10 Book Related Things We Find Interesting…This Week (12/17/2011)

10_Book_Related_ThingsWe’re getting close to the end of the year and as a result the book related news is slowing down to a crawl. Still, we’ve managed to pull together and pass along 10 tidbits of book related things that we find interesting for your reading enjoyment. This will be the last entry in this weekly series until 2012. We hope you have a safe and happy holiday season and that all your book related dreams come true.

This week movie adapations and e-reader functionality take center stage as people can’t stop talking incorrectly about We Need to Talk About Kevin and Amazon comes under fire for the poor usability of their new tablet product.  Under fire.  Get it?  Ha!

  1. There’s not much that Lynne Ramsay’s film adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s fascinating novel We Need to Talk About Kevin flat gets right, to the point where journalists are consulting with child psychiatrists to ask the wrong questions. The people involved in The Daily Beast article obviously didn’t read the book, which only serves to showcase just how far off target the movie lands. [You can read our review of the movie here and/or our review of the book here.]
  2. Journalist/novelist Christopher Hitchens died this past Thursday from complications related to esophageal cancer. A devout atheist and fierce political pundit, the British born Hitchens became a US citizen in 2007 and was a staunch supporter of the Iraq war though he was extremely critical of George W. Bush pre 9/11. Many seem divided on his motives, but few question his brilliance.
  3. Speaking of those who have passed, Captain America co-creator Joe Simpson died of natural causes at the ripe old age of 98 this past week.  R.I.P. Simpson.  There’s not anyone who doesn’t just “get” what Captain America stands for by simply looking at him.
  4. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is just about ready to hit theaters, so why not review the movie trailer and trounce the film based on a two minute reel designed to excite audiences? That’s exactly what jewcry.com did this past week, dubbing the film “Extremely Manipulative and Incredibly Irritating.” [You can check out our review of the Jonathan Safran Foer novel the movie is based upon here.]
  5. The backlash against both Amazon’s business practices and their new Kindle Fire has been fierce the past few weeks. The company is promising that a usability update to the Fire will arrive in the next few weeks that will improve the overall performance and the touchscreen responsiveness. We doubt it, but we’re willing to wait and see. To us, the Fire seems like the perfect example of what happens when you slap a product together and rush it out the door in order to cash in on holiday sales. Yes, we know they’re losing money per device, but they expect to make that up on the content side.
  6. Speaking of the Fire and how much it sucks, Jakob Nielson’s usability report slams the device for providing a “disappointingly poor user experience.” His article is a great read for anyone leaning towards plopping down their hard earned coin on the device.
  7. David Fincher’s English language movie adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will hit theaters one day early according to Entertainment Weekly! Are we excited or just desperate to make ten news items this week? You be the judge.
  8. Irvine Welsh looks to have a busy 2012 ahead of him. Three film adaptations based on the Trainspotting author’s work are in production (Ecstasy, Filth, The Magnificent Eleven) and his latest novel, a Trainspotting prequel titled Skag Boys, is set to hit shelves in April. If that’s not enough Welsh news for you, rumors are still circulating that director Danny Boyle would very much like to move forward with a film adaptation of Porno, Welsh’s Trainspotting sequel that was published in 2002.
  9. Get ahead of the game and start building your Spring and Summer to-read lists courtesy of Random House. The publisher made new catalogs detailing their upcoming release plans available via their website this past week in PDF format. Our most exciting find? Dan Chaon (that’s pronounced “Shawn”) has a new short story collection coming early next year. [We named Chaon’s latest novel, Await Your Reply, one of our favorite reads of 2010. You can click here to find out why.]
  10. Not to be forgotten in the Amazon vs. Barnes and Noble war (and certainly not if you live in Canada where they dominate the market), Kobo is launching a book club which will provide free e-books to read and keep for anyone that buys and activates a new Kobo eReader Touch before March of 2012. No word yet if they’ll also provide some sort of forum to facilitate each of the selections or not, but if it’s interaction you’re looking for, why not make a New Year’s resolution to join the Opinionless Book Club!

About Aaron Westerman

Aaron Westerman is the Manager of Web Architecture for a national human services organization. When he's not busy tearing sites apart and rebuilding them, he spends his ever shrinking free time trying to keep up with his twins, reading works of translated literature, and watching far too many Oscar nominated movies.