What inspired Samuel Clemens to change his name to Mark Twain? Was it a Mississippi riverboat captain? Did he earn it by “drinking at a one-bit saloon in Virginia City, Nevada?” Or, as rare book dealer Kevin Mac Donnell now alleges in the new issue of Mark Twain Journal, did the author find his pseudonym in a popular humor journal?
Wolf Hall, you may have heard, is now a TV show, which you can watch on PBS (in the US) and BBC Two (in the UK). Is it good? According to Sonia Saraiya, the adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s novel is eminently worth watching, “a rare adaptation from book to screen that makes the most of what the visual medium can provide.” You could also read our interview with Mantel.
Recommended reading: elderly sisters contend with the youngest dying, in a quietly wry new story by Allegra Goodman at the New Yorker. “She pretended to sleep, and then she really did drop off. When she woke, her sisters were hovering over her. Some of us have overstayed our welcome, Jeanne thought. And then, with sudden shock, No: I’m the one. That would be me.”
Sonia Faleiro takes a look at the “book boys of Mumbai” who participate in India’s quasi-illegal pirated book market. (It’s an issue also discussed in Akshay Pathak’s most recent dispatch on Indian publishing.) Faleiro notes that books often appear on the streets as soon as they’re released to stores – and also that by 1999, as much as “20 to 25 percent of all books sold in the country were pirated.” Meanwhile, the former production editor in me wonders, how the heck are they re-printing these books so quickly?
This September, OR Books will publish Tales of Two Cities, an anthology of short fiction focused on economic inequality in New York City. Among its contributors are some familiar names: Junot Díaz, Lydia Davis, Dave Eggers, Colum McCann, Téa Obreht, Zadie Smith, and Teju Cole. The volume will also be illustrated by Molly Crabapple, whose Occupy Wall Street portraits earned critical acclaim in 2012.