Many feared the permanent loss of thousands of precious manuscripts and relics after insurgents razed Timbuktu’s Ahmed Baba Institute of Higher Learning and Islamic Research. The Institute was home to over 30,000 manuscripts dating back to the 13th century. Or was it? In a fascinating report, Rukmini Callimachi details the extraordinary efforts of the some passionate locals that wound up saving much of the collection.
If you’re anything like me, you’re likely to be intrigued by a series with the title Novelists in Restaurants Eating Food. If you’re a lot like me, to the point where it may be a cause for concern, you’ll be doubly intrigued by the prospect of Charles Yu paying a visit to Buffalo Wild Wings. Sample quote: “I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the restaurant simultaneously managed to exceed, disappoint, and exactly meet these expectations.”
Friend of The Millions, proprietor of Pinky's Paperhaus, and all around great gal Carolyn Kellogg has landed at the LA Times book blog Jacket Copy. We have little doubt that she'll do great things there.Following Heath Ledger's untimely death, BBC looks at the myriad ways in which Hollywood has dealt with losing an actor mid-production, dating back to 1937 "when Jean Harlow died, aged 26, during the making of Saratoga. With filming 90% complete, a lookalike and two Harlow sound-a-likes (voice doubles) took up where the star left off."Bookride is back with an intriguing look at the collectors' market for Gabriel Garcia Marquez's masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude. Don't miss this tidbit: "By the way sending books to authors for signing is something of a gamble - Thomas Hardy used to keep all the books sent to him neatly shelved in a spare room."Speaking of Garcia Marquez, Edith Grossman, the translator who has shaped the Latin American canon for English speakers over the last few decades, is profiled in bookforum.The New Republic offers the story behind the controversial New York Times John McCain/lobbyist story.The Morning News returns with its third annual Tournament of Books. Sadly, there will be no Bloggers' Pool this year (despite our being eager to participate again), but Coudal Partners is sponsoring a betting pool for charity this year. As of this writing, On Chesil Beach and Run have had the most money thrown their way.A cartoon drawn on the pages of Moby DickAnd finally, McSweeney's offers up some sweet Ashton Kutcher fan fiction.
Boris is coming to the big screen. Nina Jacobson, the producer behind The Hunger Games, has acquired the rights to adapt Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch. Whether it will be a film or TV miniseries is still up for question, but if the actors need any help getting into character, check out our essay on identifying with Theo and learn how to tweet like Boris.
Tom Jenks, co-founder of Narrative Magazine (which charges writers $23 to submit), is releasing a 400-page, six-chapter craft book on the art of imaginative fiction titled A Poetics of Fiction. The information inside the book is billed as “more than useful—it’s essential and not readily available anywhere else”—maybe that’s why it retails for $225.
Recent estate sales, auctions, and rights deals concerning the legacy and works of William Faulkner are “raising complex questions about what happens to the works of great writers after they die,” writes Stefanie Cohen. “For their part, Faulkner's heirs say they aim to both honor the writer's work and raise funds.” (Bonus: the ongoing, public legal battle over rights to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.)
The 2010 National Book Awards were announced this evening. In fiction, Jaimy Gordon won for The Lord of Misrule; in nonfiction, Patti Smith won for Just Kids; in poetry, Terrance Hayes won for Lighthead; and for young people's literature, Kathryn Erskine won for Mockingbird.