Between the Covers 11/11/2012
Your weekly guide to what's really going on inside the world of books
Sunday 11 November 2012
Thanks to The Believer magazine, formerly known as The Optimist, for a touching and funny interview with Maurice Sendak from last year. The Where The Wild Things Are writer and illustrator, who died this May, had lost none of his mischievous irascibility, setting about publishers ("Well, nobody knows what they're doing"), especially his own, HarperCollins ("Rupert Murdoch … represents how bad things have become"), Roald Dahl ("I read as little of him as I could get away with") and being called a "children's illustrator" ("What is a children's-book artist? A moron! Some ugly fat pip-squick of a person who can't be bothered to grow up. That's the way we're treated in the adult world of publishing"). But his greatest ire was reserved for ebooks. "I hate them," he said. "It's like making believe there's another kind of sex. There isn't another kind of sex. There isn't another kind of book. A book is a book is a book. I know that's terribly old-fashioned. I'm old, and when I'm gone they'll probably try to make my books on all these things, but I'm going to fight it like hell." The full, wonderful interview can be read at www.believermag.com.
Bookshops in America are proving strangely unwilling to find shelf space for books published by the giant online retailer Amazon, it turns out. The USA's biggest bookstore chain, Barnes & Noble, refused in January to stock any books by the tax-avoiding bookshop-turned-publisher, and now smaller chains are following suit, according to a report in International Business Times. The reasons are too many to mention, but fortunately a list can be found here: http://bbpbooks.teachingforchange.org/whatswrongwithamazon.
Also in the United States, Macmillan Publishers has ceased publishing the print edition of its dictionaries, saying that there is no longer any call for the paper books. The primary markets for printed books are now Asia and South America, whereas the online dictionary generates 10 million hits a month. Final hard copies of the dictionary are rolling off the presses now, as Maurice Sendak quietly turns in his grave .…
Meanwhile, HarperCollins is gearing up for the film release of The Hobbit, starring Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, with a range of Hobbit-related ebooks, including The Visual Companion and The Official Movie Guide. They will feature interactive maps of Hobbiton and Rivendell, and a height chart on which to compare goblins, elves and wizards. Technology fans will be glad to hear there will be scrolling sidebars, pop-over widgets and retina-display enhancements. Remind us: were the pop-over widgets goodies or baddies in the original book?
If you thought David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas was unfilmable, you're not alone: so did he. The film, which will not hit UK screens until February 2013, was released last month in the USA. In an interview with The New Yorker, Mitchell said: "As I was writing Cloud Atlas, I thought, 'It's a shame this is unfilmable'," Fortunately, having seen the script, he decided: "This could be one of those movies that are better than the book." Watch out for Mitchell's cameo as a union spy.
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Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 2 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 3 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 4 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
- 5 Kenya bus attack: Al-Shabaab militants kill 28 non-Muslims who failed to recite Koran
Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
Beyoncé '7/11' music video: Star bounces on bed in low-fi homage to viral video
Angelina Jolie confirms retirement from acting: 'I've never been comfortable on-screen'
Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track