‘Love, Nina’ to be on TV

Love, Nina: despatches from family lifeNina Stibbe’s prize-winning book ‘Love, Nina’ is being turned into a five part drama of thirty minute episodes to be shown on BBC One. It won the non-fiction Book of the Year award at the Specsavers National Book Awards 2014.

Nick Hornby will adapt it, his first drama for TV. He said: “Love, Nina has already attained the status of a modern classic, and I am so happy that I’ve been given the opportunity to adapt it. We want to make a series that is as charming, funny and delightful as Nina Stibbe’s glorious book.”

Love, Nina: despatches from family life by Nina Stibbe – In the 1980s Nina Stibbe wrote letters home to her sister in Leicester describing her trials and triumphs as a nanny to a London family. There’s a cat nobody likes, a visiting dog called Ted Hughes (Ted for short) and suppertime visits from a local playwright. Not to mention the two boys, their favourite football teams, and rude words, a very broad-minded mother and assorted nice chairs. From the mystery of the unpaid milk bill and the avoidance of nuclear war to mealtime discussions on pie filler, the greats of English literature, swearing in German and sexually transmitted diseases, ‘Love, Nina’ is a wonderful celebration of bad food, good company and the relative merits of Thomas Hardy and Enid Blyton.

 

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Rowan Atkinson will be French detective Maigret

The madman of Bergerac

Two films featuring the French detective Jules Maigret, created by Georges Simenon, have been commissioned by ITV and  go into production this September. Rowan Atkinson will play Maigret. Penguin Classics has so far published 16 of the Maigret novels, with the remaining 59 due at a rate of one per month.

The films will be “Maigret Sets a Trap” and “Maigret’s Dead Man.”

Simenon’s son John, one of the executive producers, said: “Maigret has been part of our family for almost nine decades, and we are bringing together one of the best-known characters in world literature with one of the greatest international stars. I have no doubt my father, like me, would have approved of Rowan’s casting and been very excited to see him inhabit his most renowned creation.”

 

Write like the Wind – Not

Game of thronesIf you’re waiting for G. R. R. Martin to finish ‘The Winds of Winter,’ Book 6 of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels — it won’t be published in 2015.  Just  some  “prequel novellas” based in Westeros which are expected later this year.  His publisher says: “These are increasingly complex books, and require immense amounts of concentration to write. Fans really ought to appreciate that the length of these monsters is equivalent to two or three novels by other writers.”

Season 5 of Game of Thrones is back on Sky Atlantic on 13th April, based on Book 4, A Feast for Crows, and parts of Book 5, A Dance With Dragons. Game of Thrones has large number of teenage actors who are growing up fast so HBO intend to end the show with Season 7 in 2017.

Two more novels were announced nearly a decade ago – The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring. At the speed G. R. R. Martin writes, plus the length of the novels, it could be a long time before the last one is published.

Martin has said the TV show is like a “freight train” barrelling down on him, as he tries to lay track in front of it. The YouTube song imploring him to finish books six and seven, “Write Like the Wind,” is now nearly 3 years old.

He insists he’ll be done when he’s done – he may even expand the series to eight or nine books if he feels like it — it wouldn’t be the first time the number of books has grown. So the screen version may beat the book it was based on for the first time in history! Martin told show producers key plot points years ago to cover that eventuality. So he can, if he wants to, write prequels before he finishes the series …..

The final word goes to the author. At the 2013 Comic-Con event w00tstock., the musicians behind “Write Like the Wind,” began to sing their urgent instruction to Martin — who unexpectedly emerged on stage to destroy their guitars.

Poldark returns

Jacket Image

Anyone remember Poldark? Set in 18th century Cornwall with a dashing hero….You do have to be over a certain age to remember it, as it was first on telly 1975-1977.

Well it’s coming back to BBC1 as a brand new eight part series. It will be based on the novels “Poldark” and “Demelza,”the first two in the Poldark series. The novels were written by author Winston Graham, and Pan Books are reissuing them to tie in with the series. The new editions are on order and many of Winston Graham’s other novels are in stock.

Pan Macmillan will also publish a new edition of “Poldark’s Cornwall”, in which Graham talks about the area that inspired his books. This new edition will be published in hardback on 23rd April 2015.

Robin Ellis played Poldark in the 70s series. This time Aidan Turner has been cast in the role. He played Kíli in the Hobbit, John Mitchell in Being Human and Dante Gabriel Rossetti in Desperate Romantics.

 

Olive Kitteridge by Elisabeth Strout – review

Olive KitteridgeOlive Kitteridge by Elisabeth Strout has been showing as a mini series on Sky Atlantic. If you would like to read the book, we have a copy in stock. She has a new title The Burgess Boys, also in stock.

Here’s the New York Times review by Louisa Thomas from when it was first published in 2008.

“Elizabeth Strout brings to life a ‘hardscrabble community’ on the coast of Maine. One story takes place at the funeral reception of a man whose wife has just learned of his infidelity. Another features a hostage-taking in a hospital. Elsewhere, an old lover surprises a lounge pianist, sending her reeling back into painful memories. An overbearing mother visits her wary son and his boisterous, pregnant wife. Most stories turn on some kind of betrayal. A few document fragile, improbable romances. They encompass a wide range of experience.

The presence of Olive Kitteridge, a seventh-grade math teacher and the wife of a pharmacist, links these 13 stories. A big woman, she’s like a planetary body, exerting a strong gravitational pull. Several stories put Olive at the center, but in a few she makes only a fleeting appearance. It’s no coincidence that the two weakest stories are the ones in which she is merely mentioned. Without her, the book goes adrift, as if it has lost its anchor.

She isn’t a nice person. As one of the town’s older women notes, “Olive had a way about her that was absolutely without apology.” Olive’s son puts it more bluntly. “You can make people feel terrible,” he tells her. She dismisses others with words like “hellion” and “moron” and “flub-dub.” After swapping discontents, she says to a friend, “Always nice to hear other people’s problems.”

But as the stories continue, a more complicated portrait of the woman emerges. Olive may hurl invectives at her son, but she also loves him, almost more than she can bear. Her husband is a kind man and she loves him too, although she has trouble expressing it. She’s prone to “stormy moods,” as well as “sudden, deep laughter,” and she harbours a sense of compassion, even for strangers.

In one story, Olive bursts into tears when she meets an anorexic young woman. “I don’t know who you are,” she confesses, “but young lady, you’re breaking my heart.” “I’m starving, too,” Olive tells her. “Why do you think I eat every doughnut in sight?” “You’re not starving,” the girl replies, looking at this large woman, with her thick wrists and hands, her “big lap.” “Sure I am,” Olive says. “We all are.”

It takes extraordinary presumption to say this to a girl who is starving to death, but from Olive the remark seems well-earned. Because the main thing we learn about her is that she has a remarkable capacity for empathy, and it’s an empathy without sentimentality. She understands that life is lonely and unfair, that only the greatest luck will bring blessings like a long marriage and a quick death. She knows she’s been rotten; she has regrets. She understands people’s failings — and, ultimately, their frail hopes.

Just as Olive’s self-awareness and empathy develop over the course of the book, so does the reader’s. Strout’s prose is quickened by her use of the “free indirect” style, in which a third-person narrator adopts the words or tone a particular character might use. “The tulips bloomed in ridiculous splendor” is a narrative statement — but “ridiculous” is very much Olive Kitteridge’s word. Similarly, in a description of a pianist, the clucking of communal disapproval creeps in: “Her face revealed itself too clearly in a kind of simple expectancy no longer appropriate for a woman of her age.” These moments animate Strout’s prose in the same way that a forceful person alters the atmosphere in a room.

 The pleasure in reading “Olive Kitteridge” comes from an intense identification with complicated, not always admirable, characters. And there are moments in which slipping into a character’s viewpoint seems to involve the revelation of an emotion more powerful and interesting than simple fellow feeling — a complex, sometimes dark, sometimes life-sustaining dependency on others. There’s nothing mawkish or cheap here. There’s simply the honest recognition that we need to try to understand people, even if we can’t stand them.”

 

J K Rowling’s Cormoran Strike to be adapted for BBC1

The cuckoo's callingJ.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike crime novels, which were written under the pen name of Robert Galbraith are to adapted for BBC1. Cormoran Strike, a former army officer turned private investigator will feature in the first book of the series to be adapted.

 “The Cuckoo’s Calling,” sees Strike look into the supposed suicide of a model, who plunges to her death from a balcony in London’s Mayfair.

 The series will be produced by Bronte Film and TV, which is run by Rowling and Neil Blair. Bronte also produced the adaptation of Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy,” which was commissioned by the BBC and HBO, and airs on BBC One in February.

 Rowling revealed the news about the Cormoran Strike series herself, tweeting: “My friend @RGalbraith’s first novel is going to be a TV drama on @BBCOne. He’s very excited, but expressing it with characteristic silence.”  She added: “I am exactly as excited as he is.”  

She will advise on the project, “with the number and length of episodes to be decided once the creative adaptation process has formally begun,” the BBC said. Casting is underway.

 

 

 

New TV version of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall will be true to the book

Bring up the bodiesBBC2’s six-part adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Tudor novels Wolf Hall  and Bring up the Bodies has been filmed and the BBC is convinced that the drama is going to be a hit.

The production stars Damian Lewis as Henry VIII and Mark Rylance as his wily chief minister Thomas Cromwell

Hilary Mantel recently said at the Cheltenham Literature Festival that she hoped the series would not reflect the “nonsense” of previous inaccurate historical dramas- ‘As soon as you decide this is too complicated for the viewer, or history is an inconvenient shape and can’t we just tidy it up a bit, then you fall into a cascade of errors which ends in nonsense.’

Referring to The Tudors TV series, broadcast on the BBC in 2007,  she accused its creators of dumbing-down, saying: ‘At some point, someone had decided that it was too complex for Henry VIII to have two sisters, so they rolled them into one. ‘Then they had to find a fictitious king for her to marry, so I think they invented a king from Portugal unknown to history. It’s so shaming, and it stems from not trusting the intelligence of the viewer. I think the problem was that there would be too many Marys in the story. But what do I do? Every second man in Henry VIII’s England is called Thomas.’

She added: ‘At any one time, there are five Thomases on the page, all shouting at each other. The only thing to do is let the reader in on it. Admit the difficulty. No one ever pretended historical fiction was easy and we should share that difficulty.’

Damian Lewis shas aid: “I think she was quite rightly concerned that her books might be abused in some way. But she needn’t worry because of the people who are involved in this particular project. Peter Kosminsky (the director) is known for his attention to detail and his love of politics. This is really a political book, they’re not presented as roister-doistering Tudor romps, that’s not what she wrote and that’s not what we’ve filmed.”