Category: History & Politics

Can You Guess the Bookish Emmy Winners (That Aren’t Game of Thrones)?

Last night the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards were the light of many viewers eyes. The final season of Game of Thrones might have lead the charge with no less than thirty-two nominations, but history was made when Billy Porter became the first openly gay black man to win an Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a drama series for his work in “Pose.”

In addition, Fleabag took home four Emmys, Chernobyl took home three, Ozark and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel took home two each.

But besides Game of Thrones taking home Outstanding Drama Series (no comment) and Peter Dinkage taking home Outstanding Supporting Actor, do know what other bookish adaptations took home Emmys?

 

A Very English Scandal

Image Via IMDB

 

They were A Very English Scandal

 

Killing Eve

Image Via Amazon

 

…and Killing Eve.

 

 

A Very English Scandal is a true crime non-fiction novel by John Preston. Published on May 5th, 2016, the novel details how in 1979 Jeremy Thrope, a Liberal Party leader who served in Parliament, stood trial over accusations that he hired a hitman to kill his alleged ex-lover, Norman Scott.

The book details Thorpe’s early, secretive love life, at a time when sexual activity between men was illegal, his subsequent public exposure, and how he was acquitted at trial.

The Guardian described the novel as “a real page-turner” and claimed that it was “probably the most forensic, elegantly written and compelling account of one of the 20th century’s great political scandals”

Of course the book got an adaptation, and the three-part series that got a premiere on BBC One on May 20 2018 and on Amazon Prime on June 29 2018.

 

Jeremy Thrope and Norman Scott

Real Life VS Fiction / Image Via The New York Times

 

Hugh Grant stared in the show as Jeremy Thorpe, the former Liberal Party Leader,

Ben Whishaw portrayed Norman Josiffe/Norman Scott, Jeremy’s alleged lover…

 

Monica Dolan as Marion Thorpe

Image Via The Telegraph

 

…and Monica Dolan played Marion Thorpe, Jeremy’s wife.

The Rotten Tomatoes‘s critical consensus on the show reads, “Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw impress in A Very English Scandal, an equally absorbing and appalling look at British politics and society” and Metacritic gave the miniseries a weighted average rating of 84 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating “universal acclaim”.

 

Hugh Grant

IMAGE VIA INDIE WIRE

 

Hugh Grant got a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, but lost to Jharrel Jerome’s portrayal of Korey Wise in When They See Us.

 

Russell T Davies

Image Via Radio Times

 

Russell T Davies got a nomination for “Best Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Drama,” but lost to Craig Mazin, writer of HBO’s Chernobyl, the show that made HBO Viewers everywhere regret cancelling their HBO subscription when Game of Thrones ended.

 

Stephen Frears

Image Via DGA

 

Stephen Frears got a nomination for “Best Directing for a Limited Series”, but lost to Don Roy King, director of the always-funny-sometimes-hilarious Saturday Night Live.

 

Ben Whishaw

The Independent

 

Ben Whishaw got the nomination for “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie,” but thing weren’t looking too good for him.

See, the real Norman Scott is the only one of the main cast still alive, and he told the Irish News back in May that:

Artistic license is fine but this isn’t my story. And there’s nothing funny about someone trying to kill you…I’m portrayed as this poor, mincing, little gay person … I also come across as a weakling and I’ve never been a weakling

Well, Ben Whishaw won the Emmy anyway for his portrayal of Norman Josiffe/Norman Scott.

 

 

Codename Villanelle

Image VIa Amazon

 

Codename Villanelle is a 2018 thriller novel by British author Luke Jennings. Published from 2014 until 2016, the novel is actually a compilation of four serial e-book novellas that follows both Villanelle and Eve Polastri.

Once a Russian orphan, Villanelle murdered the killers of her gangster father before being rescued from prison and trained as a hitwoman by a shadowy group called The Twelve.

Then we have the “dowdy but dogged MI5 agent” Eve Polastri, the agent assassinating with taking down Villanelle.

As Polastri gets closer and closer to Villanelle in her investigation, she develops an obsession with catching this killer while Villanelle interest in this MI5 agent also turns into an obsession.

Publishers Weekly praised the book as an “exceptional spy thriller” with “superior prose” and “cracker jack plot”,

Too juice to resist, the book was adapted by BBC America and renamed Killing Eve.

 

Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri

Image Via TV Line

 

It stars Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri…

 

Jodie Comer as Villanelle

Image Via Killing Eve Wiki – Fandom

 

…and Jodie Comer as Villanelle.

Interestingly, each of the show’s seasons has featured a different female showrunner: Phoebe Waller-Bridge was head writer of season one, while Emerald Fennell took over for season two. Suzanne Heathcote will serve as showrunner for season three.

Before we get ahead of ourselves and binge-watch season 3, let’s find out how season 2 held up at the Emmys…

 

 

To start, Killing Eve was nominated for “Outstanding Drama Series”, but to Emmy Awards-darling Game of Thrones.

 

Emerald Fennell

Image Via The Times

 

However, both Emerald Fennell and writing-team David Benioff and D.B. Weiss of Game of Thrones both ended up losing to Jesse Armstrong from Succession for the “Writing for a Drama Series” award.

Ozark was also repeatedly taking down Killing Eve.

 

Lisa Brühlmann

Image Via Cineuropa

 

Lisa Brühlmann might have got a nomination for “Directing for a Drama Series”, but Jason Bateman, director of Ozark, got the award.

 

Fiona Shaw

Image Via Den of Geek

 

And Fiona Shaw, along with Gwendoline Christie, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, and Maisie Williams from Emmy Awards-darling Game of Thrones, all lost to Julia Garner from Ozark for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series”.

But before the end of the night was the “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series” award where both Jodie Comer (Villanelle) and Sandra Oh (Polastri) were nominated. They faced off against Laura Linney from Ozark and Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones, as well as a host of other talented actresses, but Jodie Comer won out in the end. Funny enough, Comer didn’t invite her parents because, get this, she didn’t think she had a chance.

 

 

So what do you think of these winners? What do you think of the non-adaptation winners? What show was your favorite?

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Deadlines

Snowden’s Memoir Reignites Controversy Over Gov. Surveillance

Six years ago, Edward Snowden shocked the world when he revealed the U.S. government was secretly implementing a plan to collect and monitor every phone call, text message, and email. Now, he’s telling how he helped create this system of mass surveillance and why he chose to expose it in his memoir, Permanent Record. 

 

Image via Amazon.com

 

The book’s release is not without its controversies, though. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit Tuesday, Sep. 18, alleging that the whistleblower’s memoir violates a non-disclosure agreement he signed while working for the CIA and NSA. Strangely, the lawsuit does not seek to prevent distribution of the Permanent Record. Rather, the DOJ asks the court to seize the financial proceeds from the book. G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement:

 

Intelligence information should protect our nation, not provide personal profit.

 

 

Typically, government employees with access to sensitive information have to submit any published work to their agency for review. Permanent Record contains no secrets that haven’t already been published by other news organizations. Snowden did not submit the book to the government for review prior to publication, preferring to publish his uncensored story. Ben Wizner, an attorney for Mr. Snowden who runs the American Civil Liberties Union’s speech, privacy and technology project commented on the circumstances of the lawsuit:

 

Had Mr. Snowden believed that the government would review his book in good faith, he would have submitted it for review. But the government continues to insist that facts that are known and discussed throughout the world are still somehow classified.

 

 

It’s understandable why the U.S. government might want to stifle Permanent Record‘s release seizing its profits. The story he leaked in 2013—of the government’s vast surveillance network capable of monitoring the activity of every person on the Internet—is still shocking today. In a section of the book describing the XKEYSCORE system which is “perhaps best understood as a search engine that lets an analyst search through the records of your life,” Snowden writes:

 

It was, simply put, the closest thing to science fiction I’ve ever seen in science fact.

 

But perhaps the lawsuit will have the opposite effect, driving more attention to it than it originally attracted. Anyway, Permanent Record is set to be one of the most important political books of the year. Still living in exile in Russia, this is Snowden’s chance to tell his story truthfully.

 

 

Featured image via Getty Images, Justin Sullivan 

Have You Read This Book About The Ridges?

Better known as Athens Asylum, the history of this abandoned asylum is detailed in Katherine Ziff’s book, Asylum on the Hill: History of a Healing Landscape. The Amazon description reads:

Asylum on the Hill is the story of a great American experiment in psychiatry, a revolution in care for those with mental illness, as seen through the example of the Athens Lunatic Asylum.

 

Cover for "Asylum on the Hill: History of a Healing Landscape"

Image Via Amazon

 

…but what the heck is Athens Asylum? Why should you know about it? And is it called Athens Asylum or the Ridges?

And why should you care? Well, I’m not going to cover everything, but I am (hopefully) going to give you enough to grab your attention and (hopefully) get you to buy this amazing book.

 

Athens Asylum-Exterior

Image Via Wikimapia.org

 

To start, Katherine Ziff is not only a scholar but also a counselor in the Athens City School District. Don’t be mistaken, however, that doesn’t mean she had an easy task ahead of her when crafting this book.

 

 

Known by a mix and match of different names, this asylum, or state hospital, or haunted-place-you-should-definitely-stay-away-from, the then-known Athens Lunatic Asylum today exists as an asylum you’d typically see in a horror movie.

 

The Ridges-Exterior

Image Via Athens County Visitor’s Bureau

 

With its many abandoned corridors, a graveyard filled with unmarked graves because the families of patients couldn’t afford a proper funeral, a place where one doctor notably performed “more than two-hundred frontal lobotomies he performed at the Athens State Hospital in seven visits between 1953 and 1957,” and even a corpse stain made by a female patient who lost her way inside the many rooms and died only to be discovered a month later by a maintenance worker in the late 70s. Athens, given that it was closed down in 1993 but never torn down, stands as both a haunted house and a tourist spot for prying eyes.

Ziff wanted to find the true face behind this horrific facade.

 

The Ridges

Image Via Pinterest

 

It’s a tough task, to say the least. National Endowment for the Humanities writes how numerous buildings were added to the asylum, including a farm office, a new amusement hall, additional wards and residences, laundry building, power plant, garages, stables, mechanics shops, a firehouse, therapy rooms, just to name a few. To put that into perspective, Legends of America writes that, “by the 1950s the hospital was using seventy-eight buildings and was treating one-thousand-eight-hundred patients” and by “the 1960s the total square footage of the facility was recorded at 660,888 square feet. It was also at this time that its population peaked at nearly two-thousand patients, over three times its capacity.”

 

The Ridges-interior

Image Via mikecollingtonphoto.com

 

Why would Ziff take this task on in the first place?

Well, Ziff told Athens News she wanted to see the constant changes “in how we were going to treat people with mental illness.” As a result she compiled, “a wealth of documentary sources including patient admission documents, case histories, medical notes, the writings of patients and their families, and the letters and files of the institution’s superintendents.”

Even with those notes, Ziff had to put herself in the mindset of people she had no way to contact anymore.

 

The Ridges-Throughout the years

Image Via Abandoned Spaces

 

Despite this challenge, Ziff paints a long history of the asylum since its opening in on January 9th 1874 and its 1993 closing. She expounds on the medical changes made since there, giving new light to when National Endowment for the Humanities wrote that “the asylum once represented the gold standard of treatment.”

 

 

It was a once beautiful place and a bright spot for the future. Completed with ballrooms and amusement parlors, the asylum had not only a stunning interior but a beautiful facade, so beautiful in fact that the Board of Trustees of the Athens Asylum for the Insane’s 1880 annual report reads, “…that our poor unfortunates who are necessarily confined in the wards may look out upon a landscape with pleasure and delight.”

 

The graveyard

Image Via Court Street Stories

 

While that statement hasn’t aged well, it paints a picture of the past, of people looking forwards to the future. In their review of the book, Athens News admirably wrote that Ziff “puts the Lunatic Asylum firmly into historical and political context, and even-handedly examines both the bright and dark aspects of 19th-century mental health treatment.”

 

Katherine Ziff

Image Via The Post Athens

 

For more, read the book. The Amazon description reads:

“Katherine Ziff’s compelling presentation of America’s nineteenth-century asylum movement shows how the Athens Lunatic Asylum accommodated political, economic, community, family, and individual needs and left an architectural legacy that has been uniquely renovated and repurposed. Incorporating rare photos, letters, maps, and records, Asylum on the Hill is a fascinating glimpse into psychiatric history.”

 

Athens

Image Via Athens County Visitor’s Bureau

 

On the record, it seems Ziff has succeeded in her efforts, given that since the book’s publication there is now a two-hour tour every month from 2pm to 4pm led by George Eberts, an expert on the history of the asylum. The dates are available here.

If I were you, I’d go on the tour. It’s a chance to get educated and to look into the past and to see, how people back then, looked towards the future. While Athens hasn’t aged well, it stands as a monument for people trying to do better.

 

 

Featured image courtesy of Megan Bomar

The New Library of Alexandria

The Library of Alexandria was maybe the greatest repository of knowledge in the ancient world. Located in Alexandria, Egypt, right on the Mediterranean, the library was burned by Julius Caesar in 48AD, and centuries worth of written wisdom were lost.

If you’re as upset about this fact as the rest of the internet, it’s probably too soon, but I come bearing good news: though we’ll probably never know exactly the magnitude of what we lost, there is now another library on the site of the burned one.

Image via Ancient World Magazine

 

The Maktabat El-Iskandarīyah (or… Library of Alexandria, in English) opened in 2002, and can hold up to eight million books, though it holds only about 100,000 now. This is equivalent to what scholars believe the Great Library, held in its day. Experts estimate the library won’t be full for another eighty years. The new Library of Alexandria is also home to seven specialized libraries, four museums, two extensive permanent collections, and access to the Internet Archive, a massive digital library.

Image via Pinterest

 

The ancient library was important not only in itself, as one of the most prestigious libraries of its age, but in that it was a model for other libraries which proliferated throughout the area in major cities and even in smaller ones. The new library, though modern, is both a memorial to the one that burned, and proof that knowledge is still valued as it was then. The library houses books in Classical Arabic, English, and French.

Featured image via Travel and Leisure