Monday, October 15, 2018

Let’s Make This Quick

• I haven’t yet read Lou Berney’s new novel, November Road, a historical thriller tied to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. However, it is already slated for movie adaptation. As Deadline Hollywood reports, Lawrence Kasdan (Silverado, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Solo: A Star Wars Story) “will write and direct, and will produce the film with Shane Salerno in a co-production between Kasdan Pictures and The Story Factory. The producers intend to fast-track the project, and for it to be Kasdan’s next film. Distributors are circling and that part of the deal should be made shortly.”

• Moving from the big screen to the small one, I see in The Killing Times that former West Wing co-star Rob Lowe will be leading the cast of a six-part ITV crime drama called Wild Bill, set in the East Midlands county of Lincolnshire, England. He’ll play Bill Hixon, a “high-flying U.S. police chief” who takes charge of the local police force, based in the port town of Boston. “But Bill discovers the people of Boston are just as smart-mouthed, cynical, and difficult to impress as he is,” writes The Killing Times. “They don’t suffer fools, authority, or algorithms gladly. And the man [Hixon] who’s spent his life keeping the messiness of human intimacy at arm’s length is reluctantly propelled into frontline policing and forced to reconsider his relationship with those closest to him.” The Hollywood Reporter says, “Filming will take place around London and in Lincolnshire from November 2018.” There’s no word yet on when Wild Bill might be ready for viewing.

• “What makes Columbo the greatest TV detective?”

• It’s always interesting to learn how authors organize their books. Idiosyncrasy is more often the rule than the exception, as Emily Temple explains in this piece for Literary Hub. James Dickey, for instance, was a strict alphabetizer. But “Susan Sontag arranged her books ‘by subject or, in the case of literature, by language and chronologically. The Beowulf to Virginia Woolf principle.’ But never alphabetically.” My own books, in case you’re interested, are divided first by category (all of the crime fiction arranged in one room of my house, history in two others, etc.), and then by author according to my preferences.

• In this essay for CrimeReads, Toronto novelist Lisa Gabriele (The Winters) reassess Daphne du Maurier’s famous 1938 novel, Rebecca, in light of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Some good news for book hoarders: “[N]ew research confirms that people who grow up with books at home tend to have higher reading comprehension and better mathematical and digital communication skills. But how many books is enough to make a difference? The magic number seems to be above 80, according to a team of researchers led by senior sociology lecturer Joanna Sikora of Australian National University. Those who had around 80 books at home tended to have average scores for literacy—defined as ‘the ability to read effectively to participate in society and achieve personal goals’—while owning fewer than 80 books was associated with below-average literacy. Literacy continued to improve as the number of books increased to about 350, at which point the literacy rates remained steady.” Hmm. I’d guess that my parents had several hundred books on their shelves (far fewer than the many thousands I own), so I got lucky.

• For The New York Times, artist Ross MacDonald maps out some of the Los Angeles sites familiar from noir fiction, both old and new.

• And it might be best to put on a sweater before reading this story: Swedish author Susanne Jansson selects “five eerie, atmospheric thrillers” set in chilly European climes.

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