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pop culture

Ripped from the Headlines: New Releases that Blend Politics, Pop Culture, and Current Events

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Headline news changes as fast as it can, with each new viral video, political scandal or celebrity moment that’s caught on tape. But there are some headlines that stay with you, and over the past year we’ve definitely had a few we won’t be forgetting any time soon: from the beginnings of the Russia investigation, to The New Yorker‘s expose on Harvey Weinstein. While no one can predict the pace at which headline, breaking news is no longer worthy of being a headline, some events line up too perfectly for us not to comment on. Here we have a list of books on topics that have been dominating the news lately, whether they’re pop-culture, politics, or current events. War on Peace: The End…

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The Magnificant Seven: Pop Culture’s Strongest Women

in Thrillers by
wonder woman strong females

The success of Wonder Woman has set off a feeding frenzy of sorts in New York and Hollywood for strongest women heroes. Well, way back in 2008 I conceived Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong, hero of soon-to-be nine thrillers with the publication of Strong to the Bone this December, as a female action hero adept at handling a role almost invariably given to men. Kind of like a female Jack Reacher, Lee Child’s wondrously iconic series stalwart. With all respect to Wonder Woman, though, strong women are actually nothing new. Caitlin, in fact, comes from a pop culture tradition of similarly able females, either with their fists, their guns, their wits, and often all three. Let’s look at a few other…

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Books for TV Addicts: Fans of The Blacklist need a summer fix

in Fiction by

It never fails. Every time I start to like a show, it gets canceled. Dear The Blacklist, please don’t break my heart. In the past year, I had to watch the disappearance of three great shows I really enjoyed: Forever, Manhattan Love Story, and State of Affairs. Sadly, Downton Abbey will end after Season 6 and we’re still waiting on the next season of Sherlock. I still have Castle, which is great, but dating back to the days of Keen Eddie (another show I liked, which got canned in favor of Temptation Island, I believe), my shows tend to disappear. Thankfully, though, one of my new favorites is coming back. NBC’s The Blacklist will return for a third season and I can’t wait to see where Raymond “Red” Reddington, one…

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The Haunting of Sunshine Girl–a metaphor for a media-savvy world

in Fiction by

As both a reviewer and an author, sometimes I wonder: are books ever just books anymore? There’s a huge trend lately to create multimedia works, turning novels interactive, or creating books out of blogs. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining. As a lover of all things pop culture, I’ll take my stories served to me any way I can get them. Which is why I was so intrigued when I discovered Paige McKenzie’s The Haunting of Sunshine Girl (Weinstein Books, 2015). Even just as a book it sounds intriguing: the tight bond between sixteen-year-old Sunshine and her mother, Kat, is tested when they move across the country and into a house that Sunshine is sure is haunted. Kat doesn’t…

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The art of the tattoo: memories that run skin-deep

in Non-Fiction by

When I got my first tattoo, I remember sitting in a shop in the East Village, trying not to shake as the artist traced the pattern on my skin. It was the third time I made her reposition the swallows on my foot, and while I was afraid of being that person, I knew perfect placement was more important than being liked. The buzz of the machine started and the needle hit my skin. It hurt. The only way to describe it is to imagine being stung by electrified bees over and over in the same spot. It should have turned me off to the experience forever, but as anyone with a tattoo knows, once the seal is broken all…

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From online to on the shelf: Vloggers turned authors

in Fiction by

This week, a novel called Girl Online gained national attention when it was named the fastest selling debut ever—selling 78,000 units in its first week. It’s a pretty incredible feat when you realize the author, Zoe Sugg, got her start by vlogging personal videos and beauty tutorials on her YouTube channel, Zoella. The novel tells the story of Penny, a blogger (write what you know!) who falls in love with an American musician. And while Sugg is currently facing backlash after admitting to using a ghostwriter, the numbers don’t lie—her book sales and YouTube views are through the roof.   But Sugg is just one of many video bloggers who are transitioning from YouTube to publishing. Here are three more…

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10 Pop culture things to be thankful for this year

in Fiction by

Thanksgiving is this week and most of us will spend the next few days stuffing our faces, watching football, and trying to avoid that weird great aunt who’s always asking about your love life. But this is also the holiday where we have a chance to look back over the past year and reflect on what we’re thankful for. Sure, that list includes family and friends and all that, but what about those pop culture moments that we still can’t stop obsessing over? From marriages to movies, here are 10 pop culture things to be thankful for this year: 1. Jamie’s Abs Some of us have been waiting years, and I mean years, for Outlander to make it to the…

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Heroes on a half-shell: How Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became a pop-culture powerhouse

in Fiction by

It’s been a banner season for sci-fi movie lovers. We’ve cheered with delight as everything from a spider-powered superhero to a giant Japanese monster to an army of intelligent apes to, most recently, a feisty rifle-slinging raccoon have all made their marks in theaters around the world. As the last of summer’s big-budget popcorn-fests are wheeled out, Hollywood is turning to yet another longtime fan-favorite franchise in an attempt to draw audiences. And these heroes may not only be the strangest of them all, but the story of their rise to prominence in worldwide pop culture may be more fascinating than any adventure they’ve had in the comics or on the screen. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, whose latest film…

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The Hunger Games sparks a rebellion on Black Friday

in Potpourri by

Black Friday is fast approaching. While the ambitious and sale-savvy among us hit malls mid-November, some of us will be focused instead on literature and film. And by that I mean we will be in line to see the latest Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, out in theaters November 22nd and already breaking box office records for a November release. The film is based on Suzanne Collins’s second installment, published in 2009 by Scholastic, in her Hunger Games trilogy. With these books, Collins writes fast-paced, page-turning action that propels readers through her version of the classic hero’s journey. Heroine Katniss Everdeen narrates her story and readers are pulled into her gritty, adrenalin-filled fight for survival. There are many readers who…

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