Around the Common Room 3/31/12

Our last Common Room post having been nearly a month ago, we’ve aggregated quite a number of links, so prepare yourselves for a full and (hopefully) satisfying websurfing experience.

We all know the Internet world has exploded with Hunger Games movie reviews. Along with those have come various spinoff posts, including’s fascinating “How Will They Make a Movie out of Mockingjay?” and’s “How YA Like ‘The Hunger Games’ Came to Rule Fantasy and Scifi Films“. For those who read The Hunger Games and want more books along the same lines, offers “Hunger No More: YA Fiction to Fill the Hunger Games Void“, and Flavorwire gives us a similar post starring mostly different books, titled “Required Reading: Dystopic Books where Kids Meet Tragic Fates“.

While we’re talking movies, here are MemeBurn’s 17 Movies worth geeking out to in 2012, and Science Daily casts a Cheering Charm on all us Potter fans with “Watching Harry Potter Films Enhances Creativity in Children“.

As we’ve all celebrated the release of the Harry Potter books for e-readers this week, here are a couple of posts about digital books and their effect on our lives: James W. Harris asks “What is the Kindle Doing to the Science Fiction Genre?” and SMU Research discusses a study claiming that “Middle school boys who are reluctant readers value reading more after using e-readers”–but that girls seem to prefer print books.

Readers and writers of fan fiction may be interested in Dear Author’s piece on fan fiction, plagiarism and copyright.

If you haven’t yet heard, one man landed in the hospital after an alcohol-heightened debate over, allegedly, the relative merits of Tolkien and Lewis. That’s never happened at The Hog’s Head Pub, of course. We limit our firewhisky intake when arguing over whether John or Jack is the better author.

A collection of five hundred fairy tales, many of them not existing in previously known collections, has been found in Germany. It’s hard to overrate the importance of such a find.

On the theme of fairy tales, designer Christian Jackson has created a lovely and visually arresting set of minimalist posters for many children’s classics.

Library Journal’s genre spotlight on Christian fiction contains some interesting comments about the relationship between Christians and speculative fiction, including Marcher Lord Press founder Jeff Gerke’s claim that “The hotter the Harry Potter and Eragon and similar books got in secular fiction, the cooler became the reception to fantasy and other speculative fiction at Christian publishing houses.” Thanks to Pottermom05 for the link.

At last, in the familiar  randomness of Potter and other fantasy fandoms, here are a few entertaining posts: L.B. Gale gives the results of her study sorting non-Potter fictional characters into Hogwarts Houses, MSN Entertainment announces the opening of the Harry Potter studio tour in London, and–thanks, David Craig, for this link–did you know you can get your very own Hobbit Hole playhouse, reading nook, shed, doghouse, or other small outbuilding?

I owe thanks to Revgeorge for most of the links not otherwise credited. Thanks, George!

11 thoughts on “Around the Common Room 3/31/12

  1. Fun links, Jenna. Great way to wile away some hours on a rainy Saturday. Though I admit, I did follow those book list links to make sure Divergent was on there, which I loved and have been recommending to everyone. I had also seen the David Craig Hobbit house article somewhere before as well, and found it completely fascinating.

    The one I was most interested in was the making of Mockingjay. I have enough trouble processing the current film, and I can’t imagine what the last one would be like, especially if divided into two? That’s a lot of added content in my opinion, and content I think we could all do without seeing (just for the violence factor, trying not to let my personal feeling about the third installment shine through too much). I just find it incredibly unfair that earlier books, whether in HP, Twilight, LOTR, what have you, don’t get the two-installment deal when those are the ones with the backstory (Though you could argue that The Hobbit is the backstory for LOTR and therefore should be the divided movie). I haven’t seen THG yet but knowing what they left out makes me irritated. They left out good source material that would further add to the franchise, and yet feel like they can drag on the kill-fest for two movies? So all that to say, I’ll follow those developments with interest.

  2. I am deeply disappointed that the list of 17 films to geek out to doesn’t include The Cabin In The Woods. I suppose they already had one Joss Whedon film on the list, but I personally am preparing for some major Cabin-inspired geekage (if that’s a word).

  3. What a great collection of links, Jenna! I read through almost every one, it also being a rainy Saturday afternoon here.

    I’m in complete agreement about the Mockingjay film. The imagination quails at what that gruesome downer would be like to watch–in two parts, yet– especially if they stay true to the book and its ending. Can you picture people crunching popcorn and Milk Duds to this? I saw another Slate article there on Katniss’ costumes: It’s hard to believe all those millions and costume personnel couldn’t produce anything as good as Cinna did.

    The article on Christian genre fiction, especially the part about speculative/SF/paranormal fiction, gave me brain cramp. I think desire for imaginative fiction has less to do Narnia and more to do with Christians either reading Harry and Twilight and wanting something similar, or not reading and wanting their own safe versions, sanitized for their protection with an overt “Christian” shrink wrap instead of beautiful metaphor.

    The article and discussion were thoughtful and I liked this:

    Young adult genre reading audiences like a good story — a tale that has a beginning, middle, and end, and doesn’t necessarily get lost in the thickets of language or craft. This may sound like a backhanded compliment, but it’s actually the opposite, and also why so many adults enjoy young adult fiction: because it gives readers a complete storytelling journey. There may also be good language and writing craft, but the emphasis is on the storytelling, which is not always the case with adult fiction.

    Yeah, give me a great storytelling journey any day. You don’t even need to make a movie out of it.

    As for the Tor recommendations, I read Shatter Me and found it the most ridiculous book I’d ever read, seriously squirm-worthy, and with seriously annoying prose. It makes Twilight look like documentary material. 😀

    I’ve not read any unpublished books, but it might be interesting to examine my own custom slush pile someday.

    Those fairy tale posters are incredible!

  4. I had a look at the book list and found it interesting that all those books are written by female authors. Is this just coincidence or is there a lack of interest in YA dystopian fiction on the side of male authors?

    The only one from the list I have read is “Divergent”, and I am in the minority of not liking it. It just didn’t do anything for me. “Shatter Me” sounds rather dreadful from the description alone.

    One that was brought to my attention while listening to a podcast was “The Declaration” by Gemma Malley. Has anybody here read it? It sounds rather interesting, set in a future where you can take a drug to live forever, but you have to sign a paper not to have any children before taking it. I have the sample on my Kindle and will look at it soon because it is currently on sale at

  5. Minerva, I can’t say that others won’t appreciate Shatter Me. But the negative reviews at Amazon express my opinion of it. It had an intriguing premise, but quickly became eye-rolling, and I found it so painful I mostly skipped through to the predictable ending.

    I can’t remember which link had this, Jenna, but a HG Barbie doll?? Words kind of fail. I suppose a collector’s item.

    George, that’s hilarious! I think if I were to incarcerate Voldy, I’d imprison him in the Love room at the Dept. of Mysteries.

  6. Arabella, someone should write a fanfic with Voldy locked up in the Love room – what a great idea! And yes, this would be much better than Azkaban (supposedly without Dementors because Harry wouldn’t have Dementors there).

  7. Oh my word, Rev so fantastic!! Still laughing.

    And Arabella I had the same reaction to the idea of a Katniss Barbie. I actually allowed my eyes to glaze over in hopes that I read a typo, but no, you just confirmed it for me. Keeping my fingers crossed that it’s a limited edition collectors item.

    I also loved that quote about good storytelling, and it makes me feel less guilty about my recent cross-over into YA. Most modern (or should I say, post-modern) novels have too much gray to make them good stories. That’s no to say that all good stories are simplistic back/white, good/evil tales, but ones where the author spends more time on layered meaning than on making me empathize with EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER.

  8. revgeorge, LOLOL. “Who does he think he is, Freddie Mercury?” It’s a good thing I didn’t have coffee in my mouth at the moment I read that, because it would’ve ended up on my computer screen.

    Minerva, I think a pretty hefty percentage of modern YA writers are female, although it startled me to realize that all the listed dystopian authors are (good catch! I missed that.) That would make an interesting study; I can’t offhand think of any reason why women would be more drawn to portrayal of a bleak and oppressive world than men, and indeed, many of the pioneer dystopians (if not necessarily the YA ones) were written by men.

    Arabella, I somehow missed the Katniss Barbie, but–There. Aren’t. Words.

    And I love the idea of a fanfic locking Voldy in the Love room. Somebody totally needs to write that!

  9. Oh, yes, the Freddie Mercury was completely beverage spew-worthy, one of the best gags in the piece. Maybe Harry and Co. should be singing “We are the champions, my friends. . . . “!

    Fanfic writers–go for it. Just hat tip me and remember me when the royalties start trickling in. 😀

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