You’re interviewing David Sedaris and trying to not let on the fact you’re nervous. The guy is, after all, the rock star of authors, an NPR favorite whose books are the rage with your most literary friends. But he’s done this before and quickly sets you at ease and shares all sorts of great stuff (much of it hilarious, but unfit for the daily paper).
Sedaris will be in town on Thursday with his lecture tour, which is part of the Broadway in Fresno series.
We have tickets to share.
Just leave a comment below. Tell us which story you’d like to hear Sedaris read aloud. We’ll pick winners at random. Contest will close at 4 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday) and winners will be notified by email. No repeat entries, please. Complete rules are on the jump.
We’re taking Donald’s Beehive Book Club and shaking it up a bit. Since we’ve got several book lovers on staff here and we have wildly varying tastes, we thought we’d jump on his bandwagon and share some of our recent notable reads too. And we want to hear about what you’re reading, so feel free to tell us in the comments section.
Bethany: The “Game of Thrones” series by George R.R. Martin.
The Game of Thrones book series has completely sucked me in. I just finished the third book, A Storm of Swords, and downloaded the next one immediately to my Kindle.
The series, officially called “a Song of Ice and Fire,” centers around the Stark family and its six kids. The family is scattered across a fictional land similar to Old England, dealing with war, dragons, murder, arranged marriages, and a growing threat from something supernatural in the north. Or as a friend of mine calls the series, “bad things happening to good people.”
It’s getting to the point where I’m ditching TV to read because frankly, the heroes in ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” have nothing on pre-teen Arya Stark’s adventures with her pint-sized sword, Needle.
I’m not usually a fantasy fan and I don’t have much patience for big books (the last one was 1,177 pages), but I’m so attached to this family now I have to see what happens. The author has a tendency to get a bit wordy at times, but he also takes the character you used to hate and turns him into a multifaceted person you find yourself rooting for.
For those following the count-down clock, we’ve hit the zero hour (to the chagrin of at least one user). Those following me over from my previous gig at Fresno Famous will need no introduction, but the rest of y’all probably want to know what I am about.
First off, I like lists. So:
Downtown. When the Vagabond Lofts were built in 2006, I was the first to move in. Literally, the very first resident in the complex (OK, I had a roommate). I was what then-council member Henry T. Perea called an urban pioneer. I fully buy into the idea that a city is only as good as its downtown, and that Fresno can be (heck, it already is) a vibrant, cultural hot-spot. To that end, I’ll be keeping up with the city’s efforts to get people back to the urban core. For now, check out I Believe in Downtown Fresno. You don’t have to take the pledge, but you can at least get informed.
To keep from being all north Fresno vs. south, I also have an affinity for Fig Garden Village and the Tower District and have no problem hanging out at River Park when I need to.
It’s been a LONG time since I’ve posted an installment of my Beehive Book Club, an occasional series in which I and some of my book-loving readers share what we’ve been reading. I’ll be putting that post up tomorrow in advance of a book-themed package of stories in Sunday’s upcoming Spotlight section. To kick things off, I’m posing a quick question right now: What book do you want for Christmas?
There’s a bunch of titles I’m eyeing myself, particularly now that the New York Times has released its annual list of 100 Notable Books of 2012. Tops on my list: “NW” by Zadie Smith; and Hilary Mantel’s “Bring Up the Bodies.”
If you share with me by mid-morning Thursday, I’ll try to use your answers in Sunday’s Spotlight section.
December is jam packed with local entertainment options you won’t want to miss. You can go to see lots of theater, check out Christmas concerts and live bands and even see a dragon, among other things. So check out our “Don’t Miss It” guide to December and start filling up your entertainment calendar. View the full PDF below.
Many of you won’t admit it, but you probably have shed a tear while reading a Nicholas Sparks book or seeing one of the movies adapted from his works. No one really believed you were having an allergy attack while seeing “The Notebook.”
The guy knows how to make you cry. He’s at it again with the release of “The Lucky One,” the feature film starring Zac Efron that opens Friday. That’s why I thought I would turn the tables on him and ask which film has brought him to tears.
” ‘Toy Story 3′,” Sparks tells me without hesitation. I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting that answer.
Sparks explains that his oldest son was 3 years old when he saw the first “Toy Story.” It was the first movie the young moviegoer sat through from beginning to end. The author clearly recalls how much his son was laughing at the end of the film when Buzz and Woody are going through their antics.
Fast forward 15 years to “Toy Story 3.” The animated film looks at what happens when Andy gets to the age where he’s headed off to college and leaves his toys behind. It was hard for Sparks to hold back the tears as he thought about his own son heading off to college.
As a matter of full disclosure, there are two movies that always give me “allergy attacks” — the baseball film “Field of Dreams” and “Somewhere in Time,” one of the greatest love story movies ever made.
I was checking the movie calendar the other day to see what films were being released later this month, and noticed “One For the Money,” staring Katherine Heigl, is in theaters Jan. 27.
Is anyone excited about this movie?
I’m curious because I know this is a HUGELY popular book series (the the latest book just came out) about bounty hunter Stephanie Plum and her exploits – some involving a couple of hot guys. This is a book series with a beloved leading lady that’s sold millions, so why isn’t there more buzz? If Facebook friends is any indication, “One For the Money” certainly hasn’t reached the anticipation of “The Hunger Games.” Is it the casting? Lack of promotion? Maybe the fans are happier just reading the books?
CBS47 is hosting a gigantic book sale at Sierra Vista Mall this weekend to benefit our public libraries and literacy programs. My buddy Zara Arboleda from Channel 47 showed off the selection this morning on her Twitter account. Most books are under $5. Looks like I need to head to the mall to shop.
The sales is today through Sunday. Here are the hours:
Local farmer and author Mas Masumoto‘s book “Epitaph for a Peach” gets some much deserved love on a “10 Favorite Cookbooks” blog post by Christopher Kimball of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Illustrated magazine.
Kimball calls Masumoto’s book his “favorite pieces of food writing.”
This story about cutting the N-word from two Mark Twain classics “Huck Finn” and “Tom Sawyer” is getting a lot of attention today. Here’s the gist, from AP:
Mark Twain wrote that “the difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter.” A new edition of “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “Tom Sawyer” will try to find out if that holds true by replacing the N-word with “slave” in an effort not to offend readers.
Twain scholar Alan Gribben, who is working with NewSouth Books in Alabama to publish a combined volume of the books, said the N-word appears 219 times in “Huck Finn” and four times in “Tom Sawyer.” He said the word puts the books in danger of joining the list of literary classics that Twain once humorously defined as those “which people praise and don’t read.”
The news is definitely drawing some criticism. Personally, I think it should be left alone. There are many things in history that are offensive. Acting like those moments didn’t happen doesn’t help anyone. I’d rather confront and learn from the past.
One of my favorite stories of the season is posted: the New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year. (The print version is scheduled to publish Dec. 5.) If I could clone myself a couple of times, I’d snuggle under a blanket for a few weeks and read every book on the list. Alas, a quick glance through the list indicates I haven’t yet read one. (Surely someone can beat that.) I’d better get cracking.
UPDATE 2/19: Thanks for the great feedback. I’ve already added three books to my reading list. (That is, if I ever get through “Infinite Jest.” But I just hit 19% on my Kindle, and I’ve got a rainy weekend ahead of me.) It’s good to know there are so many enthusiastic readers out there. I’ll check back in on the Beehive every now and then to talk books.
ORIGINAL ENTRY 2/15: I’ve been a reading fiend the past couple of months. Part of it’s because of my new Kindle, which I fessed up to in the latest round of Beehive obsessions.
At the moment I’m tackling one of those big, ultra-hip, wunderkind novels that I resisted reading for years because it was so literary high fashion: David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest.” (Let’s just put it this way: the footnotes have footnotes. And there are a couple of hundred pages of them.) I’m only about 8% of the way through — one of the benefits of reading a Kindle is you get an exact calibration of how much you’ve read — and so far it’s kind of a slog. So if any “Infinite Jest” fans read this, send some encouragement my way.
You know how it is when you find something you love and instantly you want everyone you know to love it, too? Here is a list of things the Beehive is into at this very moment. We invite you to share your obsession in the comments.
Rick: It hasn’t started yet, but I can’t wait to see the final episodes of “Lost.”I can’t imagine how any ending would be completely satisfying. I’m also hooked on “Burn Notice,” “Modern Family” and “Secret Diary of a Call Girl.” Heather: My new obsession is making sure that the seafood I eat is sustainable. “Sustainable” is one of those buzzwords that gets thrown around a lot, but in this case, it means that I’m trying hard to follow the guidelines for responsible seafood eating set by Seafood Watch, a Monterey Bay Aquarium program that keeps track of which seafood items are safe, healthy, and fished or farmed responsibly. Why is that important? Because we can’t eat seafood if there’s none left in the sea, and I love me some shellfish.
Kathy: I’m really into the marriage of Netflix and PS3, which allows me to stream movies to my TV with the push of a button. It gives me a a whole library of movies at my fingertips. Plus, I get Blu-ray movies sent to me in the mail to supplement the live selections. Since the Netflix warehouse is in Bakersfield, it only takes a day to get a new movie. If that’s not awesome enough, the service is pretty cheap: $11 a month.
Well, he’s got a new book that’s soon to be released — and this one comes with another taste of Fresno. Whether that’s tasty or distasteful is up to you.
“T & T & A” is the title of Stamolis’ new book. The first T is for tacos. The T & A part, well you know what that means, right? Basically, the book is 200 pages of naked women and tacos (not a euphemism). It’s not naked women eating tacos. It’s just pictures of tacos next to pictures of naked women. I guess you’d call it alt-porn with food.
I’m guessing this is either (a) the greatest thing you’ve ever heard or (b) quite offensive. But that’s probably the point. “Frezno” had that this-book-might-offend-you thing going too.
Of local interest: About half of the tacos in the book hail from Fresno — places such Tacos Tijuana, Don Pepe, Castillo’s and Taqueria Superior. The rest are from L.A. and New York. Stamolis said maybe one of his models is from Fresno, but didn’t sound too sure.
The book is due to be released in March via Sump Books. For now, there’s a Web site with some teasers of what’s included in the book. Before I give you the link, I need to make it clear this is VERY, VERY, VERY NSFW. Now proceed, if you wish.
“New Moon” is my least favorite of the four “Twilight” books, so I haven’t been as crazed about this movie as I was for the first one. But that all started to change the last week couple weeks.
It started with the “New Moon” soundtrack, which I love. Then, Rick put together this fun package of interviews with the “New Moon” cast. After reading all the stories and listening to the audio clips, I was feeling more positive about the movie.
This weekend I found myself talking about the movie with friends and realizing I’m really pretty excited about the movie. I even busted out my “Twilight” DVD last night to get a little fix and grabbed my copy on “New Moon” to re-read a few parts.
So, if you need a “New Moon” fix over the next few days until you see the movie, check this cool “New Moon” feature out. And, be sure to come back to the Beehive later this week and over the weekend to post your review of the movie. We’ll randomly pick winners next week from the comments on that post to win movie t-shirts and posters.
UPDATE: The winners are: Amber, Kristin, Michael Torres, Lisa Vang, oona171717, Lauren R., Bella, Becky Lindh, Art Falcon, Renee, Brian Murray, Tanya, Shelly, Kaylynn Conant, Nichole Leyva, Kathy Pippig, Lissa777, Cristobal, John, Jennifer, Amanda Castro, MikeQ, Jim Stempien, mari, Estie. All winners have been sent an e-mail with details about picking up the tickets. Congratulations!
Be sure to come back next week to post your review of “New Moon.” We’ll select winners from that post to win “New Moon” t-shirts.
ORIGINAL POST: Don’t hate me, but I was among the members of the press who got a chance to see “New Moon” over the weekend. I needed to see the movie to interview the cast for a package of stories you will see in the Fresno Bee and at fresnobee.com/seven.
Critics were sworn to secrecy as to the quality of the movie. My thoughts will be revealed along those lines Nov. 20 when the movie opens.
Some of you will get to evaluate the movie for yourself before it opens to the public. The Beehive is giving away 25 pairs of tickets to see the 7 p.m. Nov. 18 sneak preview of “New Moon.” The screening will be held at the Manchester Stadium 16.
All you have to do is leave a comment below telling us why you’re anticipating the movie. The 25 winners will be randomly selected from those comments. Use a real e-mail address because we will notify winners via e-mail. Tickets will have to be picked up at The Fresno Bee. Entries will be taken until noon Friday and winners will be announced Friday afternoon. (Please note, these tickets do not guarantee you will get a seat at the screening because the movie studio gives out more tickets than seats to ensure a full house.)
Good luck and I hope to see you at the “New Moon” screening.
Both apparently remain appealing to the public. Whitney’s album “I Look To You” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. And Dan’s book “The Lost Symbol” sold a million copies in a day.
This all makes me feel a bit out touch with America.
I did watch Oprah’s interview with Whitney — I couldn’t resist hearing about the drugs, especially after that “crack is whack” interview a few years back — but I haven’t listened to the CD and don’t really care if I get to it anytime soon. I’m much more excited about the new Muse CD (It’s pretty great).
I’m also not among the the throngs looking forward to reading Dan’s book. I might be one of the few who wasn’t that impressed with the “Da Vinci Code,” though I thought it was somewhat entertaining. I never did understand all the hubbub about that book.
Am I the only one not into this week’s big sellers?
If you haven’t read the first book, get it now and read it before September. It is fantastically creepy, even Stephen King agrees. When I finished the book, I was dumbstruck — kind of like at the end of “Empire Strikes Back” (for those of us who saw them in the correct order and were surprised). That was 10 months ago, and I was pissed that I had to wait to find out what happens next to Katniss, the heroine. Now, gladly, I realized today that I have just over a month to wait (and the hope that this series goes to film).
Void filled, well, at least until the first week of September. Damn! Then what?
From an art perspective, there’s some really nice work inside that’ll have you flipping page after page. From a collector’s perspective, there are 101 perforated 11 x 14 replica posters that you can totally frame and hang on your wall. From a music buff’s perspective, it’s awesome to see artwork for your favorite groups. For instance, I geeked at this Wu-Tang poster.
Artists included in the book range from Wilco to Arcade Fire, from Kanye West to The Shins. Beyond just cool posters, it gives you profiles on the designers and their other work.
If you can’t shell out the $40 for the book, you can freely surf the Web site that inspired it — gigposters.com. There are over 100,000 show posters on there. Even some from Fresno and Visalia. Below are some examples of what you’ll find in the book.
Local author Mark Arax is going to be at Fresno State at 6 p.m. Wednesday. He will visit the local university to talk about his new book “West of the West: Dreamers, Believers, Builders, and Killers in the Golden State.”
His talk will be held in the Alice Peters Auditorium. It is located in the University Business Center on the Fresno State campus.
Arax, a Fresno State graduate, will discuss the inspiration for his new novel. The book includes several expanded versions of stories Arax wrote for the L.A. Times. It also includes several new stories. They are all tied together by the fascination Arax has for California, especially the San Joaquin Valley.
There is no admission. The public is invited to attend. Parking is available in lots A and J. The lots are just east of the Peters Business building.
A book signing will follow the discussion.
For more information, contact Dr. Daniel Cady at (559) 278-6817.
You know how it is when you find something you love and instantly you want everyone you know to love it, too? Here is a list of things the Beehive is into at this very moment. We invite you to share your obsession in the comments.
Kathy: I can’t get enough of “Chelsea Lately”. The show cracks me up, especially the monologues and snarky round table. It is the perfect way to unwind after work before jumping into weekly shows like “American Idol.” Plus, it’s worth tuning in to see Chelsea Handler’s slammin’ shoes. So envious.
Mike Oz: There are many things I like right now — Matt & Kim, South Park, the weather — but there’s only thing that’s at full-blown obession level. It’s not much of a surprise, really — 24.” This season has really brought back the luster and thrust “24″ back into the top tier of TV. I bow to you, Jack Bauer, and I can’t wait to see how you save the world this time.
Heather: Lately I’ve been obsessed with reading Kathy Reichs’ crime novels. Reichs is a forensic anthropologist and the inspiration for the TV show “Bones,” which I am also slightly obsessed with, and mostly not just because it stars Angel. The books aren’t exactly great literature, but they’re interesting, and I’m pretty sure by the time I finish reading them I’ll be able to commit the perfect crime. Mwah-haha.
Confession time: When I saw that Entertainment Weekly has the stars of the upcoming movie “Twilight” on its cover this week, I actually gave an excited gasp and immediately made plans to get my hands on a copy of the magazine.
I am one of the many adults who has read all of the books in Stephanie Meyers’ Twilight series that is geared toward young adults (New Moon and Eclipse are the other two books; the fourth, Breaking Dawn, will be released August 2nd). If you’re not familiar with the phenomenon, you can read the EW article that breaks it down here.
Essentially, it is the story of 17-year old Bella Swan who moves to the gray and soggy Washington town of Forks and immediately falls in love with Edward, a gorgeous vampire, whose love for Bella puts her in all kinds of dangerous situations (including drama with Bella’s best friend, Jacob, who is a â€“ well, I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you). Comparisons to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and Harry Potter are made about the series often, but aside from the love-with-a-vampire element and weeks spent on the bestsellers list, the similarities pretty much end there.
Twilight is one of those series that is so personal to fans that when the time came to cast Edward and Bella for the movie (in theaters December 12th), everyone and her mom had to weigh in with their opinions. I admit that when I heard Robert Pattinson was playing Edward, my first reaction was “Really? Cedric Diggory?” I’m reserving judgment, however, until I see the movie.
In the meantime, if you don’t want to be left out of what will inevitably be a major pop culture discussion in the next few months, I suggest you get yourself to your nearest bookseller and study up. The books are hefty, but quick reads, and the first three are now available in paperback.
Watch the teaser trailer for “Twilight” after the jump:
I have to say, I did not fully enjoy the final Harry Potter book.
Don’t get me wrong, the book itself was fine (no spoilers here, relax), but the act of reading the book was not as enjoyable as I’d hoped due to an overwhelming dread that somehow, in some way, the book would be ruined for me by some unscrupulous bastard looking to be a jerk.
As some of you may know, I was in Las Vegas over the weekend. I spent most of last week carefully avoiding the Internet (very difficult for a blogger, BTW), and then Saturday morning, I purchased the book in a Las Vegas Barnes & Noble. From there I accompanied my friends to a local hotel/casino for a day of reading and relaxation out by the pool. Soon after heading outside, I discovered that the desert is hot. Hella hot.
Harry and I were driven back inside the casino, where I saddled up to the bar, ordered a Bloody Mary and got to reading. Only a few pages in, an older gentleman in a toupee that didn’t even pretend to match his original hair color approached me and asked if I was reading the new Harry Potter book.
People.com has posted a quiz for those who think they know what it takes to live in Harry Potter’s world.
I love Harry Potter. I love the books, I love the movies. I am ridiculously excited, but also sad, for the final book to come out this weekend. Go ahead and call me a nerd, but just know that I can think of 20 more hurtful 4-letter names to call you.
It is with great shame that I admit I only got 4 out of 6 correct on People’s Harry Potter quiz. I always fancied myself in the same vein as Hermione Granger, but now I see that I am really just a Neville Longbottom or a Ron Weasley.
Regardless, I will miss these characters. The books may have been written for children, but they sure entertained me for a good long time. It will be tough to find a replacement to fill their void.