Monthly Archives: November 2013

Africa is My Home: Speaking and Signing in Farmington, CT

After the Amistad captives won their case and were freed, they had a long wait until sufficient funds were raised for a ship to take them back to Africa. Happily, there were people in Farmington, CT, who took them in.  As part of my research for Africa is My Home I visited Farmington and I’m thrilled to be returning to speak and sign books this Sunday.  The details are all here.

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EW Does a Bracket Voting Contest for “Best YA Novel Of All Time.”

Now, of course, “best of all time” is hyperbole, but EW realizes that and still is going forward with their bracket game, pitting 64 titles against each other for the “best of all time” title.  Now I tend to get my back up the minute I see another list, but I have to say this is a good one. The titles are mostly recognizably YA (the main one I’d argue with is Hugo Cabret as I see it as solidly juvenile and there are a few that were originally published for adults) and a great bunch indeed.  And since I too run a yearly bracket contest I am all for them.  They are fun ways to highlight a whole bunch of books, some of which those participating may have forgotten, overlooked, or just not known about until then.  I just voted in their first round and, boy oh boy, were some hard to decide. In some cases, it was problematic as I haven’t read all the contenders and sometimes voted unfairly for the one of the pair I had. I didn’t vote when I hadn’t read either book, tempted though I was to go for the one that I’d heard better things about.  But this sort of thing is basically random and fun — that is true for the BoB as well. It gets the word out, gets folks looking at books they didn’t know about, and is all good, to my mind. Well done, EW!  I’m on tenterhooks to see what titles advance to round two!


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More on Pullman and Tan’s Grimms Märchen

I just got my copy of the the German edition of Philip Pullman’s retelling of the Grimm fairy tales,  Grimms Märchen, and it is a beautiful, beautiful book.  The Shaun Tan illustrations are amazing.  And the only way to see them all is to get this edition. It doesn’t matter if you don’t read English.  Just get the book for the Tan art and shelf it next to the English edition.  (FYI: I got it from Book Depository.)  Awesome, awesome, awesome.




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Death in The Book Thief Movie

A big fan of Markus Zusak’s  The Book Thief, I have been very curious about the film opening next week.  The moving trailers didn’t feature the most powerful element of the book — the narrator Death and I wondered if he had been eliminated.  That troubled me as he really makes the book so transcendent. And so I was very happy to come across a very informative PW article about the movie with the following:

One of the most critical choices that Percival would make concerned the role that Death would play in the film. While in the book Death’s voice is ubiquitous, Percival did not want Liesel’s story to be overshadowed by a voice-over narration or the physical presence of a Death character. “I didn’t want to have Death narrating throughout the entire film,” he said, because of concerns that “it would take viewers out of the film and it might have lessened the connection with the characters.” Visually, wide-angle, high camera shots served as a means to “reinforce the idea of a third party watching the story,” allowing Death to be present as a character while also not “taking the audience outside the narrative.” Finding just the right actor to be the voice of Death, speaking only intermittently throughout the film, was a struggle: “We just knew that Death had to be warm, witty, wry, and have the welcoming but knowledgeable nature of someone we would trust and be drawn to,” Percival said in the press release. Eventually, the English actor Roger Allam was cast.


Here are some clips (sans Death):

And here is the official international trailer:

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