How would you sum up the show for viewers who are unfamiliar with the novel?
“It’s like a Jane Austen period drama but with magic and amazing special effects. It’s set at the time of the Napoleonic wars, in a version of England where magic once existed, long ago, but has since died out.
“Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is the story of how magic returns to England, and the two magicians that bring it back. And what goes wrong.”
From this interview with the writer of the forthcoming BBC adaptation.
The excellent news that Netflix is adapting Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events into a television series has me now dreaming that they or another forward-thinking company (HBO? BBC? Showtime?) will consider turning Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials into one. Please, please, please, please, please?
So Goodreads decided to look at their own data to see what is 2014 so-called It book of the year, “It Book” being defined by them as:
They’re the ones that we pass along, that we hope our friends have read so that we can discuss and debate. Love them or hate them, we can’t stop talking about them!
Check out their results here (and then you may discuss amongst yourselves as to what it means in terms of the debate as to whether certain adult readers are going to hell in a handbasket or the opposite).
Holly Black has joined a stellar line-up of children’s authors (to name a few: Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman, Patrick Ness, Eoin Colfer and Neil Gaiman) who have each crafted a short tale for every incarnation of the eponymous Time Lord.
When the original run of e-books ended in November of last year Matt Smith was the incumbent Doctor but now acting heavyweight Peter Capaldi has taken on the role it seems apt that he should be featured in a story.
Black’s story, Lights Out, is unique in many respects. She had the exciting but “super intimidating” task of penning an adventure for the Twelfth Doctor who, when she wrote it over the summer, had yet to appear on our screens. She was given scripts to aid her (“Some of it was blacked out for mysterious reasons!”) and relied on images but she seemed somewhat relieved to have been allowed to edit Lights Out after seeing Capaldi’s debut, Deep Breath back in August. “When I actually saw the episode [Deep Breath] I went back and made a lot of changes,” she tells me. “Because there’s just something so different about seeing Peter Capaldi owning the role onscreen.”
Read the rest here. There is also a fun gallery of jackets for each doctor here. I’ve just ordered this as an audio book— I think it will be a lot of fun to listen to.
What book would you most like to see turned into a movie?
I have, for years, been a bit obsessed with “The Westing Game,” by Ellen Raskin. It’s a young adult murder mystery, about a group of residents in an apartment building, the death of a millionaire in a mansion nearby and their trying to solve clues left by the deceased to win his inheritance. Apparently it has already been made into a movie, but not by me! I’m dying to direct a really dark, moody version of it. Then I read that Gillian Flynn, of “Gone Girl” fame, loved this book growing up, as well. So now my infatuation has rekindled — I want to get her to write the screenplay. Fingers crossed.
Fingers crossed indeed! From Neil Patrick Harris: By the Book.
I love visiting schools. There’s a humbling, Homeric magic in the sight of a crowd of children sitting down waiting to listen to your story. A few months ago, however, a lovely young NQT stepped between me and that crowd and said: “Now we are very lucky to have Frank with us today. We’re going to use our Listening Skills (she touched her ears) to try and spot his Wow Words (what?) and his Connectives so that we can appreciate how he builds the story.” Imagine going on a date with her. “We’re going to have some proteins. Some carbs – not too many – and conversation. If you make me laugh, that’s a physical reaction so it puts you on the erotic spectrum and you might get lucky.”
That’s from “schools are destroying the power of stories” an extract from Frank Cotrell Boyce’s David Fickling Lecture. And if you don’t know Frank Cotrell Boyce’s work you should. In addition to being a screenwriter and one of those who came up with the idea of the queen parachuting into England’s Olympic opening ceremony, he is the author of Millions, Framed, and my personal favorite Cosmic (I’m doing my yearly read aloud of it right now) as well as a trio of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang sequels — they are fabulous middle grade books.