We've finally got a trailer for Sam Raimi's "Oz the Great and Powerful," and kudos to the filmmakers for showing a bit more creative restraint (or appearing to anyway) than they did with Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland." This movie actually seems to take place in a world that would be recognizable to someone who'd read L. Frank Baum's novels or feels deep nostalgia for the 1939 Judy Garland film.
The New Statesman has offered up an interesting defense of Fifty Shades of Grey, suggesting that criticism of the book might be directly linked to our culture's discomfort with women's sexuality -- especially older women, whose desires are typically regarded as irrelevant or even nonexistent. Meanwhile, the book's success has spawned (NSFW) shopping guides and workshops to help readers act out their freshly-stirred fantasies in the flesh, guaranteeing that the Fifty Shades phenomenon isn't going to fade anytime soon, no matter what anyone thinks of the quality of E. L. James' prose.
This just in: July is the new October! That is, if you're into horror leaping off the page and into real life. The New York Times has rounded up a list of events that attempt to thwart the summer heat by chilling you to the bone, including theatrical productions inspired by H.G. Wells and H.P. Lovecraft.
Still in a snit after the 2012 Pulitzer committee failed to name a prize-winning fiction title? Author Michael Cunningham (The Hours) has written a blow-by-blow account of the judging process (he sat on the jury) that underscores the delicate thought process behind every aspect of the deliberation. Their short list of would-be candidates, from David Foster Wallace to Toni Morrison, may have just become my own fall reading list.