Hayden's Ferry Review


Website of the Week: Bookninja

I read recently that they're remaking/re-imagining The Karate Kid, setting the movie in Beijing with Jaden Smith (Will Smith's talented 11-year-old son) playing the title character and featuring Jackie Chan as the Chinese version of Mr. Miyagi.  To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about this; I was never a hardcore fan of the original (I'm a little young for that), but I still thought it was pretty good, if a bit corny.  And yet this casting pairing intrigues me.  I am perturbed about the title, though; the Will Smith-produced film started out as The Karate Kid, got changed to The Kung-Fu Kid to reflect the correct form of martial arts, and is now back to the original title, which I don't understand.  Jackie Chan does not know karate, so why call the movie that?

Anyway, my point is that this karate/kung-fu debate brings me to this week's Website of the Week, appropriately entitled Bookninja.

Bookninja, according to founding ninja George Murray, is the "premier Canadian literary site," and with all the neat things I found browsing the site I can see why.  One of the reasons I like this site so much is because the newslog Hearsay, which serves as the site's front page, is written with acerbic wit so biting sometimes you can feel the teeth marks - now that's my kind of newsreel.

Bookninja also produces a seasonal magazine; some of the content, including discussions, audio podcasts, interviews, essays, and reviews, can be found in the Magazine section.  The discussions feature four big names in the Canadian literary world answering questions about a topic.  The latest one, On Sex in Fiction, piqued my interest; I wanted to see how the writers responded to "What hazards have you faced?" "Fear," Nalo Hopkins responds, and then goes on to elaborate on all of her fears when writing about sex. "The fear is a hazard that happens in my head," she says. "It's there before I even put fingers to keyboard."

Bookninja's not just all about print, either; founding ninja Murray also draws the Litterati comics.  Or drew, I should say - the comics are "currently on creative hiatus," but the archives are still up.  Murray uses a simplistic style which I found intriguing; for instance, he only draws the heads and hands of people, and most people are bald.  I especially liked one entitled "Oprah," which features an answering machine with the following caption: Beep! Hey, Honey! I finally got onto Oprah!! Not in the way we'd always hoped, but beggars can't be choosers! I only get one call, so I need you to listen carefully...

Now, go check Bookninja out before I karate-chop you.  Oh, and if you've any thoughts on that whole karate/kung-fu thing, let me know, because it's kinda making my head hurt.
CortneyWebsite of the Week