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by Susan Carpenter - Los Angeles Times (MCT)

9 Sep 2011


Photo: Autumn De Wilde

LOS ANGELES — A baby is snatched by crows. His sister treks into the woods to find him and is followed by one Curtis Mehlberg, “son of Lydia and David, resident of Portland, Ore., comic-book fan boy, persecuted loner.”

Wild adventures ensue.

If the story sounds like modern-day folklore from the band the Decemberists, it is, in a way. The sturm und drang just isn’t set to a catchy blend of the band’s bouzouki and harmonized vocals. It’s the premise of a new book series for middle-grade readers from the Decemberists’ front man, Colin Meloy, and his illustrator wife, Carson Ellis.

by Cary Darling - McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

25 Aug 2011


We sure have come a long way since Out of Africa and The Flame Trees of Thika.

In the second decade of the 21st century, some of the most compelling contemporary crime-fiction novels are either set in or coming from Africa. Much as Scandinavia became associated with the genre a few years back—thanks in large part to Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy—Africa may become a new capital of literary crime.

Cape Town’s Roger Smith, who writes with the brutal beauty of an Elmore Leonard in a very bad mood, is at the forefront. His 2009 debut, Mixed Blood, has been optioned for a film starring Samuel L. Jackson and directed by Phillip Noyce (Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger). His second book, Wake Up Dead, is also going Hollywood, with director Mark Tonderai (Hush) attached.

by Kerrie Mills

9 Jun 2011


From the TV show, Ann of Green Gables (1985)

I’m on a course of children’s literature lately, and have just finished Kate Douglas Wiggin’s celebrated Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Also New Chronicles of Rebecca, which tells additional stories within the timeframe of the original.

There I am, reading along, enjoying the new insights that emerge when you reread a childhood favourite… when it hits me: this all sounds familiar. Very familiar. To wit:

by Kate Dries

28 Apr 2011


“I think we all have a girl in us,” Eve Ensler told the crowd at the University of Chicago’s International House recently, while speaking about her new book I Am An Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World. The evening fluctuated from book reading to performance to rally to consciousness raising session, until it was unclear where one experience began and the other ended. And herein lies the basic issue I have with Ensler’s work; she invariably tries to create a voice for an audience that have their own voices.

by Kerrie Mills

10 Mar 2011


I’ve been reading Michael Palin’s Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years by way of preparation for Volume 2, due this month. In sincere tribute to this most gentle of men, I must say that I enjoyed it quite a lot.

My experience with the Monty Python troupe has been largely in connection with their later solo projects. You’d think this unfamiliarity would make an intimate look at The Python Years heavy going, but oddly – or perhaps, given the source, reasonably – enough, it turns out to be just the opposite. Because over years of careful, almost Beatle-level media scrutiny, the storylines have remained remarkably consistent, and as recorded by The Nice One, they aren’t liable to change much even if there was new info. to add.

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'The Chamber' Keeps the Drama and Suspense Going

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"The Chamber is the filmic equivalent of a fairground ride, the stimulation of emotion over ideas.

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