Today in books and publishing: Laura Ingalls Wilder books slated for adaptation; Thurber prize winners; Bill O'Reilly's book on JFK's assassination; four new hunting memoirs.
Little House on the Prairie goes Hollywood. Movie execs are packing the Laura Ingalls Wilder universe up in a covered wagon and hauling it off to Hollywood. David Gordon Green (who helmed Pineapple Express and George Washington) is slated to direct an adaptation of Little House on the Prairie, with the script in the hands of Shame and The Iron Lady screenwriter Abi Morgan. This would be another strange turn in Green's career, which has seen him go from tender low-budget dramas to star-studded stoner comedies. It would be another shift in direction for the Little House franchise. Wilder's frontier narratives were previously been turned into a popular TV show in the 1970s and '80s, but have never been adapted for the big screen. [The Guardian]
Bill O'Reilly will close the book on the JFK assassination. Finally, we'll get some closure on who killed JFK now that Fox News pundit Bill O'Reilly is writing a book on the subject. Killing Kennedy is O'Reilly's follow-up to last year's best-selling Killing Lincoln, both co-written with Martin Dugard. O'Reilly admits that he's not a historian, and that he lets Dugard do all the research. Then he waltzes in and "writes" the copy, producing, "history that's fun to read" in a "populist way. No pinheaded stuff, just roar it through!" Many historians criticized his last book for inaccuracies, but Bill's pays no mind to the haters. "These guys toil in obscurity their whole lives, and a punk like me comes along and sells 2 million copies. They're not happy." As with any JFK assassination book, the million dollar question is whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. "I know that Oswald killed Kennedy," O'Reilly tells USA Today. "Now, was he pushed? Encouraged to do it by outsiders? Possibly. Possibly. Was he sitting down with Fidel Castro? No." However, "There were people around Oswald who shouldn't have been there." Will O'Reilly's new book lay out a vast, paranoid conspiracy to kill the president hatched by Communists, the Mafia, the military and Hollywood? This book might just turn out to be even more disorientingly postmodern than Don DeLillo's Libra. [USA Today]
Hunters aim to sell books. You want a book deal? Go kill some animals. That was enough for the four authors who've come out with hunting memoirs recently, anyway. Tracking the trend underlying Lily Raff McCaulou's Call of the Mild, Steven Rinella's Meat Eater, Georgia Pellegrini's Girl Hunter, and Tovar Cerulli's The Mindful Carnivore, The New York Times' Dwight Garner writes, "These young memoirists have loaded their rifles and shotguns for complicated reasons, including culinary one-upmanship." Ted Nugent's Kill It & Grill It these books aren't. The hunters write that their reasons for "harvesting" their own meat are more in tune with Michael Pollan's worldview than Elmer Fudd's. "They no longer wish to have an anonymous hit man between themselves and supper. They want to thoughtfully stare their protein in the face, to take locavorism to blood-flecked new heights." [The New York Times]
Calvin Trillin wins this year's Thurber Prize. The author of About Alice and Obliviously on He Sails won the 2012 Thurber Prize for American Humor. Calvin Trillin has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1963 and writes "deadline poetry" for The Nation. His latest book Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin: Forty Years of Funny Stuff collected his humorous writing. The award comes with $5,000 and a spiffy crystal plaque. He joins the likes of previous recipients Ian Frazier, David Sedaris, Jon Stewart and David Rakoff. In this interview with The Paris Review, he recalls the moment he realized he was funny:
At Sunday school when I was about eleven. We came to the part in the Bible or the Talmud, whichever it is, with the famous phrase, “If I forget thee, oh Yerushalayem, may my right hand lose its cunning and my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth.” I stood up with my right hand gradually becoming noticeably weird and said: If I forget thee, O Yerushalayem, may my right hand lose its cunning and my tongue cleave to duh woof of my mout. Everybody laughed except the teacher, who ejected me from the classroom and accused me of self-hatred.