Jonathan Franzen, Meg Rosoff ignites twitter storm, Animated Harry Potter eBooks, Nicolas Sparks to Produce For TV, Stephenie Meyer & the Twilight Surprise, and Death Note Casting News.
Buzz Worthy News is Cuddlebuggery’s weekly news post bringing you all the best information about the book and blogging world, particularly for the venn diagram of people who overlap between the two. For new releases and cover reveals of all the best Young Adult fiction, check out our Tuesday post: Hot New Titles.
Harry Potter And The Great Shakedown
You’ll have to excuse me, I’m reading Carry On, and ever since I started this book I swear I’ve been thinking in faux Harry Potter titles. But hey, remember how Harry Potter had like this awesomely cool, fully illustrated beeeeeaaaauuuutiful new edition for you to spend your money on? Well now the publishers are after anything that’s left in your wallet. (Not much, probably after buying all those books) Because guess, what? They’re putting out eBooks with a kick!
J.K. Rowling’s internationally-beloved series is coming to life in another new way: Enhanced e-books with interactive illustrations, made for Apple devices.
According to the Associated Press, the seven books, released Thursday, will feature over 200 new illustrations, and “more than half” of them are animated or interactive. For instance, if you tap the golden snitch in an illustration of a Quidditch match, it will fly away (to which we ask, what happens to the game in progress?).
Beyond illustrations, the new books will also feature commentary from J.K. Rowling, in which she “goes deeper into some of the characters and story lines with a handful of pop-up annotations,” says the AP.
The new editions are exclusive to Apple’s iBooks Store, and can only be read on an Apple device or Mac computer. Rowling’s annotations, however, are not necessarily exclusive, and will likely overlap with the extra essays and information she’s provided to fans on Pottermore.
The price, $10 per book ain’t bad, but the fact that I can only read them on like an iPad or something? Boo!!! Still… my kid has an iPad and the first couple books would make a cool Christmas present. DAMMIT. You got me again!
Nicholas Sparks Producing a Show About Himself
I just. I don’t know, guys. I never read a Nicolas Sparks book past Message In A Bottle so it’s not like I’m steeped in Sparks lore, but does this man have such a fascinating life that they’d make a TV show about it?
The successful romantic novelist is producing a script for an ABC comedy that’s partly inspired by his life as a bachelor, EW has confirmed.
The Next Chapter’s script focuses on the life of another successful novelist, Ben Diamond, who endures divorce and reenters the single life and handling the perceived contradiction of being the modern expert on love and struggling to rediscover it. It’s written by Austin Winsberg (Gossip Girl).
The premise imitates Sparks’ recent life: He and his wife of 25 years, Cathy, separated in January.
If you’ll remember, he’s also involved in the CW’s adaption of The Notebook (which, geez, sounds so depressing). Good luck, I guess?
Casting News For Death Note
So the movie based on the super famous Japanese Anime has been putting together their cast and it seems that Nat Wolff (of TFIOS and Papertowns fame) is being considered for the lead role.
Nat Wolff, the rising actor who starred in Paper Towns, is in negotiations to star in Death Note, an adaptation of the horror manga being developed at Warner Bros.
Adam Wingard, the filmmaker behind indie genre gems such as The Guest and You’re Next, is making his studio helming debut with the project, which is being produced by Roy Lee, Dan Lin,Jason Hoffs and Masi Oka.
The story centers on a student who discovers a supernatural notebook that allows him to kill anyone by writing the victim’s name. He then decides to cleanse the world of those he deems evil. As the student is tracked by a reclusive police officer, a cat-and-mouse game ensues.
Can I say this or is it too soon? They’re gonna ruin it. Too soon? Okay.
Preacher Gets The Seth Rogen Treatment
Good news for fans of Seth Rogen or fans of the controversial comic series Preacher: It’s getting adapted by AMC. But it won’t come without some tweaking, because as brutal as you think TWD is, Preacher is much much worse. From Rogen:
“We are changing the specifics of how the narrative is unfolding. A lot of the building blocks we are not changing, a lot of characters we’re keeping, but we want to make a show that if you’re a fan of the comic, you don’t know what to expect. And we have no interest honestly in just doing a literal page-to-page adaptation. It just seems like the most boring creative endeavor one could go on!
I mean there’s some things that even Garth will argue, is quick to admit that we probably should not even attempt to put on television. There’s some characters, we’re talking about maybe we combine these two into one person. But to us the tangential element is one of our favorite things. The fact that it does go off into these other worlds and explore these other characters, I mean that’s something that we wholeheartedly intend on indulging in because it’s one of the best parts about the comic. Just the massive tapestry of f***ing weirdos.”
“Preacher,” published between 1995 and 2000, tells the story of Jesse Custer, a small town Texas preacher who, nearly at his faith’s end, finds himself merged with a supernatural entity, Genesis, birthed from both an angel and a demon. Imbued with the word of God (the ability to make anyone obey his commands), Jesse hits the road, reunited with his ex-girlfriend, Tulip, and joined by a rowdy Irish vampire, Cassidy, to track down God himself and force him to explain why he abandoned his duties in Heaven.
The series premieres in 2016.
Stephenie Meyer Can Keep A Secret
That’s basically what I got from this story, as Meyer AMAZED most of the world on Tuesday by announcing a brand new novel (sorta) to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the mega-hit vampire story.
Twilight author Stephenie Meyer has edited a 442-page reimagining of the novel that made her a publishing sensation. This time around, she’s switched the genders of her protagonists. Yes, it’s true. In the new tale titled Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, Bella Swan is now a boy named Beau (short for Beaufort) and the brooding Edward Cullen is now Edythe.
Meyer explains in her foreword to the anniversary edition of the novel that she decided to go with the gender bending to underscore her position that Bella isn’t a “damsel in distress” as certain critics have charged. Rather, the author insists, the character is a “human in distress,” or as Meyer calls her, “a normal human being surrounded on all sides by people who are basically superheroes and supervillains.” Meyer also takes issue with the criticism that Bella was “too consumed with her love interest, as if that’s somehow just a girl thing.” The author mentions, too, that Beau is “more OCD” than Bella was and that he’s “totally missing the chip Bella carries around on her shoulder all the time.”
Meyer had hinted at some bonus content to be released with the anniversary edition, but no one was expecting a FREAKING NOVEL. From Meyer:
Meyer has heard the criticisms that she’d just done a simple “find-and-replace” on her characters’ names, and she agrees that the project should not be considered a brand-new original book. “Everyone is saying this is not a new book, and I know,” she says. “This is totally bonus material.” Still, Meyer argues the ease of the transition proves that her tropes weren’t as gendered as her critics claim. “It was like a science experiment,” she said. “At the end, you have to go back and ask, Was your hypothesis correct? And it was! The essential action beats of the story are unchanged.”
Still, the gender-flipping experience was a little more complicated than simply hitting control-F. Take the scene early on in Twilight, where Edward saves Bella from a group of street harassers. “I don’t think many men have had the experience of being harassed by a group of women, and actually being in danger,” Meyer said. “So I had to ramp up the danger — they’re angry drug dealers now.” Of course, the biological differences between the sexes mean there are limits to this approach, which is why Meyer says she won’t be rewriting the later Twilight books: “I literally can’t do Breaking Dawn with Beau. Renesmee [Bella’s telepathic half-human, half-vampire baby] can’t exist.”
Well thank the lord for that. Breaking Dawn was a hot mess.
Neil Patrick Harris Is Writing a MG Series??
This must have been in the works for quite a while, but I really had no idea. Neil Patrick Harris has a series for Middle Grade readers coming out called The Magic Misfits.
As he readies to release a new middle grade fiction series called The Magic Misfits in spring 2017, the Best Time Ever host is releasing The Magic Misfits tells PEOPLE that “reading and books have become a mainstay in my family, and they have gotten me thinking in a new way about the power of storytelling.”
“Playing with the elements of magic, adventure and friendship, The Magic Misfits is the kind of series that would have thrilled me as a kid,” Harris said. “And I hope it does just that for today’s young readers.”
Author Encourages People Not To Buy Her Book
Chrissy Hynde, lead singer of The Pretenders, is releasing a book called Reckless: My Life as a Pretender. The problems began when she said a few alarming things about her sexual assault in a publicity interview.
“Now, let me assure you,” she writes, “that, technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full responsibility. You can’t f*** about with people, especially people who wear ‘I Heart Rape’ and ‘On Your Knees’ badges.”
It was distressing to read, I begin to say.
“Yeah, but those motorcycle gangs, that’s what they do.”
But to blame yourself, even now?
“Of course. Because you can’t paint yourself into a corner and then say whose brush is this? You have to take responsibility. I mean, I was naive…”
Exactly! Naive and vulnerable and they took advantage of that…
“They’re motorcycle guys! If you play with fire you get burnt. It’s not any secret, is it?”
But now, she’s soooo over it. She doesn’t give a damn about all these interviews and this publicity tour!
Chrissy Hynde decided to give her publicists days and days of headaches by ending an interview instructing listeners not to buy the dang book after all.
Hynde made the decision to do the literal opposite of her objective when asked about recent comments in which she suggested women can be at fault when they are raped. “Why are you asking me this?” she asked host David Greene.
As Greene was replying, she interrupted:
“You know what, I don’t care what a lot of people want. You know? I’d rather say, just don’t buy the fucking book, then, if I’ve offended someone. Don’t listen to my records. Cause I’m only telling you my story, I’m not here trying to advise anyone or tell anyone what to do or tell anyone what to think, and I’m not here as a spokesperson for anyone. I’m just telling my story. So the fact that I’ve been — you know, it’s almost like a lynch mob.”
I don’t even understand her attitude, in either interview. But she did convince me not to buy her book.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies trailer out!
Meg Rosoff Goes on Rant Against Diversity
Okay, your friendly neighbourhood Kat Kennedy here. I am officially apologizing because this story deserves so much more introspection and commentary, but we’re just giving the bare bones tonight because it’s gotten late and I’m officially ready for bed.
So first of all, this blog post here shows Rosoff’s initial comments on Facebook.
“There are not too few books for marginalised young people. There are hundreds of them, thousands of them. You don’t have to read about a queer black boy to read a book about a marginalised child. The children’s book world is getting far too literal about what “needs” to be represented. You don’t read Crime and Punishment to find out about Russian criminals. Or Alice in Wonderland to know about rabbits. Good literature expands your mind. It doesn’t have the “job” of being a mirror.”
In reply to another comment she went on to say:
“Read a newspaper. Read a magazine. Go see a movie. There are zillions of places kids can see mirrors. Books do not have a “Job”. Books are to teach kids about the world, about being different or being brave. I really hate this idea that we need agendas in books. A great book has a philosophical, spiritual, intellectual agenda that speaks to many many people – not just gay black boys. I’m sorry, but write a pamphlet about it. That’s not what books are for.”
Kaye, @Gildedspine wrote this response to Rosoff’s comments after many people took to twitter in outrage over her comments.
The newspapers and magazines have taught them well.
And so have books, Ms. Rosoff. Books from well-intentioned authors like you, who have so duly and rightfully taught them that there is a certain status quo, a certain group of children who may be represented as being part of a world where they may be “different or be brave”.
In response to the intense backlash to her comments, Rosoff had this to tweet:
God, twitter makes me laugh. Book I'm finishing now for Mal Peet is about a black kid in love w/a native American woman 15 years his senior.
— Meg Rosoff (@megrosoff) October 11, 2015
Debbie Reese wrote a response to that tweet here as well as linking to several other important blog posts.
Very Rich Jonathan Franzen Insists He’s Poor
“I am literally, in terms of my income, a 1 per center, yes,” he says, his eyes not on me but on the empty table next to us. “I spend my time connected to the poverty that’s fundamental to mankind, because I’m a fiction writer.”
He doesn’t write about poverty, I protest. He writes about the angst of people like him and the people he knows. Franzen gives the neighbouring table top a weary look. “That’s a quotation from Flannery O’Connor, by the way.”
While I smart, he goes on: “I’m a poor person who has money.”
I-I just… I don’t know what to say to that. There are no words.
“I don’t like to hire people to do work that I can do,” he says. So that means he does his own dusting in the New York apartment he shares with his girlfriend? Franzen looks slightly shifty. “We do have a cleaner, although even that I feel some justification because we pay her way more than is standard and she’s a nice Filipino woman who we treat very well and we’re giving her work.”
Annnnnd now I’m dead.
THANK YOU AND GOODNIGHT!