Happy NaNoWriMo! National Novel Writing Month kicks off today, with participants around the world aiming to write 50,000 words by the end of November. Check out the Twin Cities page on the NaNoWriMo website for information on group “write-ins” happening in the area over the next 30 days and beyond.
Books & Bars’ pick for November 2015 is The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, which the club will be discussing November 4 in St. Paul and November 10 in Minneapolis.
Speaking of our own “near Minneapolis” resident Neil Gaiman, there have been a couple of big announcements recently about adaptations of his work: one, Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz) will direct an adaptation of his children’s book Fortunately, the Milk, with Johnny Depp to star and Flight of the Conchords’ Bret Mackenzie to write the script; and two, a TV series called Neil Gaiman’s Likely Stories, featuring adaptations of various short stories by the author, begins filming this month. These projects join projects already underway for Gaiman’s novel American Gods (with Bryan Fuller and Michael Green) and graphic novel series The Sandman (with Joseph Gordon-Levitt).
HBO is developing a series based on Tiny Beautiful Things, the collection of essays by ex-Minnesotan Cheryl Strayed (Wild). Strayed and her husband, filmmaker Brian Lindstrom, will write the adaptation and will produce with Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern.
October 28 was declared Marlon James Day by Minnesota governor Mark Dayton and Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges to honor the author who recently won the Man Booker Prize for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings. Macalester College, where James is a professor, held an event to celebrate.
The 8th Circuit US Court of Appeals has opened the door to the possibility of a new trial in the defamation lawsuit by Minnesota’s former wrestler-turned-governor Jesse Ventura against the estate of Chris Kyle over claims made in Kyle’s book American Sniper.
November 12 is the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library’s fourth annual Plots and Pints, a literary pub-quiz competition and fundraiser. Spectator admission is free; proceeds from team registration fees go to benefit the Minnesota Book Awards.
Following the announcement last month that Graywolf Press marketing director Erin Kottke would be leaving the press, Marisa Atkinson is being promoted to director of marketing and engagement; Casey O’Neil is joining as sales and marketing manager, moving from Milkweed Editions; and Caroline Nitz is joining as publicist, moving from Henry Holt.
- Downtown: Minneapolis in the 1970s (Minnesota Historical Society Press), in which local writer Andy Sturdevant provides commentary for photos of Minneapolis shot by then-17-year-old Mike Evangelist in the ’70s
- The Birchwood Cafe Cookbook (University of Minnesota Press), written by Birchwood founder Tracy Singleton and chef Marshall Paulsen with local food writer Beth Dooley
- Steam Age Chronicles: The Clockwork Armor Part 1 by Stu Tighe, illustrated by Declan McDermott (Buzz & Roar Publishing, whose book Illusion Twin Cities Geek reviewed in August)
The US Court of Appeals in New York ruled against the Authors Guild October 16 in its lawsuit against Google over its scanning and providing “snippets” of millions of books, the judges claiming that the activity constitutes fair use. The Authors Guild plans to appeal to the US Supreme Court.
Barnes & Noble finally launched its first Nook ereader in two years, the reportedly “waterproof and dustproof” GlowLight Plus, on October 21, 2015.
- The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook: Sweet Treats for the Geek in All of Us, a cookbook based on the online baking show (Atria Books, November 3)
- Winter, the last installment in author Marissa Meyer’s best-selling Lunar Chronicles series (Feiwel & Friends, November 10)
- Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World, a book on climate change and sustainability by Bill Nye (St. Martin’s Press, November 10)
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition, Collector’s Edition (Arthur A. Levine Books, November 12)
David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl—which was adapted into a film starring Eddie Redmayne that opens later this month—is leaving his day job as vice president and executive editor at Random House to write full time.
Filmmaker David Lynch—the director behind Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, Dune, and many others—will publish a memoir in 2017, to be titled Life and Work
And author Jonathan Franzen (Purity) visited The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and read the host a special kind of bedtime story: “Little Red Reading Hood.”
Page to Screen
Book-based movies opening November 6, 2015, include:
- Room, based on the best-selling and award-winning novel by Emma Donoghue
- Trumbo, based on the biography Bruce Dalton Trumbo by Bruce Alexander Cook
- Spectre, the latest James Bond film, based on the work of Ian Fleming
- Brooklyn, based on the novel by Colm Tóibín
Seth Rogen is “in talks to star” in James Franco’s adaptation of The Disaster Artist, the 2013 book chronicling the making of famously terrible cult film The Room. The book was written by actor Greg Sestero, who played Mark in the film, with journalist Tom Bissell.
Lusia Strus (50 First Dates) and Terry Kinney (Show Me a Hero) have joined the cast of Good Behavior, a TNT series based on the Letty Dobesh books by Blake Crouch (Wayward Pines).
Warner Bros. has optioned the rights to the forthcoming YA novel Flawed by Cecelia Ahern, scheduled for publication in April 2016. Wendy Finerman and Michelle Chydzik will produce; Finerman previously worked on the film based on Ahern’s PS, I Love You.
Thank You, Brain! Productions is developing a series based on the also-forthcoming This Is Why You’re Single by Laura Lane and Angela Spera (December 2015).
Disney has announced a December 2016 release date for The Girl on the Train, based on the novel by Paula Hawkins.
And the official US trailer is out for The Lady in the Van, based on the memoir and play by Alan Bennett. Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey, Harry Potter), who previously starred in stage and radio versions, is reprising her role as Mary Shepherd, “an eccentric homeless woman who lived in her van and, after meeting playwright Alan Bennett in the 1970s, kept it parked in his driveway for 15 years.” It opens in New York and L.A. December 4, 2015, and nationwide on January 15, 2016.