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Book News, Feb. 4th

Happy February, bookworms! (Note: it took me give tries to spell February correctly in this last sentence. That is why someone invented weekends. Clearly, my brain is fried.) One month of 2012 is down and 11 more to go. February is the month of love and Black History, so there’s something for everyone. Also, perhaps you’ve heard of this little thing called the Super Bowl? It’s tomorrow and the New England Patriots (home team represent!) are playing. I fully admit I understand nothing about football and I’ll probably sneak a book into whatever Super Bowl party I attend. But I still want the Patriots to win. Here’s the book news:

  • Starting on a sad note: Polish poet and Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska has passed away at age 88. Her poetry, which I counted among my very favorites, was appreciated for its simple words and playful construction with deeper currents of life underneath. She won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1996, and was referred to as the “Mozart of poetry” by the Nobel selection committee.
  • And as awards season rolls on, the film version of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help won three Screen Actors Guild awards and received a handful of Oscar nominations as well. The cast took home the Best Acting Ensemble Award for their portrayal of the women in a Southern town, the rich white women and the black domestics they hired. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, who portrayed maids Abileen and Minny, respectively, were both nominated for acting Oscars, which will be awarded in late February.
  • Classics be damned? In their analysis of the books available for World Book Night (occurring in April), Book Riot makes a bold case against reading the classics. Their primary argument is that modern readers want to read modern, contemporary literature – literature that reflects their lives – and most classic lit, while classic for a reason, is simply outdated and old-fashioned. I certainly agree with them, to a point. Modern, contemporary novels are much more accessible, especially to reluctant readers of all ages. But I think there’s still a case to be made for the timelessness of classic literature. Most modern love stories are simply rifts on Romeo and Juliet or Pride and Prejudice, after all. What say you, bookworms?
  • So THAT’s how you get a job! Actor Donald Sutherland was apparently so passionate about playing President Snow in the upcoming adaptation of The Hunger Games that he wrote a long, thoughtful analysis of Snow and mailed it to director Gary Ross. Not only did Ross end up casting Sutherland, he also wrote – with author Suzanne Collins’ approval – two additional scenes for Sutherland’s Snow not found in the book. There are hints that the new scenes involve more face-to-face time between Snow and inadvertent rebel leader Katniss and while I’m generally wary of messing with a good book, I think these additions just might be awesome.
  • Now that it’s February, March is only a bit away and with it, The Hunger Games movie. A new trailer for the highly anticipated film was released this week and it literally gave me chills. With more glimpses of Katniss in the arena, a thoroughly entertaining Stanley Tucci (j’adore!) and that infamous Mockingjay pin, the new trailer is making me even more anxious for March.
  • How long until April again? A full-length trailer for the new season of A Game of Thrones on HBO was released and it’s a doozy. Besides whetting the appetite of pretty much every George R.R. Martin fan alive (whether they have HBO or not), it also broke several records. Since being released on Sunday, the video has been viewed more than 3 million times on YouTube, a record for any online HBO promotional piece. The new season starts April 1.
  • And now for the fun stuff, thanks to Book Riot: first up, those clever folks imagine what Downton Abbey might be like if it were cast with characters from literature. Let me just say that I called it first – Violet’s resemblance to Jane Austen’s Catherine de Bourgh; ever wonder what literary men think on Friday date nights? Now you can find out, with a handy flowchart that will take you through their entire (messed-up) thought process; and lastly, any book or movie fan should check out The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, an animated short film nominated for an Oscar. It’s whimsical and fun, exactly like books themselves.

As always, happy reading.

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