Umberto Eco, Italian semiotician and author of works such as Theory of Semiotics and The Name of the Rose, has died at 84. His most famous work, The Name of the Rose, was adapted in a film starring Sean Connery and Christian Slater. Reflect on his life by revisiting Hillary Kelly’s review of Confessions of a Young Novelist.
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!)
Amazon announced a new crop of digital reading devices today – bringing their lineup to seven in total. The new $119 Kindle Paperwhite features an “ambient light” display, an eight-week battery life, and adjustable fonts; the 3G version will retail for $179. A new Kindle Fire HD starts at $199 — and one with an 8.9″ display starts at $299. Meanwhile the standard Kindle has dropped in price to $69, and the standard Kindle Fire is down to $159. Additionally, Jeff Bezos announced the debut of a new $1.99 Kindle Serials program: customers can buy a serial once, and seamlessly receive all future installments as they come out. The full rundown of announcements (including this mind-blowing chart) can be found on The Verge‘s liveblog.