As of today, Joan Didion can cross “crowd-funding” off her bucket list. The laconic 79-year-old essayist — who vivisected the '60s, became half of a Hollywood power couple, and more recently wrote two best-sellers about losing her husband and daughter suddenly — will be the subject of a documentary titled (aptly, if unoriginally) We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live. Her nephew, the actor Griffin Dunne, who will co-direct it with documentary veteran Susanne Rostock, put the project up on Kickstarter yesterday. It reached its goal of $80,000 at 10:30, roughly 24 hours later.
There's an apocryphal story in Game of Thrones fandom that goes like this: Around 1997, author George R.R. Martin saw Joel Schumacher's Batman & Robin, and, like many other people, hated it. Martin's ire was particularly drawn to George Clooney's infamous bat-nipples, and he began looking for a way to get literary revenge. Whether or not the story is true, this much is fact: Starting with 1998's A Clash of Kings, the author introduced a new phrase to the Westerosi lexicon: "as useless as nipples on a breastplate." So far in the "Song of Ice and Fire" series, Martin has used the expression to describe everything from dragonglass knives to Grand Maester Pycelle. It's clear: Despite how much GRRM loves nipples in other contexts, he really does not like them on breastplates.
As you may have heard, that gum you like is going to come back in style (read: Twin Peaks is returning to TV). And to prepare fans for the return of the cult hit 25 years after it first debuted, David Lynch's co-creator, Mark Frost, plans to release a novel titled The Secret Lives of Twin Peaks to catch us up on what has happened to the characters since we last saw them. "This has long been a dream project of mine that will bring a whole other aspect of the world of Twin Peaks to life, for old fans and new,” Frost said. “I couldn’t be more thrilled.”
Undeterred by the failure of Animal Practice, NBC is banking once more on the American public's obvious love for adorable animals, giving a put pilot commitment to a TV adaptation of Marley & Me. Or, seeing as the network also ordered another IT Crowd remake, maybe it's just getting in on the ground floor of the sure-to-be forthcoming wave of mid-2000s nostalgia. Both versions of Marley & Me have ended with the death of the eponymous dog, and it's unclear what the story's move to a serialized medium like television means for the beloved pet's longevity. Will Marley die in May sweeps every year, only to return each September as if nothing had changed — or, as in Lost, will the show postpone Marley's fatal case of gastric dilatation volvulus until the show receives a concrete end date? Either way, John Grogan keeps getting those checks.
Michael Chabon says there is still a chance his Hobgoblin project may come to fruition as a television show. “Not by FX, but I hope so,” he told Vulture at the New Yorker Festival party on Saturday. “It’s not entirely a dead parrot,” the author said of the story set in the Nazi era. “We’ll see. It’s almost dead,” he added. There is no action at all on the long-rumored television adaptation of his novel Kavalier & Clay. “I would like to report there was, but no, that one’s still very much dead, as far as I know,” Chabon said. “TV seemed like it was going to be this wonderful new opportunity,” he mused. “So far, it hasn’t been that yet.”
Like so many once-goth teens who grew up in the 1990s, I am a huge Anne Rice fan. Although the last Rice novel that I read was 1998’s The Vampire Armand, I read and reread, often several times, everything she had written before that. Almost all of those books I would heartily give five stars. Since then, though I’ve lost contact with her novels, I have kept up with a lot of her other work, checking in every so often on her website, AnneRice.com.
You can put away your fake third boob, because John Grisham just found an even better way to guarantee that your name will appear in headlines around the world for all the wrong reasons. The best-selling author, who has a new novel coming out next week, told The Telegraph that the U.S. justice system treats people who look at child pornography too harshly. "We have prisons now filled with guys my age. Sixty-year-old white men in prison who've never harmed anybody, would never touch a child," he said. "But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons, went too far and got into child porn."
The 20 books on the short list for the 2014 National Book Awards were just announced. Just as in the other NBA, they can't all be champions: The winners in each category will be announced November 19.
Neil Patrick Harris — or, NPH as I’ll be calling him — has had an enviable life. The 41-year-old actor has starred on two hit TV shows, first as a child star on Doogie Howser, then as lothario Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother. He is a Tony Award–winning actor, an Emmy Award–winning host of the Tonys, president of the Magic Castle, and arguably the biggest out gay male celebrity. You ostensibly get to live all of this amazing life through his new autobiography, Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography, which is written like an adventure book with multiple options. You can hop from page to page or just read it straight through; either way, you will find amusing anecdotes, from the first time he had gay sex to the time Scott Caan tried to get into a “fight” with him.
The Queen of the Tearling — the first installment in a trilogy of novels by Erika Johansen that has already been optioned for a Warner Bros. franchise to star Emma Watson, reuniting her with Harry Potter producer David Heyman — has been called “the female Game of Thrones” and “the lady Game of Thrones.” This is funny, of course, because the female version of Game of Thrones is ... Game of Thrones, which has its own dominating female characters, like Daenerys Targaryen, Cersei Lannister, Brienne of Tarth, Arya Stark, Asha/Yara Greyjoy, Melisandre, and on and on. So while the phrasing in the hype surrounding The Queen of the Tearling (which HarperCollins published in July) is a bit off, some undeniable parallels can be found between the Johansen novel and the George R.R. Martin book series that spawned HBO’s Thrones, and you’ll find references to other fantasy titles as well. Here are a few similarities we found when we finally got around to reading it:
If your first reaction to novelist Patrick Modiano winning this year's Nobel Prize in Literature was to ask, "Who?," then congratulations, you're not French. Almost every announcement of the news has included the note that Modiano is quite obscure outside his home country, so you should feel no guilt for reading this explainer about who Modiano is and what his deal is.
American Horror Story: Freak Show debuted last night, heir to a long legacy of stories built around the weird world of sideshows and human oddities. If AHS has whet your appetite for more of the same, step right up and peer behind the curtain for 11 strange and splendid displays of fiction at its freakiest.
Your newest winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature is French novelist Patrick Modiano. He's not especially well-known outside of France, but in the words of the Nobel committee, Modiano earned the prize "for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation." Last year's winner was Alice Munro, whom you probably like more.
I was a freshman in college when the first episode of Twin Peaks aired. I remember watching it in my dorm room on my tiny portable black-and-white TV. And surely it’s a trick of memory, but I recall it as if a portal opened up before me, into a place not just dark but intimate, jarring, erotic, troubling. I remember feeling like I wasn’t watching the show so much as the show was watching me.
In the years since, I’ve rewatched the full run of the show countless times and can make a strong case for Fire Walk With Me, the feature prequel. I’ve visited Snoqualmie Falls, where many of the show’s exteriors were shot, for the requisite coffee and pie. So I jumped with joy yesterday at the news that Twin Peaks will be returning for a limited run on Showtime in 2016, 25 years after it went off the air. But the debt I owe the show is not just as an ardent fan. As someone who recently published a novel about a small town, a stricken girl, and secrets, I’m strikingly aware how much Twin Peaks has influenced my writing — has, in some ways, written itself on my writing.
It should surprise no one that David Cronenberg has written a novel. He's been adapting literature — both "difficult" classics and high pulp — for decades now. What should be surprising, however, is how long it's taken to write that novel. As Cronenberg explained to us, he's been hoping to do so for even longer than he's been making films. And Consumed, which is published today, is a Cronenbergian beast indeed, fusing his many thematic obsessions with a dense, twisty, tongue-in-cheek genre narrative. It's the story of two photojournalists who become entangled in an intricate mystery involving a French philosopher couple whose marriage may or may not have ended in cannibalism and murder. The elaborate web Cronenberg weaves pulls in the internet, sexual role-playing, amputation, the perils of academia, gruesome scientific research, North Korea, and the Cannes Film Festival, among other things. The director and debut novelist spoke to us recently about the experience of writing fiction after all these years, his inspirations for the book, and, of course, his relationship with technology.
Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry has written — well, dictated — a memoir called Rocks, which will be out on October 7. As you might expect, it’s filled with sex, drugs, and rock and roll. The rock-and-roll stuff will be mostly of interest to Aerosmith superfans. The drugs stuff ends about halfway through, when he gets to the part about kicking his various habits. But the sex? The sex is pretty memorable. His recollections of copulation and the flirting that precedes it run the gamut from the lurid to the vaguely illegal. The best of which is his dalliance with former Laugh-In girl Judy Carne, excerpted here. It’s unknown whether Carne, who turned 75 this year, has the same fond recollections.
The list of surprising facts about Gérard Depardieu grows even longer: In his new autobiography It Happened Like That (Ca C'est Fait Comme Ca), Depardieu reveals that he worked as a prostitute from the age of 10. "I've known since I was very young that I please homosexuals," Depardieu writes, saying that when men attempted to pick him up, "I would ask them for money." (Depardieu cautions that he looked at least 15 at the time, though that fact is maybe not as reassuring as he seems to think.) Robbing his clients provided an additional source of income: "At 20 the thug in me was alive and kicking. I would rip some of them off ... beat up some bloke and leave with all his money." Depardieu's best friend would likely not be appalled at that particular piece of news.