Tuesday, December 27, 2011

We're Movin' On Up!

Hi My Bookshelf Readers, 

This is my final message to you on this version of the site. 

Over the last few months we at My Bookshelf have been working on the development of the central My Entertainment World site where we'll be joining with our current sister sites My Theatre, My TV, My Sports Stadium, My Cinema and My Music. The new central hub will feature highlighted articles from across My Entertainment World and a showcase for our biggest exclusive interviews as well as the most recent posts from all 6 existing branches (and our brand new venture My Games). 

But never fear, My Bookshelf will live on as My Books, with it's own page as a branch under the My Entertainment World umbrella. At www.myentertainmentworld.ca/mybooks you'll be able to find all the same content from this site brought to you by myself and your dedicated head writer Rachael. 

Thank you all for your dedicated readership of My Bookshelf in the past few years, we love hearing from each and every one of you. I can't wait to show you our new and improved selves. 

We launch www.myentertainmentworld.ca this week- get excited and I'll see you there!

All My Love, 
Kelly Bedard
Managing Editor, My Bookshelf

Monday, December 5, 2011

We Recommend: The Drake Chronicles

If there's one thing we've learned from Hunger Games fever it's that YA readers were desperate to move on from the Bella Swan heroine model. Feminists, hipsters and tween girls alike have flocked to the stubbornly flawed but undeniably kickass Katniss Everdeen like she was a breath of fresh air; which, after years of a Twilight-ruled landscape, she was. But for vampire lit fans, a suitably strong leading lady has been sadly harder to find (they're out there, they're just not as famous). So we thought we'd help you out, point you towards our favourite cast of smart and capable girls living in a young adult fantasy world (yes, a whole cast of them). Actually, come to think of it, we've been missing some great heroes too; of the un-dead but still non-creepy variety, that is (and some living ones thrown in for good measure). And deep mythology with a sense of history and tradition, building a distinct world and a new kind of lore on top of the existing myths . And fun narrative voices with just enough self-aware snark to overcome some of the genre's sillier tropes. Oh I give up, there's all sorts of goodness in Alyxandra Harvey's teen vampire series The Drake Chronicles, I'm not going to bother choosing an angle.

Each book in the 6-part series (book 4 comes out in North America this month, it's already out in the UK) is narrated by a pair or trio of different characters from Harvey's well-populated world and explores the action of a dramatic couple weeks in the fictional town of Violet Hill from a new perspective.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Adaptation Alert: The Hunger Games premieres its Trailer

by Kelly Bedard 

The official Hunger Games trailer hit the world like a flaming District 12 tribute today after Josh Hutcherson (who plays fan favourite Peeta Mellark) introduced it on Good Morning America.

The superb, pulse-pounding teaser kicks off with the serene Jennifer Lawrence as heroine Katniss Everdeen meeting her tried and true best friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth) in the woods for their daily hunt. It's as peaceful a scene as Katniss ever enjoys and the sense of foreboding in Gale's pleas for them to run away together gives just the right sense of unease. Then we're on to the grey-tinted Reaping and Elizabeth Banks' frothily icky take on Effie Trinket, Lawrence's screams, the face of her terrified young sister Prim. The rest is a flash- the train, the prep team, Cinna's designs, Haymitch's training, Caesar's interviews and that crucial scene on the roof when Peeta first shows us who he is.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Heroes of Olympus: The Son of Neptune

by Rachael Nisenkier

I am too old for Percy Jackson. I’m okay with that. But I think it’s important to start off this review with a qualification: Percy Jackson is not Harry Potter, it’s not the The Hunger Games, it’s not even Twilight. Which is to say, it’s not a careful examination of adult themes through the guise of children’s literature.

What Percy Jackson is, to use a slightly awkward sentence construction, is a truly awesome adventure story whose self-contained mythology draws heavily on Greek and Roman myths while providing often funny modern touches. On top of that, author Rick Riordan has created believable teenage characters who just happen to have the powers of greek or roman gods.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Kelly Talks Hunger Games

by Kelly Bedard

On my recent vacation I finally got the chance to catch up on some reading I've meaning to do for a very long time: at the top of the list, The Hunger Games. My Bookshelf guru Rachael loves the books and I'm more than psyched for the upcoming movie, so when the time came for me to jump into the bestselling series, I couldn't wait. And while I sped through all three hefty novels in a matter of days, thoroughly invested throughout, I've got to say I wasn't quite as taken as I thought I'd be. Don't get me wrong, I loved The Hunger Games, I really did. But I just wasn't as deliriously in love with it as I expected.

*Warning, this whole thing will be spoilers. Turn back now if you must*

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Book Flashback: Good Omens

This feature sees your intrepid author venturing back into the books that delighted her in the past to see if they still stand up.

by Rachael Nisenkier

If you're a fantasy reader, chances are good that you've heard of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. In fact, I think I'd be willing to say chances are about 100% that you've heard of at least one of them. Otherwise, you've probably never read a fantasy book outside of Harry Potter or Twilight, and regardless of either book's relative merits*, you're not a real reader of fantasy so much as a reader of immensly popular book series.

Anyway, Neil Gaiman has made a living being the unfathomably cool poster boy for the legitimacy of fantasy and comics being "art." From his 1980s/early 90s graphic novel revolution in the form of The Sandman, to his 2002 opus/deconstructing of the modern religious psyche American Gods, Gaiman continually manages to maintain the literature part of fantasy literature, and, despite his massive success, still seem like a James Dean-type British outsider creating his hip art inside a dangerous and insightful medium (PLUS, he wrote an episode of Doctor Who!).

Terry Pratchett is slightly more niche, but to fans of fantasy (and specifically, to fans of satirical fantasy the likes of which hasn't been seen since Douglas Adams) he is a irreplaceable part of the landscape. His DiscWorld novels span topics from sexism to racism to nationalism to Trolls, and contain over 39 books. If Gaiman is the leather jacket wearing cover boy of modern fantasy, Pratchett is the hilarious and cutting stand up comedian who warms up the crowd for him.

But back in the mid 1980s when they started working on their collaboration (as Gaiman puts it in his foreword, before there even was a "Neil Gaiman" and a "Terry Pratchett" for them to be), they were just two struggling writers who happened to get along pretty well. And so they wrote a book together about the end of the world, because if you were Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, what would you do with your spare time?

I first picked up Good Omens my freshman year of high school. A much-smarter-than-me friend had been trying to convince me to read Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett for the better part of the year, and I, being the open-minded adventurer I was back in high school, was pretty resolute about saying no. But I've always been drawn to fantastical tales of good and evil, so when she put a copy of Good Omens in my hands I had to crack it. The cover itself was just so inviting.

In high school this set off a flurry of very expensive purchasing. I simply had to have every installment of the Sandman franchise (despite their $20-a-pop price, and the fact that I read them in about an hour, I refused to rent them from the library). My whole family began devouring Discworld (which, at about $8-a-pop, might seem a bargain, until you multiply that times THIRTY NINE). Every Neil Gaiman book was greeted with a mixture of trepidation and financial ruin.

So was this book actually as good as its effect on me in high school would imply? When I rescued my old, signed (BY BOTH AUTHORS, hachacha!) copy from a box of books my parents were trying to donate, I decided to investigate.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Adaptation Alert: The Help

Editor's Note: 

The Help is one of the biggest films of the summer. But the beautiful movie isn't one of those adaptations that lives a separate life from its source material. The movie is directed by the childhood best friend of the author and based on her book inspired by her childhood about a woman who writes a book inspired by her love of the woman who raised her. It's not a movie you can take out of context. Katheryn Stockett took a lot of heat just for writing The Help (a strange notion in context of the heat her character Skeeter and her subjects Minnie and Abilene get for writing the book "The Help" within the book The Help) and to think of Tate Taylor's film as somehow unburdened by that history takes away a lot of what makes The Help special. As such, senior contributing author Rachael Nisenkier (an author for both My Cinema and My Bookshelf) has written her film review as a companion piece to her previously published book review. You'll find both pieces here, published together in our efforts to capture all that The Help is.