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  • There are hundreds of podcasts out in the ether these days, with a range of audio quality from one guy in a basement with a computer microphone to company-sponsored full-cast performances. Finding programs to listen to while you’re in the car, going for a jog, or just hanging out at home is largely about trial and error, starting with a topic that interests you and downloading the usually free shows until you find the voices that suit your tastes.

    One of the great things about the growth of podcasts as a means of expression is that modern technology can connect people from across the country for a chat, and the content is one hundred percent up to the creators.

    Here we’ve compiled a list of some great podcasts that tackle books, authors, publishing, and everything in between.

  • I never thought so much would happen to that quirky little novel I was working on a few years back.

    I mean Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, of course.

    I had high hopes for my first novel, which maxxed out at more than a few thousand people buying it, not racking up too many scathing reviews, and being afforded the opportunity to write another one. But a funny thing happened on the way to the remainders bin, and the superlatives Miss Peregrine has racked up since it was published just over a year ago seem so absurdly overblown when compared to my modest expectations that I'm almost embarrassed to list them. (Almost.)

    The book debuted on the bestseller list, hit number one a few times, and has yet to be dislodged, 53 weeks and counting later. 20th Century Fox optioned the film rights and Tim Burton -- Tim effing Burton -- said he wants to direct it. I didn't get so many scathing reviews after all, and even several nice ones, in papers that aren't published in my hometown, which my relatives still clip out and mail to me when they appear. I've toured the country doing readings.

    Best, most astoundingly of all, are the emails and letters I get from readers. I'm knee-deep in writing the sequel to the book right now, and it seems like whenever I have a tough day of it (they happen now and then) I get a sweet, encouraging email from someone I've never met, saying how much they liked the book and that they can't wait for the next one, and all my enthusiasm comes rushing back.

    So thanks, everyone, for helping to make this one of the most unexpected and amazing years of my life. You've made me a happy mutant.

    Now -- back to the keyboard! Whip noise!

  • Amidst the summer's comic book and sci-fi blockbuster movies, Pixar has nestled what is sure to be a gem: Brave, the animated tale of an impetuous girl growing up in the Scottish Highlands during the 10th century.

    The film has been described as a fairy tale in the tradition of Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm. That's vaunted company to keep, but we wondered, what are Brave's Scottish literary forebears.

    To that end, here are 6 pieces of Scottish literature that we recommend to supplement your mid-summer viewing of Brave.

  • Tobey Maguire and Michael Douglas in Wonder Boys

    Hipster bookworms crawl out of the woodwork when an adaptation makes its way to the silver screen. “Oh, you’re seeing “The Hunger Games” this weekend? I read those books before anyone knew about them.”

    Here are some book-to-movie adaptations that are “really obscure.” I mean, you’ve probably never heard of them.

    The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (2008): Based on the Michael Chabon novel of the same name, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh explores the complexities looming in the mind of just-out-of-college Art Bechstein. In order to make the novel more cinematic, writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber merged best friend Cleveland Arning with the novel’s homosexual love interest Arthur Lecomte. Cleveland’s girlfriend Jane was given a much larger role in the adaptation, turning what was in the novel a periphery character into a central one.

    The choice to “simplify” Art’s experience by creating a love triangle rather than letting the characters live in this complex experience where not everyone knows everyone else would be enough to turn a Chabon purists away. But the pure fact that there is a commercial version of this coming-of-age novel gives those same Chabon purists hope.

    Wonder Boys (2000): Another movie based on a Michael Chabon novel, The Wonder Boys was a box office flop. So much so, that after the initial February release director Curtis Hanson and producer Scott Rudin lobbied to have the movie re-released in November 2000. The ad campaign was redesigned to emphasize the ensemble feel of the film -- a sharp contrast to the original poster, which featured a sole headshot of Michael Douglas accompanied with the tagline “Undependable. Unpredictable. Unforgettable.”

    While the poster and trailer were arguably more accurate the second time around -- capturing the essence of this potential one-book wonder author as he navigates relationships with his colleagues, lovers, and students -- the re-release was also a financial disappointment. This adaptation, however, left all the major players in tact, trusting its audience to find the beauty in complexities.

  • BOOK Lovecraft Middle School: Professor Gargoyle

    Why is the science teacher acting so strangely? And where are all the rats coming from? As Robert explores with his new friends Glenn and Carina, he discovers that the school may be a portal to another world.

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