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Posts Tagged ‘Charles Dickens’

Charles Dickens vs. 30 Readers

Thirty writers and actors joined a marathon reading of the classic holiday tale, A Christmas Carol at New York City’s Housing Works Bookstore Cafe before the holidays. In an article about the event, Bookish compared the reading to a similar reading staged by Charles Dickens in 1867. Editor’s note: We’ve added some commentary from Housing Works Books below.

A trailer for an animated adaptation is embedded above. Here’s more from  Bookish: “Dickens was greeted with eager fans who waited for tickets overnight in the cold, wrapped in blankets and huddled around bonfires to keep warm. The cops were called in for crowd control. On the first night of his New York tour, a sold-out audience of more than 2,000 literary socialites and powerful businessmen gathered in the grand Steinway Hall by Central Park. They cried, laughed, and interrupted with applause during Dickens’ reading.”

According to the article, only about “a half-dozen” of the attendees stayed for the entire 3-hour reading. Literary enthusiasts aren’t what they used to be in the 19th century. Bah, humbug!

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Oprah Winfrey’s Double Dickens Book Club Pick

Oprah Winfrey picked a classic double header for her latest book club selection, choosing Charles DickensGreat Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities.

During her announcement, Winfrey noted: “I’m going old, old school … Normally I only choose books that I have read, but I must shamefully admit to you all that I have never read Dickens.”

Winfrey will use Penguin’s new $20 paperback containing both books and nearly 800 pages. Amazon noted yesterday they have free Kindle editions of both titles. Penguin offers a $7.99 digital edition that includes illustrations, author background, and historical information.

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London Museum Seeks $40,000 to Preserve Charles Dickens’ Manuscripts

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London seeks donations to preserve and restore three handwritten Charles Dickens manuscripts from acid paper rot. They hope to raise £25,000 (more than $40,000) to save the manuscripts.

The Guardian has a quote from John Meriton, the museum’s deputy keeper of word and image: “At the moment we can’t display these manuscripts safely because they are so damaged and so fragile … They were last conserved in the 1960s, when they were rebound and placed in what are called ‘guard books’. But the backing paper used, unfortunately, was very acidic, causing a lot of stress to the original manuscript leaves.”

According to the article, the collection includes A Tale of Two Cities and David Copperfield. The other manuscript, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, was never published.  (Via CBC News)

Thousands of Protesters Fight to Keep The Hobbit in New Zealand

New Zealand activists are fighting to keep filming for the upcoming The Hobbit adaptation in that country, the same place where Peter Jackson filmed the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. According to these passionate protesters, “New Zealand is Middle Earth.”

The Guardian reports that Warner Bros. executives will decide this week if the shoot will be in New Zealand.  Prime Minister John Keys will personally oversee the negotiations, hoping that producers will make a decision in his country’s favor.

The article adds: “A dispute over pay and conditions led producers to hint that they might move filming to another country. Carrying banners proclaiming ‘New Zealand is Middle Earth’ and ‘We Love Hobbits,’ a reported 2-3,000 people gathered in New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, and other cities such as Auckland and Christchurch in advance of a visit by executives from the studio Warner Bros.”

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It Was the Best of Tweets, It Was the Worst of Tweets

frenchrevolution.jpgIn honor of Bastille Day, author Matt Stewart will publish “The French Revolution” entirely on Twitter, estimating it will take 3,700 tweets to micro-blog his 480,000-character debut novel–tweeting at the revolutionary rate of one tweet every 15 minutes.

In comparison, Charles Dickens serialized his French revolutionary novel, “A Tale of Two Cities,” in a series of weekly installments. For readers less inclined to read an entire novel on Twitter, Stewart has a Scribd version as well.

Here’s more from his website: “‘The French Revolution’ is an epic San Francisco tale, exploring the haywire extremes of the French Revolution within the microcosm of a dysfunctional family. Zany, tragic, imaginative, funny—the incisive wit and wordplay of Junot Diaz meets the multi-layered precision plotting of Jonathan Franzen.”

What of the Harry Potter Offshoots?

The question is very much on the minds of many who follow everything related to Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling and the WSJ’s Jeff Trachtenberg asks the question in more detail. With the final volume in the series slated for publication on July 21, will it mean that few additions will be made to the more than 190 Potter-related titles in print and the thousands of fan fiction pieces? Perhaps, but that won’t stop some. “My suspicion is that there will be a rush of books after the series ends,” says Daniel Nexon, an assistant professor in the government department at Georgetown University who co-edited HARRY POTTER AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, published last year by Rowman & Littlefield. “Having the final book out will generate a lot of buzz, and they’ll look at that frenzy as one last big marketing opportunity.”

But that flurry will eventually slow as time passes. “We’ll probably see fewer titles. The energy that comes from a release of a new book in the series will be over,” says Roger Scholl, the editorial director of Bertelsmann AG’s Currency/Doubleday business imprint, who edited Tom Morris‘s IF HARRY POTTER RAN GENERAL ELECTRIC. Still, some caution against underestimating the passion of Harry Potter readers. John Granger, an English teacher at Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pa., says academics will attempt to fix Rowling’s place in the cultural firmament, much as they continue to do so for such writers as Charles Dickens and Agatha Christie. “I’m fairly certain Potter-mania will not go the way of disco and the hula-hoop,” says Granger, who is currently working on HARRY MEETS HAMLET AND SCROOGE that will explore Harry’s literary antecedents.

Books into Theme Parks

If there’s a third one out there, then I can safely call the transformation of books into theme parks a bona fide trend. But for now, let’s gawp at the latest news on this front:

First is the announcement that Dickens World, a theme park devoted to – you guessed it – the work and life of Charles Dickens, has had its opening delayed to May 25. The BBC reports that the one-month delay of the four-acre attraction in Chatham, Kent had been caused by a problem with the standard of some of the materials supplied for their interactive shows. A spokeswoman said: “Dickens World is a complex visitor attraction. Some of the elements for the interactive displays are coming from overseas and at a project meeting this morning it was decided that they weren’t sufficiently finished to our standards.”

Then there’s the inevitable theme park for Harry Potter, as the Sun reports Universal Studios is close to finalizing a deal to build Harry Potter World at its amusement park in Orlando, Florida. The park, once built, will include rollercoasters and rides based on the plots of JK Rowling‘s novels. Nikki Finke actually broke the story first on her blog last Friday, and has more details on the plans. I must say I would totally ride a Quidditch-themed rollercoaster… and Ron says the final blueprints had better include a Diagon Alley shopping strip, too.

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