Writer and actress Jenny Slate is one of the funniest women working in Hollywood today. Now, she’s bringing her signature humor to a new book.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Slate talked about her upcoming book Little Weirds, which is a collection of essays that Slate says “will explore what it’s like to be a female in a misogynistic culture”.
Slate landed a book deal in 2017 with Little, Brown and Company to publish a collection of feminist essays in 2019. Now, EW has an exclusive look at the cover of the book.
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Slate explained why she chose the title Little Weirds:
“The title explains exactly what is inside the book: It is a an expression of my truest voice, a tour of my inner world, and all of it is made of small, odd pieces. I started to call them ‘Little Weirds’ as a way to honor the pieces but not label them traditionally.”
And as for the cover:
“I asked for an image that was fun but not immature, for an image of a celebration of plurality and curiosity and beauty and pleasure. I asked for both a brontosaurus and a hamburger. I asked for a little bit of everything. I think we got it just right.”
Little Weirds will be published November 5th. It is available for pre-order now.
The director of Darkest Hour, the film that earned Gary Oldman his first Academy Award, has sett his sights on another World War II story. The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Joe Wright is in talks to direct an adaptation of Erik Larson’s In The Garden of Beasts, with Tom Hanks to produce.
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This nonfiction book tells the story of William Dodd, who served as the United States Ambassador to Germany during Hitler’s rise in the 1930s. The book also examines Dodd’s family, particularly his daughter Martha who had an affair with Gestapo head Rudolf Diels. Larson chronicles the Dodd family as they slowly begin to realize the horrors and brutality of Nazi Germany.
An adaptation of this novel had been shopped around Hollywood for a while. Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are set to produce the film through their Playtone production company. Though Hanks was rumored to star in the lead role at certain points, it is unknown if this will go ahead.
Ron Howard has found his next project. Deadline reported that the director of Solo: A Star Wars Story will direct an adaptation of J.D. Vance’s popular memoir Hillbilly Elegy.
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Vance writes about growing up in Middle America and the struggles his working-class family endured such as drug addiction and economic strain. The book received polarized reviews from different sides of the political spectrum but became a New York Times bestseller and was regarded as a key book in explaining the outcome of the 2016 election.
Netflix will finance the film, with plans to have a limited theatrical release along with streaming. Vanessa Taylor, co-writer for The Shape of Water, will write the script. Howard will produce the film with his Imagine Entertainment co-founder Brian Grazer.
Though it has not been finalized, shooting is planned for this year. No cast news or release date has been set.
A fixture of the literary world since 1950, the National Book award honors the strongest writing in America. Qualifications necessary to win the award are simple: the book has to have been published no earlier than December 1st of the previous year, and the author must be a U.S. citizen by any possible means. Then there’s the most important rule of all—it has to be the best. Judges have now announced this year’s five winners across five categories.
Fiction: The Friend
Sigrid Nunez has always been a literary heavy-hitter. A winner of the Whiting Writer’s Award, Berlin Prize Fellowship, and the Rome Prize in literature, Nunez has also been a professor at a veritable collection of top institutions—Columbia, Princeton, and The New School. The Friendwas one of the most-anticipated releases of 2018, topping Buzzfeed, Bustle, BookRiot, and PopSugar’s lists.
Nonfiction: The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke
Jeffrey C. Stewart‘s groundbreaking biography chronicles the life and influence of black intellectual Alain Locke, the oft-cited originator of the Harlem Renaissance. Locke’s achievements are innumerable, but historians can list more than a few—he became the first black Rhodes Scholar in 1907, earned a PhD from Harvard University, and quickly became the philosophy chair at Howard University. As a member of the homosexual community, Locke also embraced the progressive and avant-garde.
His anthology The New Negro, a collection of poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction, remains a landmark historical work. Biographer Stewart is also an impressive character—a Yale PhD recipient currently serving as a professor at University of California at Santa Barbara. He has also taught at Harvard University and Howard University. Stewart’s The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke uses newly-available primary sources and oral interviews to pay tribute to one of history’s greatest minds. Stewart also draws attention to thinkers academia often neglects—the gay and gender-nonconforming activists of the Harlem Renaissance.
Justin Phillip Reed‘s collection, Indecency, is as intimate as it is confrontational. Reed blends the political and personal in his exploration of sexuality, masculinity, and the prison-industrial complex. A graduate of the top-10 MFA program at the Washington University in St. Louis, Reed considers “any kind of history—especially concerning Black folks—to always be on the edge of being obliterated” in cities like his own St. Louis, with ‘progress’ often dismantling already-thriving communities of color.
The first winner of the Book Award’s newest category of Translated Literature, American-born Margaret Mitsutani has been living in Japan since the late 1970s. Mitsutani won the National Book Award for her translation of Yoko Tadawa‘s The Emissary, a satirical depiction of an isolationist Japan in the aftermath of unspecified nuclear catastrophe. Tokyo is a radioactive no-man’s-land, and society moves to outer cities like Osaka and Hokkaido, where the robust elderly occupy all government positions—a clear commentary on Japan’s declining birthrate.
Japan’s sealed borders further serve to comment on the sweeping populist and nationalist movements of recent years. Critics describe Mitsutani’s translation as “playful, powerful, and wise.”
Young Adult People’s Literature: The Poet X
Winning a National Book Award for her debut novel is hardly Elizabeth Acevedo‘s only significant accomplishment. As a National Poetry Slam Champion, Acevedo clearly conveys her passion and expert knowledge in prizewinning novel The Poet X. Xiomara Batista is an anomaly in her Harlem community, born to seriously advanced-in-years parents who tout her birth as the kind of miracle their religious devotion incurs—the kind of miracle Xiomara has never believed in. When the rules of religion silence Xiomara, she uses slam poetry to regain her voice.
The novel has a true poet’s touch: it contains three sections of verse, all with Biblical titles juxtaposing the structure of religion with Xiomara’s disbelief. Acevedo says that her experience as an eighth-grade teacher inspired her to write the novel. One Latina student said of contemporary literature: “These books aren’t about us. [These characters] don’t look like us… they don’t walk through the world like us. These ain’t our books.” Now, Acevedo has created a book that is.
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Today is the 43rd birthday of Zadie Smith— a literary powerhouse whose first novel, White Teeth,was published when she was twenty-five. Biracial and the daughter of a Jamaican immigrant, Smith uses recurring motifs of personal, familial, and cultural histories— three things which are occasionally the exact same thing and just as occasionally contradictory to each other. Now a tenured professor at NYU, Smith continues to explore race, class, and the reaches of fate in a way that makes them less of topics to discuss and more of worlds to climb into. To celebrate, here are seventeen quotes on life, writing, and perception from Smith’s full body of novels and essay collections.
“We are so convinced of the goodness of ourselves, and the goodness of our love, we cannot bear to believe that there might be something more worthy of love than us, more worthy of worship. Greeting cards routinely tell us everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time.”
“Ridding oneself of faith is like boiling seawater to retrieve the salt— something is gained but something is lost.”
“The more time I spend with the tail end of Generation Facebook (in the shape of my students) the more convinced I become that some of the software currently shaping their generation is unworthy of them. They are more interesting than it is. They deserve better.”
“People don’t settle for people. They resolve to be with them. It takes faith. You draw a circle in the sand and agree to stand in it and believe in it.”
“He wanted to be in the world and take what came with it, endings local and universal, full stops, periods, looks of injured disappointment and the everyday war. He liked the everyday war. He was taking that with fries. To go.”
“And so it happened again, the daily miracle whereby interiority opens out and brings to bloom the million-petalled flower of being here, in the world, with other people.”
“Stop worrying about your identity and concern yourself with the people you care about, ideas that matter to you, beliefs you can stand by, tickets you can run on. Intelligent humans make those choices with their brain and hearts and they make them alone.”
When you enter a beloved novel many times, you can come to feel that you possess it, that nobody else has ever lived there. You try not to notice the party of impatient tourists trooping through the kitchen (Pnin a minor scenic attraction en route to the canyon Lolita), or that shuffling academic army, moving in perfect phalanx, as they stalk a squirrel around the backyard (or a series of squirrels, depending on their methodology).
White novelists are not white novelists but simply “novelists,” and white characters are not white characters but simply “human,” and criticism of both is not partial or personal but a matter of aesthetics. Such critics will always sound like the neutral universal, and the black women who have championed Their Eyes Were Watching God in the past, and the one doing so now, will seem like black women talking about a black book.
“Not everyone wants this conventional little life you’re rowing your boat toward. I like my river of fire. And when it’s time for me to go I fully intend to roll off my one person dinghy into the flames and be consumed. I’m not afraid.”
“I am the sole author of the dictionary that defines me.”
“There’s always somebody who wants to be the Big Man, and take everything for themselves, and tell everybody how to think and what to do. When, actually, it’s he who is weak. But if the Big Men see that yousee that they are weak they have no choice but to destroy you. That is the real tragedy.”
“If we followed the history of every little country in this world—in its dramatic as well as its quiet times—we would have no space left in which… to apply ourselves to our necessary tasks, never mind indulge in occasional pleasures… Surely there is something to be said for drawing a circle around our attention and remaining within that circle. But how large should this circle be?”
“I am seized by two contradictory feelings: there is so much beauty in the world it is incredible that we are ever miserable for a moment; there is so much shit in the world that it is incredible we are ever happy for a moment.”