“When we read with a child, we are doing so much more than teaching him to read or instilling in her a love of language.” Anna Dewdney, best-selling children’s author and illustrator, died this past weekend after a battle with brain cancer. Her obituary concluded with this: “She requested that in lieu of a funeral service that people read to a child instead.”
We lost another great one this week in Alan Rickman. He will be remembered forever by fans of the Harry Potter series as the maybe-evil, maybe-heroic professor Severus Snape, but the Potter series wasn’t Rickman’s only brush with the literary. Here are a few recordings of him reading from Shakespeare, Proust, and Thomas Hardy.
Over the course of a half-century, Vladimir Nabokov wrote hundreds of letters to his wife Vera, which are being published in book form this week for the first time. Among other things, they reveal the absurd pet names he invented for her (such as Goosykins and Monkeykins) and display Nabokov musing over whether or not to borrow a friend’s castle for the summer. Also worth reading: our own Garth Risk Hallberg on Nabokov’s Ada, or Ardor.
The film adaptation of Macbeth being helmed by Snowtown Murders director Justin Kurzel will star Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, reports Vulture. The movie will feature “Shakespeare’s original linguistic stylings” as well as “a visceral approach to the story including significant battle scenes,” and it is set to begin production this year.
“We always try to create the worst opinion of everything there is in the United States, as a response to what they have always done with us. The only difference is that we do not write falsehoods about the United States. I told you that we emphasize the worst things, that we omit things that could be viewed as positive, but we do not invent any lies.” This excerpted interview with Fidel Castro over at The Paris Review is enlightening for its candor and frankness.
Somewhat overshadowed by David Simon’s recent op-ed on the state of modern America (if not capitalism itself) was the news that Wendell Pierce – featured prominently in both The Wire and Treme – secured a book deal for his meditation on Hurricane Katrina and “the effect it had on his family, his life, his memory, and his hometown.”
Thanks to the generosity of Daniel Handler, the American Library Association has launched the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity. The prize will award $3,000 and an “odd, symbolic object” of Handler’s choosing to a librarian who “has faced adversity with integrity and dignity intact.” (h/t The Paris Review)