Entertainment Books

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    When I first saw the image that is being used for the new edition of Roald Dahl's classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I thought it was something more along the lines of a primer on how to prep for Toddler and Tiaras or a reprint of Lolita. But nope.

    The new version -- in celebration of the book's 50th anniversary -- is an odd, disturbing, and very creepy reboot of the uber-popular novel.

    We're talking the stuff of nightmares here.

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    Did Hermione wind up with the wrong guy? Potter series author J.K. Rowling thinks so. In an interview with Emma Watson in Wonderland magazine -- and quoted in this weekend's London Sunday Times -- she says Hermione should have married Harry Potter, not Ron. Meanwhile, millions of Harry Potter fans spit out their tea. WOT!?! Rowling admits she let the relationship flower for personal reasons, but thinks now it was a literary mistake. Oh if only she could cast a magical spell that could turn back time!

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    I guess you've heard the news about the Fifty Shades of Grey movie casting, right? Oh geez, don't yell at me! I know -- we're all disappointed. I don't mean to rub it in. I just bring it up because where the rest of us saw some baffling decision making, one woman saw a golden opportunity. This weekend, Farrah Abraham read those headlines and wondered, Now how do I make this about me? Dingdingdingdingding! (Yes, that bell actually goes off in her head.) I know! Farrah thought to herself. I'll bring up that epic romance novel I'm supposedly writing and compare it again with Fifty Shades! And that's how we got our golden Farrah quote of the week: "Fifty Shades of Grey is gonna have their money."

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    Elmore Leonard, the amazing crime novelist who wrote Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and the short story 3:10 to Yuma, passed away on Tuesday from complications from a stroke. Leonard, known to his friends as Dutch, died at his home in Bloomfield Village, Michigan. He was 87 years old.

    If you're not familiar with Leonard's books, you probably know his film and television adaptations. Quentin Tarantino's 1997 film Jackie Brown was based on Leonard's book Rum Punch, and the FX series Justified is based on his short story Fire in the Hole.

    Across his more than 40 novels, Leonard's writing features sparse, crackling dialogue, and a bevy of gritty antiheroes and whip-smart double-crosses. He was once described as "incapable of writing an uninteresting sentence," and I couldn't agree more. His characters are laser-cut, blackly humorous, and above all: cool.  

    In honor of Mr. Leonard's work over the years, here are 10 quotes from his books to give you an idea of his style:

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    Let's face it, ladies, Christian Grey of Fifty Shades of Grey has made millions of us rethink our marriages (myself included). But do billionaires who barely work, have erotic sex, lavish you with expensive goodies, and make sure you're never cold, hungry, or un-swathed in designer duds really exist? If they did, would we want them?

    I gave this one some serious thought (frankly, I spent WAY more time thinking about Christian and our possible future together than I should have). I came up with a parody on what it would REALLY be like to be married to Christian Grey -- you know, a couple kids and a decade or so down the road. These eCards are based on that piece, because let's face it, everything is more enjoyable on an eCard.

     

    Image via JenEcards/The Suburban Jungle

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    I tend to see the same comments on every article about E.L. James' erotic trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey: Ugh, these are the worst books EVER! Her writing is SO TERRIBLE! I wouldn't read this series if you tied me down, stuffed a ball gag in my mouth, and repeatedly struck my naked buttocks with a LEATHER WHIP!

    I don't disagree that James' writing can be a little ... problematic at times. ("Laters baby," inner goddess, "fair point well made," etc.) The Fifty Shades trilogy isn't the best series I've ever read in my entire life, but hey -- I'm just one of of the millions upon millions of readers who have bought all three books. Isn't that proof enough that James is a huge success, whatever you think of her style?

    Or consider this: James began writing just four years ago, and today Forbes announced that she's the highest earning author in the WORLD. We can go ahead and criticize her overused phrases all we want, but James is probably laughing all the way to the bank.

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    I recently re-read Helen Fielding's 1996 bestseller, Bridget Jones’ Diary, and something jumped out at me that I didn't even notice the first time I read it, maybe because back in 1996, I was 22 years old and still had an actual metabolism. You remember all that bitching Bridget does about her weight? Well, she tops out at like 130 pounds. I KNOW, RIGHT?

    Well, perhaps I will more closely identify with Fielding's new book, which will focus on an older, if not necessarily wiser, Bridget. Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy is set to be published on October 10, 2013, and while in many respects it sounds like we'll be reunited with the same bumbling Brit we came to love back in the day, the updated approach to Bridget's life definitely has me looking forward to reading it.

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    I sort of thought the next big news to come out about Michael Jackson would be the announcement of his hologram tour, but it turns out there are some fairly juicy revelations in Rolling Stone contributor Randall Sullivan's new biography on the King of Pop. Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson includes a number of fascinating tidbits about Michael Jackson, including the jaw-dropping statement that Jackson died a 50-year-old virgin.

    While Untouchable is being criticized as "bloated," "overlong," and full of "the sorts of observations made countless times before," the assertion that he was virtually incapable of molesting children is certainly an interesting one. Even though there is, of course, no way to prove whether Sullivan's claims are correct.

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    If you've been growing weary of all topics related to Fifty Shades of Grey, I have some news that might cause your inner goddess to retire to her fainting couch: a book deal recently went down that indicates this particular literary phenomenon isn't going away any time soon. And by "literary phenomenon," I mean "stories that started out as Twilight fanfiction before becoming traditionally-published, mainstream pornography sold in plastic wrapping at Walmart."

    Fifty Shades has spawned all sorts of similarly-themed erotic novels, but now there's a book attempting to follow in E.L. James' exact footsteps. Beautiful Bastard is scheduled for publication on February 12, 2013 -- and it's a reworked version of The Office, Twilight fanfic written by Christina Hobbs. She's since teamed with author Lauren Billings to publish the revised story under the pen name Christina Lauren.

    So, what can you expect from this book

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    Well, well, well -- it looks like he definitely has an interest in all things kinky, because Robert Pattinson admits he read Fifty Shades of Grey (or at least what turned into Fifty Shades of Grey) quite some time ago. (Ooh-la-la!)

    On MTV's The Yes/No Show, Rob wasn't shy about going ahead and putting it out there that he's just as interested in the erotic fiction craze that's sweeping the nation as the rest of us.

    He simply said, "Yeah, I read a little bit of the Fifty Shades of Grey one before it was Fifty Shades of Grey." Yes, he's referring to Masters of the Universe -- the series of erotic fan fiction inspired by Twilight that E.L. James published online between 2009 and 2011.

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