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.
Jonathan Franzen knows a lot about birds. The novelist competed on Jeopardy’s “Power Players Week” alongside Chuck Todd and S.E. Cupp as part of a variation on the Celebrity Jeopardy theme. Franzen flubbed a few questions about Shakespeare which, ironically, served to help dispel some of the “old curmudgeon” reputation that has followed him for years. This piece from The Millions on the case for non-Ikea writing in the Age of Franzen might interest you.
Researchers at Comanche Nation College and Texas Tech University are creating a digital archive to reconstruct the Comanche language before its 25 remaining speakers die out. Meanwhile, researchers from Moscow State University and the Russian Academy of Sciences have recorded audio and video footage of twenty isolated Alaskans who speak a unique form of the Russian language. (Bonus: An Australian researcher recently uncovered a whole new Aboriginal dialect.)
Why innovate when you can just Google and copy? Mark Pagel on the perils of “being domesticated by these great big societal things, such as Facebook and the Internet.”
Purveyor of popular nonfiction Erik Larson has a new book out this week, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin. The Snowman by Jo Nesbø is a new entry in the increasingly popular Scandinavian thriller genre. Inward-looking graphic novelist Chester Brown’s latest, Paying for It is out, and musician and actor Steve Earle can now add “novelist” to his resume with the release of I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive. And new in paperback are a pair of big books, Brady Udall’s The Lonely Polygamist and Karl Marlantes’s Matterhorn.
If you run into trouble in Iceland, blame the elves. 54.4 percent of Icelanders believe in the invisible creatures, and elves cause environmental protest today. “Beliefs in misfortune befalling those who dare to build in elf territory is so widespread and frequent that the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration has created a five-page ‘standard reply’ for press inquiries about elves,” Ryan Jacobs writes for The Atlantic. Pair with: our essay on Icelandic writer Sjón.
Book trailers are one thing, but what’s a literary short film? According to Red 14 founders Adam Cushman and Mike Sandow, “it’s not advertising a product; it gives a cinematic glimpse into the book, one which will ideally make the viewer interested in learning more about the author, the author’s current book, and the author’s past and future work.” Together, the pair has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund four such films about four worthy titles (Matt Bell’s awesome debut novel among them).