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December 23, 2010

Hail, Santa, King of the Elves! 

Gift wrapped from McSweeney’s comes this clever collection of letters to Santa written by Shakespeare characters including Hamlet, Ophelia, Macbeth, and Falstaff.  Who new Romeo and Juliet were such big Taylor Swift fans?     

A Cult Writer’s Cult Writer

The life and works of reclusive True Grit author Charles Portis are examined in this fascinating NY Times feature.  As the Coen brothers’ readapt his masterpiece for the screen, learn why the western writer might just be the most original talent overlooked by American literary culture. 

Jeeves Was Framed

The origin of the mystery writing cliche “the butler did it” is traced by the Guardian to an obscure 1930’s English novel.  Is it possible that Jeeves and his colleagues aren’t the bloodthirsty maniacs we’ve assumed them to be?      

Christmas in Audio

Audiobook super-narrator Scott Brick tells the touching Christmas tale of how vaudeville comedy, vinyl 78’s, and his great-grandfather Jim inspired his chosen career path.

Coen Brothers to Remake True Grit

October 11, 2010

Our beloved and fearless Off the Shelf Blog Leader, Andy, convinced me some months ago to read Charles Portis’s wonderful novel True Grit. He assured me that my vague memories of a John Wayne flick were no guide to the  treasure that awaited me in the novel’s heroine and narrator, Mattie. Andy’s recommendation , as always, was spot on. The novel and Mattie are treasures. Ditto Mattie’s horse, Blackie.  Now, the Coen brothers have made a film adaptation that promises to keep the novel’s wonderful heroine at the center of the story where she belongs.  Their Mattie, young actress Hailee Steinfeld, looks and sounds promising, as does the casting of Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon as Mattie’s helpers and Josh Brolin as the story’s murderous villain.  No advance word yet on who plays Blackie.

Mary H.

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