Between the Covers 22/09/13

What's really going on in the world of books

Principal photography started last week on a new film of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, directed by Thomas Vinterberg and with a script written by the One Day novelist David Nicholls, a Hardy fan who also adapted Tess of the D’Urbervilles for the BBC in 2008. Nicholls has told friends that the experience is “Exciting and terrifying at the same time … Because, like the novel, it largely takes place outdoors, throughout the year. We need blazing sun, torrential rain, storm clouds, thick snow, and the first signs of spring, all in the next nine weeks, all in the right order. No problems there, I’m sure.”

Shooting is taking place on location in Dorset and Devon, and Between the Covers has learned that “they’ve already shot some of Troy’s ‘drowning’ at Durdle Door, and are heading further west”. Not only does it have Nicholls’ script but also Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen, and Juno Temple. We can’t wait. But we’ll have to, at least until 2014.

Nor can Between the Covers wait to get hold of Amy Tan’s new novel The Valley of Amazement, which is published by HarperCollins on 5 November. Tan says: “I prefer to call myself a writer. A writer writes. An author is a name on a book jacket.” It’s profound, but we can’t seem to take her seriously with her face half-human, half-book jacket.

Thanks to the people behind the new book The Novel Cure: An A to Z of Literary Remedies, for a list of suggested cures for ailments known to afflict literary editors. The authors, Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin, list troubles such as Procrastination, Social Media Addiction, Budget (Lack Of), and “Overwhelmed by the number of books on your desk”, all of which suggest that they are familiar with life at the bookish end of a newspaper office. The suggested remedy for a surfeit of literature, by the way, is The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono. Somebody send it, quick!

Further evidence that death is good for sales: see this week’s bestselling poetry chart from Waterstones on p18, in which poetry by Seamus Heaney takes positions one through four. He’ll be missed.