Do you want a book with your Happy Meal? McDonald’s will replace Happy Meal toys with books for two weeks next month. Don’t expect to pull out Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs with your fries, though. The books were created for McDonald’s by Leo Burnett and discuss nutrition. Did they miss the irony?
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich put together a reading list to help children understand the global refugee experience, and Kaveh Akbar compiled a list of poems from the seven countries — Iran, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, and Syria — impacted by President Donald Trump’s executive order. Meanwhile, Kieran Hebden (a.k.a. Four Tet) has been curating a Spotify playlist of music from those countries as well.
George Packer at Lapham’s Quarterly writes of meeting a young Burmese reader of Charles Dickens: “‘All of those characters are me,’ [he] explained. ‘Neither a British nor American young man living in the twenty-first century can understand a Dickens as well as I can…I am more equipped to understand Dickens than modern novels. I don’t know what is air conditioning, what is subway, what is fingerprint exam.’” (via Book Bench)
In every country except France, the copyright for The Little Prince expired at the end of last year, which explains why Turkish publishers chose the first two weeks of January to publish a huge number of new translations of the book. At the LRB blog, Millions contributor Kaya Genc writes about the flood of new editions, remarking on the significance of a passage about a Turkish astronomer.
Nollywood is the name given to Nigeria’s $500 million movie business. For about the same amount of money that was spent on the promotion and production of James Cameron’s Avatar, Nollywood is able to churn out a thousand films each year, trailing only Bollywood and Hollywood in terms of revenue.
What’s the deal with all the fake birds animated into fantasy and sci-fi films these days? According to Brian Thill, these digital flocks “aren’t just there to make the unreal scenes feel a bit more real” but are rather signifiers of “our oldest and most common metaphor for freedom.” What to make of their ability to evade disaster or succumb to it, however, is another story entirely.
Some of the best novels out there — Huckleberry Finn, Of Mice and Men — deal largely with fictional friendships. Yet depictions of close friends that are central to the plot are considerably rare in modern novels. At The Guardian, AD Miller notes this isn’t the case for movies and TV shows, and suggests a number of reasons why. You could also read our own Kevin Hartnett on friendship in the age of Facebook.