What a difference a sticker can make. Back in 2001, Oprah’s Book Club was rolling along at full steam turning regular books into global super stars over night. So, when she chose Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, it seemed like the writer would be rolling in it. He even went on and did an initial interview with Oprah, but the Chicago native eventually started to worry about that Book Club sticker emblazoned on the cover. He thought that it would turn men off of his work and said so in an interview that Oprah heard and basically dropped Franzen from the show and moved on to the next book (history via Wiki and my fuzzy memory, my mom taped Oprah every day around this time and I was still home before going to college).
I didn’t know any of that when I read The Corrections while at college though. I think the professor mentioned it, but painted Franzen as more of a rebellious hero than seems to have actually been the case. Regardless, the book blew me away. I even wrote a 17 page paper about the various sexual relationships in the book that I don’t think sucked too bad. I haven’t gone back and read either the book or the paper since my college days, but plan on adding it and some other more recent favorites to the end of my ambitious reading list.
So, with all that floating around in my brain somewhere, I was pretty surprised to find out via two emails from Barnes & Noble and Borders within about two minutes of each other today telling me that Oprah’s most recent Book Club entry will be Franzen’s highly anticipated new novel Freedom (his first since Corrections). Now, I didn’t see the Oprah episode itself, but I’m curious to see what Franzen’s involvement will be and if there was any mention to the troubles between the writer and host almost a decade ago. Anyone know?
Personally, I’m excited to check the book out and might even have to break my usual policy of waiting until books are on super sale at B&N before buying.
UPDATE: Thanks to my mom for mentioning it on Facebook, I actually caught the Oprah episode today at 4:00PM. She said that Franzen sent her a galley of the book over the summer, she references their past, says he agreed to let it be the Book Club choice and then she calls it a masterpiece. Interesting. Oprah then says it was one of the best novels she ever read. There you have it.
This actually feels like a Crossovers I Want To See that I never even thought of. /Film‘s reporting that writers/producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (who, I’ve mentioned, are awesome) have optioned Joe Hill’s horror/fantasy comic Locke and Key from IDW (which I just read and really enjoyed) for a TV series. Some of you might be thinking, “Hey aren’t they the guys who wrote Transformers 2? And didn’t that movie suck ass?” To which I would say, yes on all counts, but I’m guessing their original script was much better than whatever Michael Bay turned it into. The duo also had a hand in creating Fringe, which I really liked and only stopped watching because it was opposite something else I liked even more. I’m fickle like that. I’m sure the Locke and Key show will take a while to get it’s feet off the ground, but I’m excited to see what happens with the project and what new doors are explored in both the comics and potential series.
I haven’t talked about it on the blog much, but I am a huge Green Lantern fan. I started reading the book back when Hal went crazy and have followed Kyle’s adventures ever since. Back then I always loved the concept of the Corps and space cops in general and wanted that concept to return much more than Hal Jordan. Anyway, one of my favorite GL stories of all time can be found in my favorite trade of all time DC Universe: The Stories Of Alan Moore (get that version instead of Across The Universe because DCU has Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow and Killing Joke!). A GL gets sent into a part of space where there’s no light, which means the idea of a Green Lantern holds no meaning. She meets an alien named Rot Lop Fan who becomes that sector’s F Sharp Bell. It’s a little story but it’s just so brilliant. Rot’s shown up a few times in background cameos though I don’t think he’s ever been directly referenced since then aside from Secret Files entries.Until now. ComicBookMovie.com has images of Rot along with six other Lanterns that may or may not appear in the upcoming movie. My guess is that he won’t play an important part in the story, but will be in some big group shots (think Galactic Senate but hopefully less boring). Considering that Geoff Johns has had a hand in the movie-making process and considering how well he mined Moore’s other short Green Lantern stories for the past few years, I would guess this is a bit of a tribute to the Snake god-loving British writer. Or just to me. Either way’s cool. They even gave him the F Sharp Bell symbol instead of the GL one. Nerdgasm!!!! This really makes me want to kick start my GL sketchbook again with a rot Lop Fan!
According to Eonline’s Marc Malkin and his sources, Danielle Staub will not be on The Real Housewives of New Jersey next season. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who saw the preview for the season finale which will see Caroline asking Danielle for a meet up where it looks like she says that their interactions (between Danielle and the rest of the women) are over. Anyone who’s been reading my live blogs of the show can probably guess that I’m pretty jazzed about this. The woman has been nothing but huge glops of crazy and makes it hard to watch. But, having her not on next season isn’t quite enough, the women–specifically Jacqueline and Teresa–will actually have to stop talking about her to really make a difference. Oh and Jacqueline’s daughter Ashley will have to stop baiting her online. So, we’ll see if this turns out to be real or not and how much Danielle’s really not on the show anymore, because even if she’s not physically there her specter has the potential to hang over and taint the whole next season. Word’s still out as to whether Housewife hopefuls Kim G or Danny will make the cut if Danielle does not, but hopefully Dina will make comeback.
Thanks to Ben’s post of his top five NES games over on The Cool Kid’s Table, I decided to check and see if Bubble Bobble (his #5) was on the Wii Virtual Console. Now, I’m not that big of a Wii fan. We have one, but when I get the itch to play some video games, 99% of the time I head for my 360, but now that I know that both Bubble Bobble and my beloved Mario Tennis for the Nintendo 64 are available on the VC, I think I might be spending a little more time with my Wii. Neither of these bits of information are particularly new to the world, but they’re new to me.
See, in college, I was in a fraternity. It wasn’t what you think of as a fraternity, but a genuinely great group of guys coming together to try and do something good for each other, ourselves and the community. We also loved to played video games. To us, the number one “running around and shooting people” game wasn’t Halo 2, but Red Faction 2, a game I still enjoy to this day. But we also had an N64 in the basement that we used mostly to play Mario Tennis. It was a ridiculously fun and nuanced game that was easy to play but difficult to master. We even started holding a tournament every year that my roommate and I came pretty damn close to winning (unless my memory is making us out to be better than we were, though I do remember Team Awesome being fairly hard to beat). The Game Cube version added way too much nonsense with super crazy powerful hits and what not and left me feeling disappointed, but I am absolutely overjoyed to discover that I can go back to those wonderful courts with Boo and Shy Guy. Time to get some of those Wii points I guess and get back in like with my Wii.
I’m a big football fan and can’t freaking wait for the new season to start (why is the off season so long?!). Towards the end of last year I was thinking how much better the game would be with a little technical updating. I was thinking that implanting a chip in the ball and maybe adding some sensors to the field would take the “Was it in or out?” or “Was it a touchdown?” questions completely out of the game. Well, it seems that the NFL is in talks with Cairos Technologies to do exactly that according to Wired. The article says that purists would dislike the idea, but what’s to dislike? Why not use technology to enforce the rules set out and not rely on human fallibility? Sure, the real old timers might complain about the machines taking over, but I know I’d rather leave important calls up to science and technology. Unless, of course, it’s against my beloved Steelers. Then it’s time to get rid of those damn machines before they take over!
Thanks to It Might Get Loud, I’ve become a pretty big Jack White fan after disliking him for many years (more on this on Friday!), but I haven’t made my way into the Dead Weather yet as I’m still checking out The White Stripes and The Raconteurs. Anyway, news came out today that White yelled at a bunch of Hollywood clowns while playing a show with The Dead Weather. Here’s a clip from the Daily News story:
“F- you, you hip motherf-ers!” White screamed at the audience, which included Liv Tyler, rock royalty Alexandra Richards, Shaun White and Mary-Kate Olsen. “Why don’t you rock the f- out?! Maybe I should go grab those free drinks and shove them down your throats, you hip motherf-ers!”
Pretty awesome, no? Why go to a concert if you’re not going to have some fun? The worst part is that he apologized at the end of the show (according to the article). What happened to rock stars that they’ve started apologizing for being egomaniacal jerks?
In other news (this time from People.com) John Goodman lost 100 pounds. Good for him! Having watched lots and lots of Roseanne over the past year, I noticed how big he got and still seemed when he’d pop up in things like Studio 60, Speed Racer or Confessions Of A Shopaholic. He’s one of the funniest guys around and anyone getting healthy is good news. Well done, John!
The Autumn Society will be doing a show called Three G or Triple G (or possibly 3G) at Gallery1988 in the near future which will be focusing on Gremlins, Ghostbusters and Goonies, three of the greatest movies of all time. You can check out several of the pieces posted on the blog here and here. Today Tom Whalen, an artist I’ve gone on the record as being a big fan of, revealed his Gremlins piece for the show. Check out all the pieces, they look awesome.
WOO HOO. I don’t think I’ve talked about my love for Matt Wagner’s Mage: The Hero Discovered and Mage: The Hero Defined on the blog before, but damn, it’s an amazing pair of stories that reinvisions legends like King Arthur and many more, puts them in modern society and lets them fight magic. It’s awesome. So, as you might expect, I was pretty excited this morning when CBR told me that the guy who produced Watchmen, The Rocketeer and other geeky flicks Lloyd Levin (sounds like either a Stan Lee creation or someone who should be in Superman’s life) picked up the rights to the first book. Wagner’s quoted basically saying that previous movie people wanted to change the material, but now they want to stick with the source. Sounds good to me. I actually just got the hardcover version of Discovered a few months back in a Swap that I haven’t read yet, but this might spur me on to read them both again. Good news!
There’s a crazy amount of digital ink being spilled about the new Wonder Woman costume, from the official announcement on the New York Times’ site, to it being ribbed on sites like Topless Robot, to a surprisingly positive vote of confidence from fashionistas Tom & Lorenzo. Does anything else need to be said? Probably not, but that’s never stopped me before.
The outrage over the story (the gods went back and changed Wonder Woman’s origin) and the new costume (designed by Jim lee), seems a little crazy to me, especially from the comics fans out there. You guys know it’s comics right? Nothing stays changed for more than a few years. Have you never read the kind of story where a character’s origin is changed and she doesn’t know it, only to eventually realize it, fight the bad guys and give up her new old life for her old old life to show how she deals with sacrifice? It’s pretty standard for comics/sci-fi/fantasy.The costume’s whatever. I’m sure we’ll have the classic look in no time, especially if the flack the book has gotten online so far translates into poor sales.
As a fan of Gail Simone’s take on the book, I wasn’t too excited to hear that J. Michael Straczynski was taking over the book. He hasn’t exactly lit up the world at DC with his Brave And The Bold stories, which is a shame, because there were some really good ideas (Legion and Doom Patrol!). That being said, I’ve always been a fan of characters getting shaken up. I started reading comics with the death of Superman. Then Batman got broken, Green Lantern went insane, Wonder Woman got demoted. All those things got me reading those books. And, much as I hate to admit it, Heroes Reborn got me reading Marvel comics. So, hey, take it easy gang. If you don’t like the story, don’t buy the comic. If you’re curious like me, give it a shot and judge the book after it comes out, not before.