Between The Covers: 09/10/2011

Your weekly guide to what's really going on inside the world of books

*Before the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer was announced on Thursday as the recipient of this year's Nobel Prize for Literature, there was a last-minute panic at the bookies as punters around the world placed a flurry of bets on the singer Bob Dylan being the winner.

Under the email header "The odds, they are a changin'", Ladbrokes contacted "Between the Covers" with the news that a number of bets from Sweden, Japan, Canada, and "nearly every country in Europe", had caused Dylan's odds to be slashed from 100/1 to just 5/1, making him the favourite above the Syrian poet Adonis (real name Ali Ahmad Said Asbar), the Japanese author Haruki Murakami, and Americans including Thomas Pynchon and Philip Roth. Meanwhile, we thank Bloomberg.com, which revealed earlier last week that the person who puts together these odds for Ladbrokes is "a Swede named Magnus Puke, whose job title at Ladbrokes is Nordic Sports and Novelty Odds Compiler, and who writes love poetry in his spare time."

*Not unusually, the author Ian Rankin managed to sum up last week's mini-zeitgeist succinctly in words. "Off to a café," he tweeted, "to listen to Bert Jansch on my iPod." See next week's IoS books pages for an interview with Rankin about his new book, The Impossible Dead, the second in his new series of DI Malcolm Fox novels.

*Meanwhile, the [Steve] Jobses of the future will be delighted by the publication of a new book, HTML For Babies, which will "show your little ones HTML mark-up code along with letter forms to get them started on the visual patterns and symbols that make up the essential building blocks of the Web". According to the blurb: "It's never too early to be standards compliant!" This is the first of a three-volume set, but unfortunately it is currently only available in the US, and not in an e-book version. This latter problem should resolve itself, however, as soon as all the babies get to work.

*One of the surprise word-of-mouth bestsellers of 2010 was The Hare With Amber Eyes, a family memoir hung around a collection of 264 tiny wood and ivory carvings, by the British ceramicist Edmund de Waal. It won the Ondaatje Prize, the JQ Wingate Prize and the Costa Book Award for biography. Now de Waal is to return to more familiar terrain, with a book about the history of porcelain "and man's obsession with it over the past thousand years", from the same publisher, Chatto & Windus. Fans will have to wait until 2015 for The White Book: A Journey Through Porcelain, but sources at Chatto are already certain that it will be more successful than your average look at the complete global history of ceramics. "Adoring fans of The Hare with Amber Eyes will be transported into stunning new landscapes by this most miraculous of writers," says one. "I hardly dare venture to say it so soon, but I believe that The White Book will be Edmund de Waal's magnum opus."

*Congratulations to the White Mice and Manchester Slingback author Nicholas Blincoe, who is excited to have won a two-book deal in Italy with the publisher Saggiatore. This is the group that publishes Noam Chomsky, he tells us, "so western capitalism is surely quaking".

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
    Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

    Stolen youth

    Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
    Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

    Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

    He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
    Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

    Made by Versace, designed by her children

    Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
    Anyone for pulled chicken?

    Pulling chicks

    Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
    9 best steam generator irons

    9 best steam generator irons

    To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
    England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

    Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

    New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
    ‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

    ‘We knew he was something special’

    Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York