For a boy wizard whose saga ended six years ago, Harry Potter is in the news a lot lately. The Chosen One got a makeover by Jim Kay, and now J.K. Rowling is working on a stage play based on Potter. Don’t expect a stage set of Hogwarts because the play will focus on Harry’s early years at 4 Privet Drive.
On Monday we mentioned that the MTA has started offering free e-books underground as part of its Subway Reads program, but they weren’t the first to make books an integral part of the public transit experience. London’s Books on the Underground was first, but then came a more interesting development in Australia: book ninjas. Books on the Rails is a gonzo experiment started by two Melbourne residents who began releasing free books – actual, paper books – into the wilds of the city’s tram system. About 300 books are currently in circulation in what’s possibly the world’s most open lending library.
New releases this week include The Signature of All Things by Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert, which you can learn more about in Steve Almond’s review for the Times. Also out: The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna; The Pure Gold Baby by Margaret Drabble; Half the Kingdom by Lore Segal; The Night Guest by Fiona MacFarlane; The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson; Personae by Hall of Famer Sergio de la Pava; and The Karl Kraus Project by Jonathan Franzen.
Read here, in the University of Washington’s alumni magazine, about how Marilynne Robinson approaches a book’s essence as “an elaborate needlepoint of decisions and observations”; how novels visit upon her as surprises; and how her recent move to New York might spawn yet another gift to readers.
Those of you who stopped watching The Simpsons thirteen years ago (and heard that the voice actress who plays Edna Krabappel sadly passed away in October) should know that Ms. Krabappel is now married to Ned Flanders. In a run-down over at Splitsider, Bradford Evans catalogues weird plot developments in the last decade-plus of the series. (h/t Slate)