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A Long Weekend, Remembering Carolyn Reidy, and New Adaptations: This Week in Book News

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It’s Victoria Day Weekend here in Canada (or May 2-4 if you will), so heading into the long weekend means our news roundup is coming at you a day early this week. As is tradition with May 2-4s, it will probably rain all weekend (even though this weekend is supposed to kick off Canadian summer), but I’m looking forward to it nonetheless. Even if we are sheltering in place, who doesn’t love a four day weekend?

I’m not sure if it’s because it’s only Thursday, or if publishing has just had a slow week, but the news portion of the roundup is a little light this week, so I tacked on some fun articles at the end.


Unfortunately we’re starting out on a sad note this week. Carolyn Reidy, the CEO of Simon and Schuster, died suddenly of a heart attack this week.

Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy Dies of A Heart Attack – Publishers Lunch

Carolyn Reidy, ceo of Simon & Schuster since 2008, died Tuesday morning after suffering a heart attack. She turned 71 earlier this month. The news was announced by S&S evp, operations and cfo Dennis Eulau. He writes: “Carolyn was both an exemplary leader and a supremely talented and visionary publishing executive….

As social distancing measures start to be lifted around the world, there have been many articles about how booksellers are approaching reopening, both here in North America and overseas. I found this one in the New York Times to be the most comprehensive when it comes to different tactics booksellers are taking to start reopening their doors.

For Bookstore Owners, Reopening Holds Promise and Peril

“The staff resoundingly said, ‘We are not ready,'” she said. Among retail businesses, bookstores, especially smaller independent stores, face particular challenges as they navigate reopening. Many indies occupy cramped spaces with warrens of bookshelves, and serve as community centers and cultural outposts as much as retail operations.


The first state approved English book is being published in North Korea.

The First State-Approved North Korean Novel in English

Friend by Paek Namnyong (Columbia University Press, 2020) was first published in 1988 in North Korea where it became a bestseller and a television series that was eventually cancelled. Thirty years later, Friend has become the first state-sanctioned North Korean novel to be published in English, translated by Immanuel Kim.


Jennifer Lopez’s daughter Emme has secured her first book deal at the age of twelve. The children’s book, which will be title Lord Help Me, will be about celebrating every day faith and will include a collection of the author’s daily prayers.

Jennifer Lopez announces daughter Emme is releasing children’s book

Jennifer Lopez is a proud mama after announcing her daughter Emme Muñiz is set to become a published author in the fall. The actress and singer shared with her fans on social media on Wednesday that the 12-year-old will be releasing a book titled Lord Help Me about her faith.


Netflix has announced an adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s new novel, The Lying Life of Adults.

Netflix to adapt Elena Ferrante’s The Lying Life of Adults

Netflix is to adapt the Elena Ferrante novel The Lying Life of Adults as a TV series in collaboration with Italian production house Fandango. The streaming giant has picked up the rights to the book, which was published in Italy last November.

And AMC has secured the rights to two Anne Rice series, The Vampire Chronicles and The Lives of Mayfair Witches, which include a total of eighteen titles. I, for one, am always on board for more Lestat and can’t wait to see what comes of this deal.

AMC Is Sucking the Rights From Anne Rice’s Vampire Novels

After several years of patiently waiting to be invited into a network’s garlic-free home, the original queen of sexy vampire literature, Anne Rice, is finally coming to the small screen. AMC announced today that it has acquired Rice’s “major literary works” of The Vampire Chronicles series and The Lives of the Mayfair Witches series, which will be adapted in whatever way the network deems the best fit.

Robert Downey Jr. will be adapting the comic Sweet Tooth, written by Toronto native Jeff Lemire, for Netflix.

Robert Downey Jr. adapting Sweet Tooth comic by Toronto’s Jeff Lemire for Netflix | CBC Books

Books Sweet Tooth follows Gus, a human boy/deer hybrid, who leaves his isolated upbringing to discover that America is an apocalyptic wasteland. Toronto comic creator Jeff Lemire’s original series Sweet Toothis being developed as an eight-episode show for Netflix.

While we still have to wait for the on screen adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s masterpiece, The Sandman (thanks, Covid-19), an audiobook is going to be released this summer and the casting is what dreams are made of.

James McAvoy lands a Dream role in ‘The Sandman’ Audible adaptation with Neil Gaiman

Golden Globe winner Taron Egerton, The Lord of the Rings star Andy Serkis, The Walking Dead’s Samantha Morton, and more round out the cast. A adaptation might still feel like a dream, since it looks like the coronavirus situation put a stopper in Netflix’s planned series for the time being, but one is still coming sooner than later.


A new database, based on the records of the previous owner of famed Paris bookstore Shakespeare and Co., makes it possible to see the reading habits of some of your 20th century favourite authors.

This new database shows the reading habits of major 20th-century authors.

When Sylvia Beach, the New Jersey native who published Ulysses and opened Paris’ Shakespeare and Co. ( “the most famous bookstore in the world”), died in 1962, Princeton University purchased and catalogued her papers.

This week marks the 95th anniversary of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. To celebrate, Bookmarks has collected the first reviews of every one of her novels.

The First Reviews of Every Virginia Woolf Novel

Ninety-five years ago this week, Mrs. Dalloway- arguably the most famous work by iconic modernist writer and pioneer of the stream of consciousness narrative technique, Virginia Woolf-was first published. Capturing the complex and disquieting interiority of Clarissa Dalloway, a fictional high-society woman in post-WWI England, over the course of a single day, it is considered to be one of the greatest novels of the 20th century.


If you’ve been having trouble reading during the pandemic, this article in Vox helps explain why our attention spans may be suffering.

Why it’s so hard to read a book right now, explained by a neuroscientist

Something I’ve heard quite often during the pandemic is, “I can’t read anymore.” That’s mostly because I write a recommendations column where I match people with books to suit their moods, and the mood a lot of people are in right now is “terrified, angry, and sad,” which makes it hard for them to focus on anything, even a book.

Alternatively, if you’re still reading but would prefer something short and sweet, Lit Hub has collected the best contemporary novels under 200 pages.

The 50 Best Contemporary Novels Under 200 Pages

About a month ago, we published a list of 50 of the best contemporary novels over 500 pages, for those of you who suddenly have a lot of extra time on your hands. But for those of us who suddenly h…

And lastly, a fun list to end our roundup: Crime Reads has ranked the most iconic detective sidekicks. Personally, I would have put Veronica Mars and Mac higher on the list, but that’s just me.

The Most Iconic Detective Sidekicks, Ranked

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your eyes. The time has come to do a giant, comprehensive ranking of the detective sidekicks that have graced crime fiction. This list spans books, film, and television. It’s big. It’s long.

Have a great long weekend, folks!


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