Book Geek Bulletin: Of Magic and Mockingbirds
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. Jump to: Local Lit | Global News | Page to Screen Local Lit Local literary magazine Paper Darts is currently accepting submissions for its spring short fiction contest, for which the publication has secured national author Roxanne Gay (Bad Feminist) to judge. Submissions are due by April 15, 2016, and have a 1,200-word limit. In Twin Cities bookstore news, Micawber's Books in St. Paul has moved—just a few feet down to a smaller space. This Friday, March 18, the Minnesota Book Awards will host the 2016 edition of its annual Meet the Finalists event at Open Book in Minneapolis, in which finalist authors from the awards' eight categories will read short selections from their nominated books. The event is free, and will feature book sales and signings on site at the Loft. As of March 8, 22 authors were confirmed to present. Here on the site, Kelly reviewed Coffee House Press's Brian Evenson, New and Reissued, which combines Evenson's latest horror collection and three of his past books into one volume. Also in Coffee House news, Julie Iromuanya made the PEN/Faulkner Award shortlist for Mr. and Mrs. Doctor. More movie-related Neil Gaiman news has rolled in over the last two weeks: on March 2, Deadwood and soon-to-be Game of Thrones actor Ian McShane was revealed as Mr. Wednesday in the American Gods Starz series. Fans (and series director Bryan Fuller) rejoiced. Then, on March 4, the writer for the Warner Bros. adaptation of Sandman was announced. But on March 5, Joseph Gordon-Levitt—who had been on tap to direct Sandman and star as Dream—announced his decision to pull out of the project over apparent creative differences with New Line. Although Gaiman has been involved with the production, he worked on Sandman on a work-for-hire basis: he does not have copyright claims to any of the characters or story lines. (Similarly, Fox's series, Lucifer, is based on a character Gaiman created in Sandman.) And, for the record, my respect for @hitRECordJoe is undiminished. Getting to know him was the best bit of the last round. He's special. — Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 5, 2016 Other Neil Gaiman adaptations currently in progress are How to Talk to Girls at Parties (starring Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning) and Likely Stories (with Sky Arts). And the Star Tribune profiled Tom Driscoll, owner of Rushford, Minnesota-based Shipwreckt Books Publishing Company, which started publishing magazines and books in 2013. Global News J. K. Rowling published a four-part series of short pieces titled Magic in North America—set in the Harry Potter universe—as part of the run-up to the Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them film. However, the pieces weren't well received: readers and reviewers voiced concerns about the quality of the stories (Forbes: "J. K. Rowling Is Channeling George Lucas, and Not in a Good Way"), and a number of critics in the Native American community accused Rowling of being culturally ignorant in her portrayal of Native customs and culture in the series. The estate of Harper Lee, who passed away last month, will not renew Hachette's license to publish the mass-market paperback edition of To Kill a Mockingbird. HarperCollins publishes all other editions of the book (the more expensive trade paperback, the hardcover, and special editions) as well as last summer's controversial Go Set a Watchman. HarperCollins and Lee estate attorney Tonja Carter were both criticized during the run-up to and aftermath of Watchman by observers who accused them of misleading the public about the book being a true sequel and, in Carter's case, of possibly taking advantage of an elderly author in poor health. This recent paperback news has brought that discussion back into the public eye. Marvel just released a first look at its Black Panther story written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, who's known not as a comics writer but as a journalist and nonfiction author with a focus on black identity and culture. His 2015 book Between the World and Me was a National Book Award winner. Author Pat Conroy passed away at the age of 70. Conroy announced in February that he'd been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Amazon is opening a second physical bookstore, this one in San Diego. The first opened in the company's hometown of Seattle in late 2015. Recent rumors hinted that Amazon planned to open hundreds of brick-and-mortar locations, which sent a number of booksellers and publishers into a panic. The actual number is widely agreed to be much lower. As of today, Barnes and Noble is officially shutting down its Nook ereader app and video store. Finalists have been announced for this year's Lambda Literary Awards for LGBT writing. Among recent publishing deals, Publishers Lunch reports that Andy Heidel, former "big five" publicist and current owner of geeky New York bar The Way Station, has signed with a publisher for The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy, "a cocktail book for the massive sci-fi, geek, and fandom community." Page to Screen Actor Patrick Warburton, known for roles from Seinfeld (David Puddy) to Venture Bros. (Brock Samson), has been cast as mysterious narrator Lemony Snicket---the pen name of series author Daniel Handler---in Netflix's A Series of Unfortunate Events. The role was played by Jude Law in the 2004 film; Warburton joins Neil Patrick Harris, who was previously announced as as Count Olaf. Nicolas Cage has replaced Harold Becker as the director of Vengeance: A Love Story, based on the somewhat differently-titled novella Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates. Casting for the film is underway. Blood’s a Rover by James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential) is on its way to becoming a film, with a script by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men, Iron Man). In casting news, Michael Keaton will star in the adaptation of American Assassin by Vince Flynn, and Genesis Rodriguez has joined the cast of ABC's H. G. Welles alternate-history pilot Time After Time, based on the 1979 novel by Karl Alexander. And new trailers are out for The Adderall Diaries, based on the book by Stephen Elliot; Middle School, based on the novel by James Patterson; Game of Thrones season 6; and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
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