Between the Covers 17/02/2013

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

Colin Firth is not only catnip to Hollywood actresses – as reported by The IoS earlier this month – he's also popular with authors, and the adaptors of their books.

At the recent Shoreditch House Literary Salon, it seemed that everybody was talking about him. "I'm going to be allowed on set to see Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman making the film of Before I Go to Sleep," said an excited S J Watson, the author of that book. At the same event, Blake Morrison talked about his memoir And When Did You Last See Your Father?, which is 20 years old this year. That book was made into a film in 1997, with a screenplay by the One Day author David Nicholls, who was also in the audience, and starring Jim Broadbent as Mr Morrison senior and Colin Firth as young Blake. The book has aged well, and so has the author, but he did regretfully admit to Between the Covers: "Since the film, every time I try to picture my father I see Jim Broadbent. Unfortunately, when I look in the mirror, I don't see Colin Firth." Never mind, Blake, we think you'd look great coming out of a lake.

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S J Watson should pay heed to Joanne Harris, who live tweeted her experience of watching the film of her book, Chocolat, on telly last week. She shared memories of Johnny Depp hating the chocolates that were made by Juliette Binoche, secrets about the two dogs who played Charly (one of them painted with black spots), and her recollection that Judi Dench has the same dirty laugh as her own great grandmother. "And to anyone wondering how much influence I had," she added, "my name's in the credits – under 'Wallaby Handler' and just above 'Johnny Depp's hair'."

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The most popular man in literature this week has been … Richard III. On Tuesday, Bloomsbury bought a book called Richard III: A Ruler and His Reputation, by David Horspool, which is due for publication in 2014. "It is a long time since there has been such a perfect match of author and subject," said the publisher, ominously. On Wednesday, John Murray bought another book about the king. And on Thursday, The Bookseller's "Accelerators" chart revealed that Josephine Tey's novel The Daughter of Time, about a Scotland Yard officer who investigates the dead king's crimes, sold 649 per cent more copies this week than last. Now is the winter of his discount titles.

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Our ace reviewer Doug Johnstone is making serious promises about his new novel, Gone Again, which is published on 7 March (Faber & Faber, £12.99). The novel is about a missing wife, and Johnstone boasts that "there is also a lot of Star Wars chat in it, a restraining order, the tooth fairy, pints of blood seeping between the floorboards, guns, a chase on Porty Beach, constipation, a playground punch up, dead bodies, and chapped lips."

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Thanks to the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association for a sensible Valentine's Day tweet, reminding their followers that "Keats, Shelley and Byron are all lousy romantic role models", and counselling against getting "romantic" and "Romantic" confused.

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