The true story of the Whaleship Essex – which was deftly recounted in Nathaniel Philbrick’s 2000 book In the Heart of the Sea – will soon be adapted into a 90-minute documentary for the BBC. As avid whale watchers already know, the plight of the Essex is what ultimately inspired Herman Melville to write Moby-Dick. You can get an overview of the disaster at Melville House’s blog, Moby Lives. (How appropriate!)
“At its core, the New York newspaper strike was a battle over technology. The 1950s and 1960s saw the emergence of computerized typesetting systems that would revolutionize the newspaper composing room…Today, new technology is again shaking American newspapers as the Internet drains away more and more advertising revenue. Cities with dailies may soon face a newspaper blackout much darker than what New York experienced a half-century ago. For a brief period, New York was a laboratory that demonstrated what can happen when newspapers vanish,” writes Scott Sherman at Vanity Fair.
In 1958, the Indian writer Yashpal published the first installment of This Is Not that Dawn, an eleven-hundred-page novel and feminist epic written in Hindi. The book presages many of the biggest controversies affecting India today. At Page-Turner, Karan Mahajan reads the novel, explaining why he believes it to be “the greatest long novel about India.” Related: Mythilo G. Rao pays a visit to the Jaipur Literature Festival.
On the London Review of Books blog, Kaya Genç makes the case that the similarities between the successful Turkish author Elif Şafak’s work and Zadie Smith’s books is a fact of Turkey’s shifting cultural values rather than plagiarism: “Istanbul, the city Shafak returned to after writing her book in London and the setting for many of her earlier novels, resembles London more and more.” For a bit of context, here’s Lydia Kiesling’s rundown of the initial scandal.