Book Beat: Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, the Alternative Nobel Prize, and Police Challenging THUG

Hello everyone! It’s Emily again, writing from the sweltering heat of my un-airconditioned apartment. I hope those of you experiencing this heat wave have been finding ways to keep cool and stay hydrated. And props to everyone who braved the heat for Canada Day or Independence Day activities this week. You’re certainly more adventurous than me; I’ve just been staying inside in front of the fan. But hey, at least that’s given me time to read and find some interesting book news to share with you.

Greta Gerwig’s Little Women

How many times has Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women been adapted? Apparently not enough, as there’s another film in the works from Columbia Pictures. Greta Gerwig is likely to direct the adaptation, and reports say that she will reunite Oscar-nominated film Ladybird costars Saoirse Ronan and Timothee Chalamet. Other potential cast members include Meryl Streep and Emma Stone.

The response has been a bit mixed among literary fans and moviegoers alike. Some say Little Women is still a relevant tale while others are saying we don’t need another adaptation, especially since the BBC just did one and there are more diverse stories that could be told instead.

What do you think? Does this adaptation sound exciting or unnecessary?

Alternative Nobel Prize

As you may have heard already, the Swedish Academy recently decided they will not name a Nobel Prize in Literature for 2018. This decision is a reaction to various scandals and several resignations within the Swedish Academy itself, and it will mean that instead of a 2018 winner, there will be two prizes in 2019.

But now it seems a non-profit organization called The New Academy has stepped in to decide on a deserving winner this year by awarding an alternative Nobel Prize. The New Academy is the brainchild of Swedish writer Alexandra Pascalidou, and it has gathered a membership of Swedish poets, writers, and artists since its inception after the Swedish Academy’s announcement.

Comedian and actor Bianca Kronlöf says the alt-Nobel is meant to be “a positive counter force to everything sad and fucked up” that’s happened since fall 2017 when #MeToo hit Sweden’s art scene.

The New Academy has asked Sweden’s librarians to nominate two authors for the alt-Nobel. Once nominees are selected, voting will take place during the remainder of the summer. Though the New Academy has no affiliation with the Swedish Academy, the alt-Nobel will be announced in October at the same time as the other regular Nobel Prizes.

South Carolina Police Object to THUG

Despite the buzz regarding the adaptation trailer, Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give continues to be challenged. This time, the challenge comes from the Fraternal Order of Police Tri-County Lodge #3 in South Carolina, who have negatively reacted to seeing the book appear on Wando High School’s ninth grade summer reading list. The lodge is criticizing the inclusion of All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely on that list as well.

Lodge president John Blackmon said that there’s been an “influx of tremendous outrage” over the reading list and questioned why the school is focussing so much on negativity toward police. (Note: only two of eight books on that list deal with police violence). Blackmon also said that since kids of that age have had “very minimal” interaction with police, these books are “almost an indoctrination of distrust of police” and that “we’ve got to put a stop to that.”

The school’s headteacher, Dr. Sherry Eppelsheimer said in response that the school will review the books and report their findings to the superintendent, who will then decide if the books will remain on the list.

Meanwhile, the school has received some support for keeping the books. The National Coalition Against Censorship has offered to help manage the review process, arguing that removing books because of parents’ political objections gives parents too much power over public education. And Neil Gaiman weighed in to say that judging books is not “a legitimate part of the business of policing” and to express doubt about complaints: “John Blackmon claims that they are only responding to the public reaching out to them to complain about the reading list. Because when people don’t like the books their kids are asked to read, they call the police.”

While it is heartening to know that The Hate U Give and All American Boys are getting support against challenges, we should remember that THUG was one of the American Library Associations most challenged books of 2017. If only people cared more about actual police violence than they do about fictional depictions of it.

New Releases This Week

City of Lies by Sam Hawke

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

Trickster Feminism by Ann Waldman

Trickster Feminism

That’s it for this week folks. Stay cool out there, and have a happy Thursday!