Once again, our friends were nice enough to help us doodle at the table.
First up, it’s Harry, Ron and Hermione:
Here’s what the cover looks like:
We tried to recreate the pensive, depressing mood, but we shot on a beautiful sunny day. You be the judge–we even included two versions.
And here’s the secret to our sophisticated lighting (Jen was behind the camera. Lisa held the all-important posterboard).
ETA: for more pictures from the shoot, visit here.
We’d like to present a phenomenon we’ve coined The Code Name Verity Effect. It is such that things (historical persons, foods, locations, activities, and items) mentioned in Elizabeth Wein’s novel become suddenly more interesting.
1) We both sing, and we weren’t initially that thrilled about the choir’s summer piece–Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass–until we realized the title refers to Lord “Kiss me, Hardy!” Nelson of Code Name Verity fame. We are suddenly 1000x more excited for this piece.
3) Lisa wants to take up knitting because of Maddie’s gloves (Jen has already bookmarked the pattern!)
4) After reading so much about soft-boiled eggs at Castle Craig (and the devastating scene in France), Lisa really wants to eat an egg from an egg cup, the proper way
5) Jen is willing to try Maddie’s pickled onion sandwiches, eye-watering though they are
6) Combat boots are cool! #takethatDoctorWho
7) Our new dream vacation involves seeing the green flash over the Pennines. Let’s throw in the Holy Island seals too.
Have you noticed the Code Name Verity Effect at play in your life? How about with other books?
After reading Lisa Graff’s A Tangle of Knots, we couldn’t help but wonder about Cady’s cake recipes. Cady has a Talent for being able to sense and then bake a person’s ideal cake. Out of all the recipes, we thought we’d enjoy Mrs. Asher’s Honey Cake–surprisingly spicy for such a sweet cake–the most (until peaches come back in season), so we gave it a go.
Here’s the recipe, excerpted from the book:
a small sliver of butter (for greasing the cake pan)
2 1/3 cups flour (plus extra for preparing the cake pan)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup honey
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 cup coffee, at room temperature
1/3 cup orange juice, at room temperature
Our motion picture related post got us thinking about the silver screen. Now that Downton Abbey is on hiatus, might we suggest the Montmaray Journals, which we think would be perfect as the next big period drama. Exiled royalty, a vengeful (and borderline insane) servant, debutante parties, the onset of WWII, and an opinionated great-aunt that could give Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess a run for her money, the FitzOsbornes have it all as they zip in and out of world events with dignity, humor, and style.
We’ve decided to do some wishful casting for The Montmaray Journals, but despite all the Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Downton Abbey we watch, our knowledge of actors is fairly limited. So please chime in with your own fan casts!
Sophie FitzOsborne: Saoirse Ronan (aka the girl from Atonement)
Veronica: Jessica Brown Findlay (aka Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey)
Toby: Eddie Redmayne (aka Marius from Les Mis)
Henry: Ramona Marquez (aka Karen from Outnumbered)
Simon: Skandar Keynes (aka Edmund from Narnia)
Daniel: Arthur Darvill (aka Rory from Doctor Who)
Rebecca: Siobhan Finneran (aka O’Brien from Downton Abbey)
Rupert: Tommy Knight (aka Sarah Jane Smith’s son from Doctor Who)
Julia: Jenna Louise Coleman (aka Oswin Oswald/Clara/??? from Doctor Who)
Anthony: Thomas Howes (aka William from Downton Abbey)
(Yeah, it’s basically one big Doctor Who party, with some Downton thrown in as well. Conclusion: we watch way too much television.)
Update: Author Michelle Cooper has actually thought this through before. See her picks and many more here.
Usually we prefer books to stay books, because the movie versions rarely turn out as good as what we’ve envisioned in our heads (set design aside…) But there are always exceptions to the rule, and we think these books would be brilliant as films:
1) Team Human by Justine Larbalestrier and Sarah Rees Brennan
Twi-hard fans and Twi-hard avoiders will adore this clever and comic take on high school with vampires. Subverting a genre has never been so fun. (Even the cover looks like a movie poster!)
2) Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Kids in a dangerous rocket ship. What could go wrong?
3) Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber
This is a teen action-spy movie waiting to happen. Plus, everything goes down on prom night.
4) Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch
This graphic novel would make a quirky animated film. A quirky animated cartoon film. With the panels drawn in for good measure!
5) The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
If George Lucas/Disney is bringing us Star Wars Episode 7 and more, why not go all out? This is the ultimate homage. We’re thinking live action with Kellen’s doodles. (But please don’t let George write the script!)
What are some books you’d like to see as movies?
(Warning: here be spoilers).
Jen: ah, the long awaited SON.
Lisa: where the son is absent for half of the book, and an infant for another quarter. It should really be called MOM
Jen: agreed. So, Lisa, what did you think of SON?
Lisa: I liked the first third of the book the best. Seeing the Community from the birthmothers’ POV…so creepy. And their adult lives are so boring, it makes the kids’ regimented days look terribly interesting
Jen: I also enjoyed how Claire’s story paralleled the events of THE GIVER, but from a different angle. And I was so delighted to learn how Jonas and Kira named their kids!!!
Lisa: yes, Annabelle and Matty : ) And, it wasn’t weird at all to see Jonas and Kira as grownups, and married. Gabe as a stubborn teenager was ok too.
Jen: But pacing was an issue. That training sequence dragged forever. I mean, I appreciated the price that Claire had to pay to leave that place for the sake of her son, even before Trademaster got involved, but it was slow going… (more…)
“When I was a boy I wished I could fly. Out the window and over the trees….then loop the loop and up to the stars. Eventually of course, we dream other dreams. We change. We grow up. It always happens. Nothing is forever. That’s the rule. Everything ends. And so our story begins…”
Lisa and I had the thrill of catching Peter and the Starcatcher at the Brooks Atkinson theater the day it closed (we braved the cold to put our names in the ticket lottery–without success–but yay for lottery loser tickets!) Other than that the plot has something to do with Peter Pan and that the show has received rave reviews and not a few Tonys, we had no idea what to expect. Would it be a homage? A play? A musical?
As it turns out, it’s a bit of everything.
Better yet, it’s a play for children and adults in touch with their inner child. While the dialogue and the jokes zip along faster than the Wasp (commandeered by pirates, of course) in hot pursuit of the S.S. Neverland, the set and “special effects” are magically low-tech. At the start of the show, we are asked to imagine “a grown cat in flight”, but it’s not long before our imaginations are rewarded by an ordinary length of rope that morphs into a tiny cabin porthole, narrow passageways, flapping saloon doors, whatever the scene calls for, really. It was like playing pretend and having only the stuff in your garage to make your creativity soar.
The cast was flawless as well, playing their roles with panache and then melding back into the company (a precisely, synchronous unit) to bulk out two very different crews, a gang of pirates, a jungle tribe, and transformed mermaids. (Did we mention there’s only one female in the whole cast? Those mermaids, not a pretty sight.) Still, standouts include Molly, an intelligent, competitive Starcatcher-in-training who befriends three orphan boys, Mrs. Bumbrake, her fussy but neglectful nanny (played by a man, a la British pantomime), and the comic duo of Black Stache and Smee.
Like the best children’s books, this play (which is based on the book Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson) speaks to adults and kids on different levels. We were struck by the melancholy take on the Peter Pan theme–of those who grow up and the ones who don’t–especially because we’d just reread Code Name Verity, where Peter Pan has a role to play as well.
Even as the last pieces of what will become the Peter Pan mythology fall into place, the ending is bittersweet. After an adventurous, transformative journey of self-discovery and identity (literally, Peter doesn’t even get a name until the end of Act 1!), it’s the adults who determine Peter and Molly’s futures in the end. And though it’s not what they’d choose, it’s one they must and do accept, whereas I wanted their story to continue straight on till morning. But we were warned: Everything ends. New stories begin.
1. Series titles that overshadow the title of the actual book you are reading. Egregious example from 2012--WINGS OF FIRE The Dragonet Prophecy. I hate not being certain which is the title of the book and which is the title of the series!
2. Prologues that aren’t necessary. Which I think is most of them. It is hard to try to care about a prologue, knowing that in just a few pages you’ll be thrust into the actual story, and even though you may be confused (this is particularly true of action-packed prologues) you have to concentrate because there are probably Valuable Clues. I don’t mind mythological prologues about the world being created, though–they tend to be rather soothing and don’t come back to bite you.
3. Authors using words that have no place in the English language because we don’t actually need any more nouns becoming verbs thank you very much. Egregious example of 2012–a dragon “gifting” the kingdom with magic in Iron Hearted Violet, by Kelly Barnhill. The word is GAVE. Especially if you are quasi-medieval. (Please, anyone who might have a present for me, just give it to me as a gift. Don’t gift it).
Ack, but now I remember that [as you yourselves point out] I detest intrusive narrators of a particular stripe with a passionate intensity–the ones who pretend to be my friends even though I Have Never Met Them! I am no one’s dear reader, not even Megan Whalen Turner’s (not that she would). And then, after presuming on an acquaintance of just a few pages, they act like they know what I’m thinking! They don’t. My heart isn’t racing, breaking, trembling, or any of the other things they say it is. It is becoming increasingly hostile. A narrator who knows her place, however, can be tolerable. (Question: are extroverts more tolerant of intrusive narrators?)
We’re not exactly extroverts, but some intrusive narrators are okay (ie the Dear Reader in The Tale of Despereaux). And ditto on the “gifting,” though we’re sometimes guilty of being lazy like that.