Book Geek Bulletin is a regular feature where we round up what’s going on in the world of literary culture and books—both here in Minnesota and around the world.
Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is officially attached to the film adaptation of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the much loved and sometimes controversial children’s horror books known in part for their beautifully creepy illustrations by St. Paul artist Stephen Gammell. (The text was written by Alvin Schwartz.) The film was announced in 2013, and frequent Tim Burton collaborator John August was announced as screenwriter in 2014. Scary Stories often appears on the American Library Association’s annual lists of most frequently “challenged” books.
Under a grant from the Knight Arts Challenge, Coffee House Press will be printing 10,000 cup sleeves with “passages of prose and poetry from local writers of color” to be handed out at St. Paul coffee shops later this year. (Sorry, Minneapolis—the grant is to bring art to the city of St. Paul.) The project was first announced in October 2015 but has been getting renewed interest lately due to publicity on the Knight Foundation blog and Shelf Awareness. Coffee House publicist Amelia Foster tells Twin Cities Geek that although the Knight article quotes a release of early 2016, the press is “actually planning on the release much later this year,” probably in the fall.
Also in Coffee House news, Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya, published by the press in 2015, has been longlisted for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize for debut books. As an interesting note, all eight nominees this year were written by women.
Two books published by Minneapolis-based Carolrhoda Books, part of Lerner Publishing Group, won honors at last week’s American Library Association awards. In addition, Last Stop on Market Street, written by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson, won the Newbery Medal; Brooklyn-based la Peña is currently teaching at Hamline University’s MFA program.
The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library have announced the lineup for their annual Fireside Reading Series, which runs Wednesdays at the Hamline Midway Library (and as a podcast on iTunes) from January 20 through February 24. The guests for 2016 are Faith Sullivan, Rick Shefchik, Beth Dooley, Erika Lee, Anton Treuer, and Catherine Madison.
And just across the Wisconsin border, Bramble Bookstore in Viroqua will be closing at the end of the month “due to a continuing 5 year decline in sales.”
More in local news:
- Teen Lit Con, Twin Cities Independent Bookstores Ruled in 2015
- Grant Helps University of Minnesota Put Black History Online
- ‘Revenant’ Filmed It, But He ‘Lived’ Bear Attack—and Wrote about It in 1954
- Dave Eggers and Marlon James in Conversation (February 4, 2016, at First Avenue)
Author George R. R. Martin published a post on his blog confirming what most fans had already accepted: The Winds of Winter, the next book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, will not be out before season 6 of Game of Thrones airs on HBO. He writes:
So when you ask me, “will the show spoil the books,” all I can do is say, “yes and no,” and mumble once again about the butterfly effect. Those pretty little butterflies have grown into mighty dragons. Some of the ‘spoilers’ you may encounter in season six may not be spoilers at all… because the show and the books have diverged, and will continue to do so.
(In related news, the new season officially has a premiere date: April 24, 2016.)
Reddit has collected some of its most popular AMAs—the site’s “Ask Me Anything” online Q&A sessions with people who are famous, important, or just plain interesting—into a limited-edition hardcover book. Ask Me Anything: Volume 1 (in which “tech moguls like Bill Gates are rubbing pages with the amazing Waffle House Grill Masters and Nazi Germany survivors”) is also available on Kindle. Read more on the Reddit blog.
Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf is available in print in Germany for the first time since World War II in the form of a heavily annotated edition published by the Institute of Contemporary History. Although the book wasn’t officially banned in Germany, the Bavarian government owned the copyright until its expiration on January 1, 2016, and refused to authorize any new printings. The country does continue to outlaw the display of Nazi symbols, such as the swastika and SS emblem, under its criminal code.
Another employee of Hong Kong publisher and bookseller Mighty Current, known for being critical of the Chinese regime, has gone missing. The disappearance of Lee Bo follows the vanishing of four other employees of the company in October. Thousands of people in Hong Kong demonstrated outside the government headquarters on January 10, 2016, and number of industry organizations have released a joint statement “express[ing] their extreme concern” about the situation and calling on the Chinese government to address it.
Candy Carson, wife of presidential candidate Ben Carson, published a memoir with Sentinel (Penguin Random House) on January 5, 2016. Predictably, it didn’t take long for Carson critics to start pointing out possible holes and exaggerations in her accounts, with possibly the most popular target being the home birth of one of their children.
And more from the world of books:
- Library of Congress Anoints Graphic Novelist as Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
- Emma Watson Announces She’s Starting a Feminist Book Club
- The Authors Guild Files to Take Google to the Supreme Court
- New Coins for 2016 to Feature Shakespeare and Beatrix Potter
- A Brief History of Books That Do Not Exist
- Hachette Responds to Cyber-Bullying Accusations
- Lifting the Veil on the New York Public Library’s Erotica Collection
- 2016 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Awards
Page to Screen
BBC America has ordered a new TV series based on the Dirk Gently novels by Douglas Adams. A previous adaptation starring Stephen Mangan aired on BBC4 in March 2012, but it lasted only three episodes beyond its late-2010 pilot. The new series will be written by Max Landis (Chronicle) and “will see Gently heading to the U.S.—a storyline envisioned by Adams in drafts for a novel [The Salmon of Doubt] he was working at the time of his unexpected death.”
The Chronicles of Narnia will be made into a “brand new franchise” with the film adaptation of The Silver Chair, the fourth novel in the series. The film rights to C. S. Lewis’s classic books changed hands in 2013; the film version of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader came out in 2010 to mixed reviews.
Guillermo del Toro will oversee an animated Netflix series with DreamWorks based on his illustrated children’s/YA novel Trollhunters, published in 2015 by Disney-Hyperion.
An eight-episode series based on Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery is coming to Canadian broadcaster CBC.
Production company Sonar Entertainment has optioned Florida Roadkill, a TV series based on the Serge Storms crime novels by Tim Dorsey. The trio of executive producers who currently control the rights are also behind MTV’s new book-based fantasy series The Shannara Chronicles.
Less than a month after the first teaser-trailer for High-Rise (which was styled as a fictional ad), the first “real” trailer is out.
Book-based films The Revenant, The Martian, Steve Jobs, Room, and Spectre as well as series Mozart in the Jungle and Wolf Hall all had wins at the Golden Globes. (And quite a lot of other adaptations were among the runners-up.) The Oscar nominees are similarly packed with adaptations.
And I’ll leave you with a list of adaptations out in the next two weeks:
- The Lady in the Van (January 15 in theaters), based on the memoir and play by Alan Bennett
- War and Peace (January 18 on A&E, History, and Lifetime), based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy
- The Fifth Wave (January 22 in theaters), based on the YA novel by Rick Yancey
- Beowulf (January 23 on Esquire Network), based on the epic poem
- The Magicians (January 25 on SyFy), based on the novel by Lev Grossman