Today in books and publishing: Senn Penn wants to adapt a survival memoir; Bruce Wagner grosses Michiko Kakutani out; David Barton's bad history recalled; The New York Times on immigrants' literary tastes.
GUYS, Immigrants read books, and the Times is on it! The latest New York Times literary trend piece takes a look at which books are popular with New York City's various immigrant communities. "In the Babel that is New York City, where nearly 200 languages are spoken and read within the public school system and nearly 40 percent of the population was born abroad, literary tastes among immigrant cultures turn out to be as different as their cuisines," reports Sarah Maslin Nir. Romance novels enthrall Chinese readers, Russians devour diet books, and Polish book buyers can't get enough of a tell-all from a Polish politician's wife. [The New York Times]
Sean Penn in talks to direct Crazy for the Storm adaptation. Crazy for the Storm, Norman Ollestad's harrowing memoir of surviving a plane crash in the San Gabriel mountains, has caught the attention of actor-director Sean Penn. At a young age, Ollestad was forced by his domineering father into strict training to become a competitive downhill skier. Those skills came in handy later, though, when the author was 11 and had to learn to survive after his plane went down in a blizzard. The story shares certain affinities to Penn's last directorial effort, an adaptation of Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Atrocity exhibition. "Stomach-turning, sick-making, rancid, repugnant, repellent, squalid, odious, fetid, disgusting... Photos of dead babies; paparazzi in search of crotch shots of child celebrities; Internet posts celebrating an actor’s getting cancer; violent, graphic group sex; parents pimping out their children..." So begins Michiko Kakutani's review of Bruce Wagner's new novel Dead Stars. [The New York Times]
Publisher makes bad history book history. A few weeks ago, we noted that David Barton's The Jefferson Lies was selected by readers of History News Network as the worst history book still in print. Well, now it's no longer in print. Thomas Nelson is recalling all copies of the book, which features a forward by Glenn Beck, citing factual inaccuracies. In a statement on the book, the publisher explains that it was "contacted by a number of people expressing concerns about The Jefferson Lies. We took all of those concerns seriously, tried to sort out matters of opinion or interpretation, and in the course of our review learned that there were some historical details included in the book that were not adequately supported." [Publishers Weekly]
A gorgeous graphic essay on novelist Thomas Bernhard. Norwegian illustrator Espen Terjesen unpacks Bernhard's work through images and text. [A Piece of Monologue.]
A statue for Agatha Christie. The planned monument will be located in Covent Garden, London, between Great Newport Street and Cranbourn Street. [The Guardian]