Read an excerpt from Jennifer Weiner’s ‘Little Bigfoot, Big City’


Last fall, Jennifer Weiner published the first installment in her middle grade hit, The Littlest Bigfoot — and now, EW has your first look at book two.

In Little Bigfoot, Big Cityout Oct. 31, 12-year-old Alice Mayfair, who isn’t exactly human, and her best friend, tiny Bigfoot Millie Maximus, run off to New York City so Millie can audition for a TV show. Will she make it on The Next Stage and find stardom? And will Bigfoot researcher Jeremy Bigelow, whose work has caught the attention of a shady government organization, actually steal a chemical the Bigfoots have that the government desperately wants?

These questions and more will be answered upon the book’s October release — but in the meantime, EW has your exclusive first look at Little Bigfoot, Big City’s cover and a sneak peek inside, below:

Chapter 1: Alice

As much as she hated school, Alice Mayfair had always hated school vacations even more. At least when she was at one of the eight different schools she’d attended, there was always hope, a chance that some kid might like her or some teacher would befriend her; always a glimmer of a chance that her life could turn around.

Time with her parents offered no such hope. They didn’t like her. Worse, they were ashamed of her. And nothing Alice could do or say would change it.

Mark and Felicia Mayfair had arranged her life so that they saw as little of her as possible. When she wasn’t away at school, she was at camp. When she wasn’t at camp, she was spending a week with her beloved Granny in Cape Cod, the only place she’d ever felt happy. It was only for the handful of days she wasn’t in one of those three places that she was Mark and Felicia’s—she’d long ago learned not to call them Dad and Mom—responsibility.

Her mother was elegant and slender, always in a dress or a skirt and high heels, her hair sleek and shiny, her mouth painted red. Her father was handsome in his suits and shiny shoes, with a newspaper or an iPad tucked under his arm and a look on his face that let the world know he was important.

Then there was Alice, tall and broad, her hair a tangly mess, all stained clothes and clumsy hands and big feet. Alice, who resembled neither of her parents. Alice, who didn’t fit.

Now that she had learned the truth about herself—now that she knew she wasn’t human, and that her parents weren’t really her parents and that her home was not really her home—for the first time Alice didn’t feel ashamed, or like she wanted to make herself smaller. Alice felt free.

She’d left her boarding school, the Experimental Center for Love and Learning, on a chilly morning in December, to start her winter break. It was early afternoon when Lee, her parents’ driver, dropped her off at her apartment building on New York City’s Upper East Side. Alice waved at the doorman, took the elevator to the penthouse, and found her parents waiting for her at the door. She hugged her mother, flinging her strong arms around Felicia’s narrow shoulders, even as she felt Felicia’s body stiffen and saw the startled look on her face.

“Look at you!” said Mark, and instead of slumping or slouching or trying to rearrange the curls that had escaped from her braids, Alice stood up straight and met his eyes and smiled. And did her father flinch a little when she looked at him? Was Felicia looking a little sneaky and strange as she stroked Alice’s hair with a fragile hand?

It didn’t matter. They weren’t her parents. She didn’t belong with them, and that knowledge, a secret tucked up and hidden, like a butterscotch in her cheek, let her smile and say, “I thought I’d make us dinner.”

Her parents exchanged a surprised glance. “You can cook?” asked Mark.

“She took a cooking class at school,” Felicia said, letting Alice know that at least one of her so-called parents had glanced at the “narrative assessment” the Experimental Center for Love and Learning sent home instead of report cards.

“I’ll go grocery shopping,” Alice announced before her parents could object. “We’ll eat at seven.”

After a moment of startled silence, her parents agreed and handed over a credit card. Alice found her apron in the suitcase she’d packed, and she went to the apartment’s airy, immaculate, rarely used kitchen to get started on the meal she’d imagined. She planned on serving it at the small table in the kitchen instead of the enormous one in the dining room, where they typically ate on the rare occasions when all three of them dined together.

They tested your blood, and it isn’t human. That was what Jeremy Bigelow, the so-called Bigfoot Hunter who’d been hot on Millie’s trail, had told her that morning. At first Alice had been shocked and scared—was she a space alien, or some kind of mutation?—but, almost immediately, she realized what this could mean.

If she wasn’t human, she might be Yare—what humans called Bigfoots. She might be part of the same tribe as Millie, her best friend. Which would, of course, be wonderful. Maybe that was why being Yare was the only possibility she’d considered, the only thing she thought might be true. Once, during one of their early conversations right after Alice had learned the truth about her friend, she’d asked Millie whether, if Bigfoots were real, then other things might be real too.

“What other things?” Millie had asked.

Alice felt uncomfortable. She’d caught the way Millie’s voice had gotten a little louder when she’d used the words Bigfoots and things, as if Alice had implied, or meant to suggest, that the Yare were in a different, less-important category than humans.

“I don’t know . . . vampires? Hobbits? The Abominable Snowman?”

Millie had thought, then shaken her head. “I am not hearing of those ones,” she said. “Probably they are stories that the No-Furs tell their littlies, to keep them behaving. Like the Bad Red-Suit No-Fur, which is, of course, Santa Claus.”

Alice had smiled, remembering how Millie had told her the Yare legend of a No-Fur in a red suit who snuck down Yare chimneys and stole the toys of bad Yare boys and girls and gave them to the No-Furs, and how Alice had explained how the Yare had twisted the story of Santa.

“How about the Loch Ness Monster?” Alice asked.

“Oh, she is real,” Millie said immediately. “But very shy. Also, she does not like to be called ‘Monster.’”

Alice’s mouth had dropped open, and Millie had giggled, and Alice, knowing that Millie was teasing her, but not in a mean way, started laughing too.

Alice probably had real parents, Yare parents, out there somewhere who were looking for her and who would love her when they found her. Being Yare would explain all the ways she was different, bigger and taller than other girls her age, with big hands and big feet and a wild tangle of unruly hair that she called the Mane. She would find her parents, and she would find her people, and she would make sense, and, most of all, she wouldn’t be lonely anymore.

24 March 2017 | 3:00 pm

Isabella Biedenharn

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Queer Viking comic ‘Heathen’ heats up in issue 2


The new comic series Heathen is a Viking story that seems to take a page from Mad Max: Fury Road. Instead of focusing on the hyper-masculine Norse myths (think Thor), the Vault Comics book follows a young woman of the northern wilds who must flee her home after committing the sin of kissing her female friend.

Written and drawn by Natasha Alterici, Heathen sees its protagonist, Aydis, escape her punishment, team up with a talking horse named Saga, and become an Imperator Furiosa-like heroine in her own right. Aydis sets out to rescue the beautiful Brynhild from her imprisonment in a ring of fire atop a high mountain. From there, she’s got her sights set on the god-king Odin himself — and his oppressive regime along with him.

Heathen has been burning up the sales charts, to the point that Vault is now offering a limited-edition variant of the first issue, featuring the shapeshifting god Ruadan on the cover. Only 100 copies of this special variant exist, and each is hand-numbered; the first 10 will be auctioned, after which the rest will be available for purchase on Vault’s online store. All profits from the auction will go to the charity Oklahomans For Equality and its efforts to support the recently vandalized Dennis R. Neill Equality Center in Tulsa.

“Growing up gay in a small town in Oklahoma, I can’t say I ever knew what ‘gay’ was until much later in life,” Alterici said in a statement. “I saw Ellen come out on her show, and I saw the adults around me debate the ethics of it. But it wasn’t until college that I realized I could have benefited from an open honest conversation. I could have learned to accept myself sooner if I had a community. The Dennis R. Neill Equality Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma is one of the only community centers in the state that aims to provide the acceptance and resources that LGBTQ people have a hard time finding in the region. Recently they were targeted in a drive-by shooting, and though no one was hurt, the message was clear. In spite of the attack, the workers and volunteers are bravely keeping the doors open and continuing their vital work in reaching out to those who need hope as well as to those who need educating.”

Heathen #2 is on sale this week. Check out a preview below, along with the cover for the limited variant for issue 1.

23 March 2017 | 9:07 pm

Christian Holub

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Emma Roberts explains why she started her new book club

Emma Roberts joined a growing list of well-read celebrities (including Emma Watson and Reese Witherspoon) earlier this week when she launched Belletrist, her new online book club. While Roberts isn’t necessarily pushing books with a feminist bent like Watson, or highlighting hits she’s snapped up the rights to like Witherspoon, she’s a passionate reader with excellent taste, and if Belletrist’s picks are anything like the books the actress posts on her personal Instagram, club members are in for a treat.

EW caught up with Roberts to talk about Belletrist’s launch, choosing Joan Didion’s South and West as the first book, and, of course, what she’s reading now.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I’m so excited to talk to you about books. We’ve been following your Instagram recommendations forever.
EMMA ROBERTS: I just got three new books. I just finished The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, which is an older book, but it’s a beautiful book about love and time travel, all set in New York City. It has some edge to it as well, and I absolutely loved that. And I just got The Rules Do Not Apply .

Oh my god, that one is gutting.
I literally just flipped to an open page in it and I read a paragraph, and I just wanted to eat it. It was so good. I just finished Land of Enchantment by Leigh Stein. It’s a memoir. It’s such a fast read — I read that on a plane. I would highly recommend that.

So how did your book club come about?
Basically, five years ago, my best friend Karah Preiss and I wanted to start a book club, but we weren’t really sure what we wanted it to be. It just kind of got put on the back burner. And then I started organically posting what I’m reading on Instagram, because that’s such a big part of my life, and it’s what I share with people. I was realizing it was starting so many conversations, and so many people were tagging me, and people were telling me about the books that they were writing, and their favorite books. And so many scripts I read are based on books, so it’s really a huge part of my life.

It’s just this labor of love from my best friend and me, and we took it to some people and we were like, “This is what we want to do,” and they were behind it.

RELATED: 20 Book-to-Movie Adaptations

How did you choose the first book?
They said, “What do you want your first book to be?” And we said, “It has to be South and West by Joan Didion.” And they were like, “Okay, but let’s maybe think of something where we can really get the author to participate.” And I said, “Well, why don’t we just reach out and see if she’ll do an interview?” And they were like, “Okay, but we don’t want you to get disappointed.”

So they reached out, and she agreed to give us an exclusive interview for our launch, which just completely made it all come together, because she’s really the reason that I love to read so much, and she has really had such an effect on my life creatively, and my personal life. To have her be the person we get to launch the book club with is so special, for so many reasons.

Today, I’m meeting up with Karah to pick out the book for next month. So it’s really just something that started out because of our passion for books that’s turned into a book club. When people join, they’ll get more information on what’s coming up, because there’s lots of exciting things to unroll. But yeah, we just wanted to create a place where people can talk about books, and share their thoughts, and be creative. And there’s going to be lots of ways for them to participate in the book club and interact.

We’re so excited to announce that the first #belletristbook is…South and West by the master herself, Joan Didion! 😱 You can sign up and learn more about our first book at belletrist.com, read an exclusive interview between Joan and Emma, and more! 👉 Link in bio 🎉 #currentlyreading 📸: @victoriafication

A post shared by Belletrist (@belletrist) on Mar 23, 2017 at 6:50am PDT

Will the discussions take place on Instagram, or on the Belletrist website?
Both. The Instagram is linked to the site, so you can check in on both. We’ll be sending out a newsletter, doing a lot of cool collaborations coming up with people… I just really wanted another creative outlet other than just acting, and a way to interact with people in a different way, and way to support people who are up-and-coming. We really want to highlight lots of new writers and new artists on our Instagram, so you’ll see a lot of that.

What’s your criteria for the books you’ll choose?
There really is no criteria. We’re basically just basing them off things that excite us, and we just launched our Instagram, so we’re going to see what our fellow readers are interested in. We just want to feature people that excite us, basically. There is no criteria because there shouldn’t be any rules. It’s really whatever jumps out to us and whoever wants to participate with us and read with us.

23 March 2017 | 7:52 pm

Isabella Biedenharn

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Emma Roberts announces new book club

Following in the footsteps of fellow starlet and avid reader (and fellow Emma), Emma Watson, Emma Roberts is launching her own book club. The actress made the announcement about Belletrist on Instagram Wednesday morning.

Monthly selections will curated by Roberts alongside Karah Preiss. The Belletrist Instagram is currently home to photos about all things reading, complete with recommendations of the pair’s favorite bookstores, including Paris’ legendary Shakespeare and Co. The first pick for Belletrist members will be announced Thursday.

Will the books all be feminist-minded like Watson’s club, or will there be a different theme? Stay tuned.

While we’re kept in suspense, take a look at some of Roberts’ memorable literary posts below.

22 March 2017 | 8:36 pm

Jami Ganz

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Read an excerpt from Sarah Dunn’s ‘The Arrangement’

In The Big Love author Sarah Dunn’s latest novel, The Arrangement, Lucy and Owen have a pretty happy marriage. They live in a picturesque community in upstate New York, where they’re raising their sweet (but challenging) young son. Still, something between them isn’t quite what it used to be. So when another couple comes by for dinner and the conversation turns to open marriages, Lucy and Owen decide it’s time for an experiment — they’ll give it a try for six months, following a strict set of agreed-upon guidelines. But will this “arrangement” really be the marriage cure-all they want?

Get a preview of Dunn’s hilarious, compulsively readable book in EW’s exclusive excerpt, below. The Arrangement is available now.

Excerpt from The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn

“You want the truth?” Lucy said, leaning against the avocado-colored kitchen cabinet. Lucy and Owen had planned on installing new cabinets since the day they set eyes on the house. Instead, they’d pretended for each other that they’d grown used to them.

“Yes,” Victoria said.

“I’ll only say if you will too.”

“I’ll say, I don’t mind,” said Victoria. She was dressing the salad while Lucy watched. “Fourteen.”

“That’s a good number,” said Lucy.

“I feel pretty happy with it,” said Victoria.

Lucy pointed both of her thumbs at herself and announced, “Twenty-seven.”

“Twenty-seven?” said Victoria. “Seriously?”

“I was a bit promiscuous. In college,” said Lucy. “And after college.”

“She whored it up, my wife did,” said Owen, who was kneeling in front of his wine fridge and studying the bottles.

“Don’t slut-shame me,” said Lucy.

“No slut-shaming!” agreed Victoria. “What about you, Owen? How many women did you sleep with before you met dear Lucy here.”

“I don’t know,” said Owen, getting to his feet with two bottles of Ridge Zinfandel.

“You don’t know?” said Victoria. “Nope,” said Owen. “No idea.”

“It was a lot,” said Lucy. “A lot a lot.” “Yeah,” said Victoria. “Thom too.”

“I think I’ll start the coals.”

“I’m not sure it’s safe for you to be around fire, honey.” “I’ll help him.”

“Great,” said Victoria. “Now they’ll both go up in flames.”

Everyone loved Owen’s marinade. There were lots and lots of compliments on the marinade as they sat on the deck and ate dinner with linen napkins and the Laguiole steak knives with rosewood handles Lucy’s cousin had given them as a wedding present. God, men and their marinades, thought Lucy. You’d think they’d figured out how to split the atom when all they did was put some Worcestershire and soy sauce into a Ziploc bag.

“I’m at the age when women start to go crazy,” said Victoria. “My girlfriends are all going nuts. If their husbands knew half of what was going on, their heads would never stop spinning.”

“Why?” Owen asked. “What’s going on?”

“I can’t tell you. This is a secret all of us are keeping from all of you.”

“Give us one example,” said Owen.

“Okay, I have a friend, who I will not name, who is married,”

said Victoria. “And she makes out with people.” “What do you mean?”

“Like at a bar, she’ll make out with someone,” said Victoria. “She does it at least once a week.”

“Who goes to bars?” asked Lucy. “Who has time for things like that?”

“She makes the time,” said Victoria. “Do I know her?”

“I can’t tell you.”

“That means I know her.” “You do.”

“Spill it.” “Perfect Jen.”

“Perfect Jen makes out with strangers at bars?”

“She does.”

“Who is Perfect Jen?” Owen asked.

“This annoying mother I used to know when Wyatt was little,” explained Lucy. “She made her own organic baby food and she ate it herself for dinner every night so she could stay super-skinny.”

“I shouldn’t have told you who it was, but I did it to make a very particular point,” Victoria said, “which is that this woman who we know and who appears to be happy and perfect and has two kids and seems normal — ”

“She’s not normal — ”

“She’s reasonably normal on the surface,” Victoria said. “This semi-normal woman is, in fact, like a grenade with the pin pulled out.”

“Do you think she’d make out with me?” asked Owen. “Probably! She probably would! She’s not picky.”

“I read somewhere that women tend to have affairs before their children are born, and men have them after,” Owen said. “Men are like, My work here is done.”

“Then it’s too late for us,” Lucy said to Victoria. “But not for us!” Thom said to Owen.

Owen opened another bottle of wine.

 

There was no coffee served that night. Nobody asked for it, and Lucy didn’t offer any. Caffeine seemed altogether beside the point. Instead, Owen brought out a bottle of locally made bourbon after the last bite of steak was eaten and the marinade was commented upon one final time, and even though the bourbon tasted like tree bark, everybody just kept on drinking.

“Suppose I found out that Thom cheated on me on a business trip,” Victoria said. “He had a one-night stand, met some- one at his hotel bar and slept with her. Everyone would understand if I kicked him out of the house or even filed for divorce, but if I told people I let him have sex with women on his business trips, that we had an arrangement, I’d be a social pariah.”

“How is it that as a culture we’ve decided that it’s completely rational to break up a nuclear family because one of the parents has sex with somebody else, even if it’s only one time, or a minor fling, or whatever,” Thom said, “but it’s shameful and perverted to make some temporary accommodations inside a marriage so all parties can get their needs met while doing their primary job, which is staying together and raising their kids as an intact family unit?”

“I’m not arguing with you,” said Owen.

“Marriage is about kids,” says Thom. “It’s about having kids and raising them together and not leaving them no matter what.” He gestured toward his wife. “Both of our parents got divorced while we were young and it was the single biggest force that shaped our lives.”

“Yeah, but I’m not sure marriage should be like dating,” said Lucy. “Where you’re always looking for someone to hook up with.”

“Not looking for it, necessarily. Just, not having to shut it down if it happens,” said Victoria. “Being able to feel like a sexual person walking through the world again.”

“I barely feel like a sexual person when I’m actually having sex,” Lucy said, and then she laughed at her own joke.

“It’s almost over for us, Lucy,” Victoria said. “I have a friend, she’s ten years older than I am, and she says it’s like one day, everything changes. It’s like someone flips a switch.”

“That’s really depressing,” said Lucy.

“The other day, I was dropping Flannery off at Life Drawing, and a kid in his class asked me if I was his grandmother.”

“No way.”

“It’s true,” said Victoria. “And let me tell you, you don’t bounce back from that one overnight. You stop thinking you’ve got all the time in the world pretty quick.”

 

“Are those crickets?” Thom asked. “They’re frogs,” said Lucy. “They’re really loud.”

“They croak until they find a mate for the night, and then they shut up,” explained Owen. “If you wake up in the middle of the night, there are four sad horny frogs still out there croaking.”

“I can’t believe you live someplace that has frogs,” said Victoria.

“We also have chickens,” said Lucy.

“I saw your chickens on Facebook,” Victoria said. “I refuse to

discuss them. You have gone full-on Green Acres on me and I’m not sure how much longer we can be friends.”

“I’ll send you home with some eggs,” said Lucy.

“I won’t take them. That would only encourage you.”

 

“I need something. And Thom needs something. We’re both tired of this persistent, I don’t know . . . low-grade dissatisfaction with life, I guess,” Victoria said. “Do you know how often we have sex?”

“Never,” said Thom as he served himself a narrow slice of the fruit tart Victoria had picked up at Pain Quotidien that morning.

“Not never never,” said Victoria. “But it might as well be never.”

“And the weird thing is, we’re both fine with it,” said Thom. “That’s the scariest part.”

“We can feel ourselves slipping into that kind of stale marriage where you are both fine not having sex, letting that part of you sort of wither up and die, and as we talked about it we realized we didn’t want that, but we didn’t want to split up either.”

“This is officially the strangest conversation that has ever taken place on our deck,” said Owen.

“I don’t get it,” said Lucy. “Do you still love each other?”

“Yes!” said Thom.

“Of course we do.”

“Then why are you even talking about this?”

“Let me try to explain,” said Victoria. She took a big, dramatic pause and then reached over and held on to Thom’s hand. “I want to grow old with this man. I love him, and he loves me. He’s my best friend and my favorite person in the world and the only person I want sleeping in my bed with me at night. I want to go on vacations together and have a life together and have Flannery come home with his kids at Christmas when we’re seventy. I just don’t, at the moment and, if I’m totally honest, for a while now, really, feel like having sex with him.”

“Maybe it’s your hormones,” Lucy said helpfully. “Maybe you need a patch or something.”

“Our therapist has ruled that out.”

“You’ve talked about this with a therapist?” said Lucy.

“He’s a bit unconventional, but he’s interested in finding ways to make long-term marriages work,” said Thom. “Marriages where you don’t have to disown a big part of yourself in order to stay in the relationship.”

“My father cheated on my mother for their entire marriage,” said Victoria. “It completely destroyed her. I don’t want that for myself. I don’t want to give up all my power.”

“This is the way nobody gets hurt. Not Victoria or me, not Flannery.”

“Has it started yet?” Lucy asked. “Do you guys both have other people on the side?”

“It hasn’t started yet,” Victoria said. “But we’re doing it.” “We are,” said Thom.

“Wow,” said Lucy. “Just, wow.”

Excerpted from THE ARRANGEMENT with permission of Little, Brown and Company, © 2017 Sarah Dunn

22 March 2017 | 5:30 pm

Isabella Biedenharn

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Chicago Cubs World Series win will soon be a movie


The Chicago Cubs’ historic World Series win last year is already being turned into a movie. Breaking a 108-year title drought for the team, the Cubs finally won the championship in a thrilling seven-game series after coming back from a 3-1 deficit against the Cleveland Indians. Game 7 was full of wild moments, including a home run from Cubs catcher David Ross, making him the oldest player to ever notch a homer in game 7 of the World Series. Ross has a memoir out this spring, Teammate: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages, and Radar Pictures is already developing it into a movie, EW has confirmed.

The book, co-written by Ross and sportswriter Don Yaeger, will cover highlights from Ross’ 15-year career in advance of an insider’s look at his final game and record-setting home run. The film, which will just be titled Teammate, is being written by Ram Getz and John Corcoran. Ross and Yaeger will serve as executive producers alongside Radar’s Lisette Bross.

“It was said all during the 2016 season that if you made a movie about the magical run with all its amazing subplots, no one would believe it,” Ross, currently one of the celebrity competitors on Dancing With the Stars, said in a statement. “Guess what? Believe it!”

RELATED: 25 Sports Movies That Score

The book Teammate hits stores May 9 from Hachette Books. Check out the cover below.

Variety first reported the news.

21 March 2017 | 9:48 pm

Christian Holub

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Gucci Mane will publish his autobiography in September


Gucci Mane accomplishes a lot in prison. The Atlanta rapper (real name: Radric Delantic Davis) has long been known for his tendency to pump out mixtapes even while locked behind bars. During his latest prison stay, however, Gucci apparently also got some different work done. On Instagram Monday, Gucci announced that he has written an autobiography, fittingly titled The Autobiography of Gucci Mane, which is available for pre-order now. He started writing it while in prison.

“Are y’all ready for my book? Trapper turned author,” Gucci wrote on Instagram.

The Autobiography of Gucci Mane was co-written by Neil Martinez-Belkin, and will be published by Simon & Schuster. According to the publisher’s website, “Gucci Mane began writing his memoir in a maximum-security federal prison. Released in 2016, he emerged radically transformed. He was sober, smiling, focused, and positive — a far cry from the Gucci Mane of years past.”

The Autobiography of Gucci Mane is on sale Sep. 19.

21 March 2017 | 3:36 pm

Christian Holub

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Black Eyed Peas announce original graphic novel


The Black Eyed Peas are working on a new project, but it won’t be like anything fans have seen from them before.

It was announced Friday that the group has been working on an original graphic novel, titled Masters of the Sun — The Zombie Chronicles, which sees an alien God attack Los Angeles and turn residents into zombies. This turn of events sees hip-hop fan Zulu-X and his crew take on an ancient order — and attempt to settle an old score.

“The Black Eyed Peas and I have begun a new journey,” said will.i.am, who will be writing the retro-futuristic zombie thriller. “We’ve been working on this original story for years and partnering with Marvel to bring this book to life is more than a dream come true.”

Damion Scott  (All-New Ghost Rider) will serve as the artist, with Marvel Comics distributing the property.

“Few artists have done more to embed hip-hop in popular culture than will.i.am and the Black Eyed Peas,” said Marvel Editor in Chief, Axel Alonso. “So we are thrilled to present this deeply personal story that speaks directly to hip hop aficionados, comic book fans and the intersection of those communities.”

Masters of the Sun — The Zombie Chronicles is available for purchase this July. See the cover below.

17 March 2017 | 3:21 pm

Nivea Serrao

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Ben Blatt’s new book reveals surprising literary secrets


As seen on fivethirtyeight.com, there are loads of interesting tidbits hiding everywhere when we look at the numbers. Remember The Bible CodeLong texts, data sets and statistics hide surprising bits of information. Ben Blatt’s latest book, Nabokov’s Favorite Word is Mauve, takes an analytic and statistical look at literature, and finds some surprising correlations and unexpected anomalies in classic works ranging from James Joyce and Jane Austen to Chuck Palahniuk and E.L. James.

Below, a brief roundup of some of the most interesting finds.

Really, Truly, Copiously Full of Adverbs

Out of a selection of 15 popular writers, J.K. Rowling came in second for authors who use the most -ly adverbs (per 10,000 words) in their novels, at 140 adverbs. But the writer to take first place was E L James, writer of the Grey novels, at 155 -ly adverbs at the same rate.

!!!

The top 10 books with the most exclamation points contain three (count ’em!) books by Charles Dickens, and taking second place, at 2,102 !s, is the (previously thought to be morose) writer James Joyce for Finnegan’s Wake. But the top spot belongs to Salman Rushdie for Midnight’s Children, at a whopping 2,131 exclamation points.

Conversely, all top 10 books with the fewest exclamation points are by just two authors — Elmore Leonard and Ernest Hemingway.

That’s so cliché

In an exhaustive look at some of our most celebrated writers’ works, Blatt tabulated the use of certain cliché phrases that kept popping up. It turns out, certain writers are such fans of particular phrases, they use them in more than half their books. A brief roundup:

Stephenie Meyer “sigh of relief”
Ray Bradbury “at long last”
Tom Clancy “by a whisker”
William Faulkner  “sooner or later”

Suddenly

The writer to use “suddenly” the most (per 100,000 words) is J.R.R. Tolkien, who unfurled it at a rate of 78. The writer to use it the least? Chuck Palahniuk, who uses it at a rate of only 2 words per 100,000. (In fact, Palahniuk also fell on the very low end of the spectrum of usage for exclamation points, as well as -ly adverbs.)

20 March 2017 | 6:35 pm

Dan Heching

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Robert Caro to record audio-only project for Audible


Fans of Robert Caro will want to listen up as the Pulitzer Prize winner’s next project will be available solely in audio.

Titled On Power, it will see the two-time National Book Award-winning historian (and former journalist) delve into the lives of President Lyndon Johnson and New York City urban planner Robert Moses as Caro reflects on what drew him to study political power and how it works.

Caro will be narrating the project — an exclusive to Audible — which will mark the first (and only) time he’s doing so. Adapted from two of his recent speeches, the author’s reflections will take on a much more casual and personal tone than any of his books.

“Why political power? Because it shapes all of our lives… in ways that you might never think about,” said Caro in a statement. “Every time a young man goes to college on a federal education bill passed by Lyndon Johnson, that’s political power. And so is a young man dying in Vietnam. Every time an elderly person is able to afford an MRI, that’s Medicare. That’s political power. It affects your life in all sorts of ways.”

Caro continued: “My books are an attempt to explain this power… Because the more America understands about political power, the better informed our votes will be, and then, hopefully, the better our democracy should be.”

On Power will be available for purchase on May 9 through Audible. Preorder it here.

20 March 2017 | 4:30 pm

Nivea Serrao

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