- Two bits of news in book-to-film adaptations this past week:
- Actor Ewan McGregor is set to direct a film adaptation of Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel American Pastoral.
- Richard Linklater, the director of the critically acclaimed film Boyhood, is in talks to direct a film adaptation of Maria Semple’s 2012 bestselling novel Where’d You Go Bernadette.
- Nearly one hundred Canadian independent bookstores have signed up for the inaugural Canadian Authors for Indies Day, which is set to take place on May 2nd. Founder, and author, Janie Chang spoke about the initiative with Publishers Weekly.
- In a controversial industry shift, an increasing number of publishing executives at large houses such as HarperCollins and Little, Brown are bypassing literary agents altogether and inviting open submissions of manuscripts.
- In big book award news this week:
- The U.S. Jewish Book Council announced Canadian author Ayelet Tsabari as the recipient of the 2015 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature (Fiction) for her collection The Best Place on Earth: Stories. Established in 2007, the $100,000 U.S. award alternates annually between emerging fiction and non-fiction authors, and aims to recognize works that “explore the Jewish experience” and show the potential to make an impact on Jewish literature. Fellow Canadian Kenneth Bonert was awarded $25,000 U.S. as the runner-up for his novel The Lion Seeker.
- Nine writers from four different countries have been awarded the 2015 Windham Campbell Prizes for fiction, nonfiction, and drama. The winners will each receive $150,000 to support their work. For more information about the prize and a complete list of winners, visit the Grants & Awards blog.
- The New Yorker has republished a 1962 essay by Alice Munro. Originally appearing Canadian magazine The Montrealler, Munro describes “the first real book” she ever read: Charles Dickens’s A Child’s History of England, whose tales of melodrama and morbidity provided, Munro writes, “the first glimpse I ever had of history, before I knew what history was… I had a private vision of what I was reading about—unexpected, incommunicable, painfully exciting.”
- Starting to write a book is hard. Then there’s the whole middle part—also difficult. And finally there’s the end, which is no cakewalk, either. Can we learn anything from the last sentences in famous novels? Jonathan Russell Clark explores the idea at The Millions: “For writers, the last sentences aren’t about reader responsibility at all—it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to stop worrying about what comes next, because nothing does. No more keeping the reader interested, no more wariness over giving the game away. This is the game.”
This week’s book news has me curious about a few things, so I would love to hear from you:
- What is your favourite independent bookshop? Do you make a point of shopping at independent bookstores?
- What is the first ‘real’ book you remember reading?
- And, as always, I would love to know what you’ve been reading this week? Anything excellent, that you would recommend?
Visit your local independent bookseller today!
- Kobo has launched the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, to celebrate Canadian debut authors. The annual award offers three categories of competition: Literary Fiction, Genre Fiction (beginning with Mystery, with a different genre showcased each year), and Non-Fiction. Prizewinners will each receive $10,000, and promotional, marketing, and communications support, as well as access to Kobo experts for publishing advice. Three outstanding judges (who will also provide mentorship to the three winners) will help launch the inaugural awards: Miriam Toews will serve as the judge of the literary fiction category, Charlotte Gray will judge non-fiction, and Ian Hamilton will judge genre fiction.
- Jennifer Lopez’s (apparently) terrible new movie The Boy Next Door has inspired a misguided quest for first editions of the Iliad. “Lopez plays a divorced English literature high school teacher who has a one-night stand with her younger neighbour played by Ryan Guzman. In one scene, Guzman’s character gives Lopez a copy of The Iliad, which is described as a ‘first edition’ and apparently found for ‘a buck at a garage sale.’ ” Problems: no one knows for certain when the Iliad was even written. It was passed down by oral tradition first. It’s at least three thousand years old. It wasn’t composed in English for first publication in a handsome hardcover.
- The 2015 #TwitterFiction Festival will take place May 11-15. The festival is presented by the Association of American Publishers and Penguin Random House, and is about “embracing, exploring, and developing the art of storytelling on Twitter.” This year, featured participating authors include Margaret Atwood, Celeste Ng, Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket), and Eric Jerome Dickey, among others.
- The Economist featured a piece on the new era of “authorpreneurship,” in which no one can simply write: “Authors are becoming more like pop stars, who used to make most of their money selling albums but who now use their recordings as promotional tools, earning a living mainly from concerts. The trouble with many budding writers is that they are not cut out for this new world. They are often introverts, preferring solitude to salesmanship.”
So, there are some of the bigger stories that made news in the book world this week. I hope your week has been a good one, and that you have had some time to read. If you are reading something great, I would love to know about it, so please leave a comment. (I could truly chat about books forever. Heh!)
Baldo, by Hector D. Cantu and Carlos Castellanos
Welcome to Friday the 13th! I hope your week has been a good one, and that this weekend will offer a chance for some excellent reading time.
Here’s the bookish news happenings of the past week:
- Author Stephen Marche, who has read Shakespeare’s Hamlet and P. G. Wodehouse’s novel The Inimitable Jeeves one hundred times each, describes the experience and virtues of what he calls “centrireading” at the Guardian.
- The recent news that Jon Stewart will step down as host of The Daily Show has certainly upset his viewers, but the announcement could also be bad news for the book industry. At the Washington Post, Ron Charles notes that “in an increasingly fractured market, The Daily Show has been a singular platform for authors to promote their books.”
- The eight finalists for the 2015 Folio Prize for fiction have been announced. Included, my favourite read of 2014: Miriam Toews’s All My Puny Sorrows! Sponsored by the London-based Folio Society, the annual award recognizes “the best English-language fiction from around the world, regardless of form, genre, or the author’s country of origin.” The complete shortlist can be found on the Folio Prize website, and the winner of the £40,000 award will be announced March 23rd.
- ‘I have never met a writer who wishes to be described as a female writer, gay writer, black writer, Asian writer or African writer’ … Aminatta Forna writes in the Guardian about her frustration at the book world’s obsession with labels and identity.
- And, finally: Valentine’s Day. A letter from Johnny Cash to his wife June topped a recent poll for the “greatest love letter ever written.” The Guardian provides an alternative list of author love letters. Zelda Fitzgerald, for example, felt particularly swoony after talking to F. Scott Fitzgerald on the phone in 1930: “I walked on those telephone wires for two hours after holding your love like a parasol to balance me.” And, on the topic of love letters, here’s a modern guide to writing the perfect love letter, which includes some helpful rules about metaphor use: “No financial metaphors, particularly employing the conceit of what an excellent investment your lover is.”
So this week’s news has me wondering a few things:
- Which book (or books) have you read the most? How many times have you read them, and what was it about the book(s) that had you returning again and again?
- Which book to film adaptation is your favourite? Which one is your least favourite?
- Which novel would you recommend as a gift for Valentine’s Day? Why?
Please share your responses with me in the comments area, below. I would love to hear what you have to say about these questions (or any of the items in the news today).
Thank you so much for visiting my site, and taking a moment to read today’s news.
Welcome to Friday everyone! I hope you have had a very good week, and that you will find some reading time for yourself this weekend.
In bookish news this week, well, a huge announcement:
Then, some other stuff happened too (heh!):
- The search is on a find a biographer for late author Doris Lessing. Lessing, who wrote over fifty books including the celebrated feminist work The Golden Notebook, stated in her will that the biographer should “be given full access to all my literary estate (including my diaries) for the purpose only of writing my biography.” Lessing’s family members, however, do not have access to her diaries.
- The law is cracking down on…books. In Los Angeles and Shreveport, Louisiana, a number of Little Free Libraries—freestanding structures where community residents share books—have been taken down on violation of city codes and/or residents’ complaints.
- What does it mean for a novel to be authentic? Tim Parks examines authenticity in fiction in an essay for the New York Review of Books.
- A fire at the Institute for Research Information on Social Services in Moscow, one of Russia’s largest public libraries, has destroyed over one million historical documents—nearly 15 percent of all of the documents in the library. The research center, founded in 1918, houses millions of rare texts, some dating back to the sixteenth century
So there is your book news roundup for this week! Were you as stunned as I was to hear about the Harper Lee news? (My anxiety is pretty high over all of this!)
Do you have a good read on the go right now? I would love to hear about it, so please share in the comments, below!
Welcome to your Friday – I hope the week has been a good one and that you will have some lovely reading moments this coming weekend.
Here’s what’s been making news in the book world this week:
- Australian author Colleen McCullough, passed away on January 29th at age seventy-seven. The former neurophysiologist wrote over twenty novels in her lifetime. Her most successful book, The Thorn Birds, sold over 30 million copies worldwide. Unfortunately, a poorly worded obituary of McCullough, printed by The Australian, has garnered a lot of critical attention. Writing in the Guardian, Rebecca Shaw notes the sendoff “…is a sad reflection of how women’s lives are valued.” Many are showing their frustration and support on Twitter, through the #myozobituary hashtag.
- Resolve your literary feud the media-friendly way: 1) do it at a public event, 2) make sure there’s not a dry eye in the house, and 3) invoke the memory of Charles Dickens, just for the sport of it. More than fifteen years ago, V. S. Naipaul and Paul Theroux “fell out in a spectacularly-bitter war of words, after Naipaul sold some of Theroux’s gifts at auction. The anger seethed for almost two decades. But [recently] the hatchet was resoundingly buried, with eighty-two-year-old Naipaul breaking down in tears after Theroux praised one of his most famous books, at [the Jaipur] Literary Festival…, and compared the author to Charles Dickens.”
- Rovio, developer of the Angry Birds franchise, is swapping egg-pinching pigs for teen angst with its latest venture: a series of pirate-themed novels that the Finnish company will publish by early next year. Rovio describes the Storm Sisters series as a “high action pirate adventure with a female twist.“
- The Costa Book Award, which comes with a prize of $45,000, was given to Helen Macdonald for her memoir H is for Hawk on Tuesday in London. Now named for Costa Coffee, it was formerly known as the Whitbread Prize.
Booker Prize winner Anne Enright has been appointed the first Laureate for Irish Fiction at a ceremony in Dublin. Enright, who has published novels and poetry, won the 2007 Man Booker Prize for The Gathering.The new role has been created by the Arts Council of Ireland and will see Enright give an annual public lecture as well as teach at two universities. Taoiseach Enda Kenney said “it was the highest honour that the Irish State can bestow on a writer in this genre“.
So that’s what’s been going on in the bookish world this week. Thanks for visiting, and I wish you happy reading!! (If you’d like, please tell us what you are reading today, in the comments space below – it’s always great to hear about new books, especially if they are ones you are absolutely loving!)