More Technical Difficulties

by toepic on May 17, 2012

Stoned Ewok Dog says "More like barely concious"

Stoned Ewok Dog makes a terrible babysitter

Ok, remember that time I didn’t post for a while because certified “top commenter” Wifey and I were looking for day cares? No? Scroll down a little bit. I’ll wait… That post was on a Friday. The next Monday Wifey gave birth to the cutest baby I’ve ever seen. She showed up a month early and in a surprising twist, I’m the father. Turns out I’ve been married to Barely Literary’s top commenter the whole time.

Also, me from three weeks ago is a huge wussy. Searching for day cares is tough? Riiiiight. That said, I’ve settled into a decent sleep deprived routine and hope to post regularly from here on out.


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Neil Gaiman and Stephen King in the Simpsons

Stephen King’s new entry into the Dark Tower series The Wind Through the Keyhole goes on sale Tuesday. In an interview with fellow author Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Anansi Boys), King spoke about a few other upcoming projects he’s working on:

Right now he’s writing a book called Joyland, about an amusement park serial killer.

I’m imagining Adventureland written as horror. A gruesome Jesse Eisenberg/Kristen Stewart death scene might make for a more satisfying movie version.

King is finished with his The Shining sequel Dr. Sleep:

I wanted to see what would happen to Danny Torrence when he grew up. I knew that he would be a drunk because his father was a drunk. I thought, okay, I’ll start with Danny Torrence at age forty. He is going to be one of those people who says ‘I am never going to be like my father. Then you wake up at 37 or 38 and you’re a drunk. Then I thought, what kind of a life does that person like that have? He’ll do a bunch of low-bottom jobs, he’ll get canned, and now, I really want him to be in a hospice worker because he has the shining and he can help people get across as they die. They call him Dr Sleep, and they know to call for him when the cat goes into their room and sits on their bed. This was writing about the guy who rides the bus, and he’s eating in a McDonalds, or on a special night out maybe Red Lobster.

And in annoying George Lucas-like news:

Stephen King is a character in the fifth and sixth Dark Tower books, and Stephen King the non-fictional author is wondering whether to take him out on the next draft.

Sure it was kind of jarring when he wrote himself into the series, but I thought it really served the story well. It also explains the weaving of characters into different books that has become King’s trademark.

The entire interview is a great read. The UK Sunday Times has it behind a pay wall, but all things Stephen King blog Discordia 19 has helpfully copied the whole thing.



Technical Difficulties

by toepic on April 20, 2012

Stoned Ewok Dog says "More like barely concious"

What days is it? March?

Please accept my sincerest apologies for the lack of posts these last 2 weeks. Wifey and I have been busy interviewing and touring daycares. I feel the way Stoned Ewok Dog looks (tired not high). The daycare search has taken all of my brain power. I’ve used the phrase “infant curriculum” several times. Let that sink in for a minute.

The good news is that our search is mercifully nearing an end and I’ll be back to posting regularly. Also, book news doesn’t move very fast, so I’m sure we didn’t miss much. Please enjoy this video of stupid things happening in super slow motion after the jump to make up for my absence. [click to continue…]



This year I’m participating in Cannonball Read IV. Cannonball Read is a race among Pajiba readers to read and review 52 books in a year. Or 26. Or 13. A charitable donation is made for those who get to 52.

There are 240 people signed up this year. That’s a lot of book reviews. I’ll try to find some of the interesting reviews plus reviews of books I’ve read and post them here.

  • Human baby born on Mars, brought back to Earth. Turn ons: casual sex – Turn offs: organized religon. A Sci-fi classic. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
  • Set in 1 day, the last shift a closing Red Lobster, can the manager keep it together? Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan
  • IT’S NEVER LUPUS! Gregory House M.D. apparently writes a good and funny spy novel. The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie
  • Atwood was writing dystopian novels before it was cool.  Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  • Turn of the century detective novel. When do we start referring to stuff set around 2000 as turn of the century? Surely there’s a cut off date. A Curtain Falls by Stefanie Pintoff

Books I’ve Read:

  • My review of this book coming shortly. I liked it.  Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  • You either like Bourdain’s schtick or you don’t. I love it. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
  • The World Famous Bigtree alligator-wrestling clan, has problems. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (also my review here)

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book cover: Persuader (A Jack Reacher Novel) by Lee ChildJack Reacher. The man without a car, without a job and without a change of clothes (gross). But Jack isn’t some boxcar tramp or free lovin’ hippy. he’s a hardnosed, ex-military cop, that’s enjoying living off the grid and answering to no one. Jack wanders the country, somehow stumbling into international plots of intrigue. Persuader is Lee Child’s 7th Jack Reacher novel, and even though I can’t recall a single plausible reason why he ends up guarding the vice president or investigating a Vietnam MIA case, it doesn’t matter because he’s going to kick ass, sleep with some attractive intelligent woman and then kill a bunch of people defending her.

Ok, it sounds formulaic, but Lee Child writes some of the best thrillers out there. I frequently read a Jack Reacher novel after a boring book, to rekindle my love of reading. (I’m looking at you Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.) In Persuader, Reacher saves the son of Zachary Beck, reputed drug kingpin, from kidnapping. Beck is somehow involved with the mysterious Quinn, a former military intelligence officer Reacher thought was dead until a chance encounter outside of a theater. Now, Reacher wants him dead for real. The FBI wants Beck, and the son just doesn’t want to be kidnapped any more.

There are currently 16 Jack Reacher novels. If they continue to be as good as the first 7, I’ll read every one. They are like a great action movie. Smart, but not lacking in explosions, chase scenes and casual sex.

BTW – You can read Jack Reacher novels in any order. The author says it’s ok. Watch an interview with Lee Child after the jump.

Most highlighted quote from Kindle users:

I don’t really care about the little guy. I just hate the big guy. I hate big smug people who think they can get away with things.

If you like the Bourne Identity but wished he hung out in America more, and could remember stuff.

Movie news: A different Jack Reacher novel One Shot, it being written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects). It will star Tom Cruise as a 6’7″ hulking ex-military cop. Good luck with that.

This review is my eighth for Cannonball Read IV.  Read all about CBR4 here.

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Danyrys with dragon Season 2

Dragon Snacks!

Winter is coming! No, it’s still going to be hot this weekend, so get your jorts collection out of storage and get pumped up for the return of Game of Thrones on Sunday night. Need a refresher? Watch a Season 1 recap, in acoustic guitar song form. (Spoilers obviously)

We should see a lot more of Hodor this season, as Bran is strapped to his back for the foreseeable future. Warming Glow has helpfully Ranked the 10 Greatest Hodors in the History of Film and Television. What, no Bull from Night Court?

Our favorite foes Tyrion and Joffrey get the list treatment with The Best of Tyrion Lannister and The 15 Best Bitch Faces of Prince Joffrey, TV’s Most Loathsome Little Sh*t.

But more importantly, what are YOU doing to celebrate Sunday night’s Season 2 premier? Having a party? You might need to know How to Throw a Game of Thrones Party at the Last Minute. Just a few friends over? Consult your Game of Thrones Cookbook for the perfect Baratheon Boar Ribs With Apple recipe. Prefer to drink alone? You’re sure to end up in the hospital if you follow the Drinking Game of Thrones.

And if you really can’t wait until Sunday, check out these Six clips from the Season 2 Premier.


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This year I’m participating in Cannonball Read IV. Cannonball Read is a race among Pajiba readers to read and review 52 books in a year. Or 26. Or 13. A charitable donation is made for those who get to 52.

There are 240 people signed up this year. That’s a lot of book reviews. I’ll try to find some of the interesting reviews plus reviews of books I’ve read and post them here.

  • Annie and Buster Fang grow up as set pieces in their parent’s weird fantasy land of performance art. Now grown up and trying to un-f*ck themselves, the siblings are forced to go back home one last time. The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
  • The third novel about Dublin’s Murder Squad centers around Detective Frank Mackey and a mystery that reaches into his own family past. I read In The Woods and, except for a whiny protagonist, it was a solid mystery. Tana French’s newest is Faithful Place.
  • A couple of “If you liked The Hunger Games…” type of books: Corridor by Robin Parrish and Legend by Marie Lu.
  • A book about my fictional home town Pawnee the Greatest Town in America by Leslie Knope.
  • Post-adolescent magicians with nothing to do but experiment with sex, drugs and partying. It’s the future you never wanted for the Hogwarts crew. The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Books I’ve Read

  • Ugh, this book was terrible. This reviewer agrees and has actual valid points to back it up, instead of my unhelpful fart sounds whenever anyone mentions it.  Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
  • Hooray for the future! Another great review by bunnybean. The World of Pooh by A.A. Milne





A little something for the bronies.

Yeah…this story is not going away. I’m trying to wrap my head around the details, but it’s giving me a headache. E.L. James (pseudonym), the author of bondage fetish Twilight fan fiction turned NY Times Best Seller 50 Shades of Grey, was in L.A. last weekend shopping her book to film companies. Rumor has it there were 10 studios fighting over the rights to adapt 50 Shades, including Harvey Weinstein who made a late push to seal the deal.

New Regency offered $9 million, but lost out to Universal / Focus Features (Lost in Translation, Brokeback Mountain). Focus offered $5 million plus script and casting approval! To find anything approaching this insanity, you’d have to go back to The DaVinci Code, which netted $3.5 million. In an exclusive interview with EW, James said she chose Focus because they made her laugh.

Done correctly, a sexual domination movie could be intriguing. Secretary (James Spader, Maggie Gyllenhal) was terrific. But the source material just looks horrible. The Daily Beast says:

The lover of the junkiest romance, the most hastily written porn, the most pieced-together chick-lit—even those free pamphlets at the gynecologist—might be allowed a touch of disappointment at the level of the proceedings.

Ouch. I don’t know what’s more sadomasochistic, being tied up and sexually humiliated or being forced to read this book. I absolutely will not see the movie…unless the two leads are Joel McHale and Alison Brie.

Past 50 Shades coverage on Barely Literary here.



The Hunger Games: A Review to the Death

by toepic on March 27, 2012

Katniss and Peeta at the opening ceremony

Cinna must have taped Peeta's mouth shut for the opening ceremony.

Overall, fans and critics alike have positive things to say about The Hunger Games. Of course, most people are terrible and I wouldn’t trust their opinion on breathing. I only listen to a handful of people online and in real life that have proved their worth thru Justified and Archer love, or other similar qualifications. Online, it comes down to 3 people, Dustin Rowles, Vince Mancini and Roger Ebert. I don’t agree with any of them all, or even most, of the time. But I’ll listen.

So, what did these three titans among men think of the big screen adaptation of our beloved novel The Hunger Games? Loved it, hated it, pretty good, respectively. Dustin thought the movie wasn’t a slave to the book. The director and cast were brilliant, and the games were shot beautifully. Vince thought it was confusing, blurry and movie referential. Roger thought it was entertaining, but a little shallow. He wanted less of the games and more political intrigue.

I guess in this case, I’m closest to Ebert. I think the film was a very good companion to the book, but it felt a little rushed. I would have been happy with an extra 30 minutes to explore the relationships and politics more. The acting was, for the most part, great. Peeta wasn’t real likeable, but he’s not supposed to be. He’s the one that Katniss is reluctant to love. Speaking of which, my wife was completely unimpressed with Gale. She thought he was too Twilighty. He needed to be more rugged, like he wasn’t afraid of killing a couple dozen squirrels.

Unlike the book, which was told entirely from Katniss’ perspective, the movie was able to zoom out during the games and give us a peek into the Seneca Crane-President Snow relationship. This was great, and I think it will serve to enrich President Snow’s character in the following movies. Jennifer Lawrence was a dead on Katniss. And surprisingly Alexander Ludwig was terrific as Cato. His part could have been expanded (and yes, someone could have put the damn camera on a tripod during his fight scene).

My nitpicking:

  • Needed more Cinna development
  • The mom=catatonic story was clumsily told.
  • It was blurrrrry.

But mostly, I was entertained. I want to reread the 2nd and 3rd books. And I’m hopeful that the next installments will be even better.

For a recap and proper review of the movie, read Dustin’s review at Pajiba, Vince’s review at FilmDrunk and Roger’s review at, uh, the place he does reviews.

Banner pic via Flick and Bits.




FRIDAY LINKS with Cat Knits and Fried Chicken

by toepic on March 23, 2012

Stephanie Meyer fake tweet: "how do you write good? asking for a friend

Seems legit

Game of Thrones Creator Even Hates the Tebow trade. For real, he ended his post with this: “Mood: distressed.” George RR Martin is a national treasure. |Uproxx|

Let Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Anne Hathaway, and other famous people read books to you. I’m holding out for Nick Nolte reading Hemingway. |A.V. Club|

Vernor Vinge Is Optimistic About the Collapse of Civilization. Congratulations on your FBI file Vernor! |Wired|

Feds grab 11 pounds of marijuana headed for St. Martin’s Press. Dan Brown blames the Freemasons. |Jacket Copy|

‘Lemme Tweet That For You’ Will Be Your Favorite Thing On The Internet For The Next Five Minutes. See above. |Uproxx|

Cat knits > Katniss If you’re not following Kelly Oxford on twitter/tumblr/instagram, you should start immediately. |Instagram|

Jennifer Lawrence Hurls A Bucket Of KFC Fried Chicken At A Basketball Hoop. It’s not just a clever headline. |Buzzfeed|

Honey Badger Anthem don’t give a sh*t. |YouTube|