On this installment of Take Two's monthly segment on literature, Reading by Moonlight; the USC Libraries Scripter Awards, upcoming book releases, and keeping the tradition of literary criticism alive.
Alex Cohen spoke with David Kipen, founder of the lending library Libros Schmibros in Boyle Heights.
An awards ceremony for book junkies
The Scripter Awards were started by USC in 1988... they rewards adaptations. Films and now, as of two yeas ago for reasons you could probably guess, television adapted from other material. And unusually, the award goes not just to the adapter but the author of the source material.
Nominees in film:
‘Arrival,’ ‘Fences,’ adapted from his own work by the late August Wilson, ‘Hidden Figures,’ ‘Lion,’ and ‘Moonlight.’
A common canard is that the director does all the visuals and the script is just a sort if blueprint that doesn't mention any of that, maybe the screenwriter help with the visuals. When in fact, the job of a screenwriter, and especially the job of an adapter is to take something that originated on the page... and make it visual. The director and the cinematographer certainly help in making it that much more visual. But this is an essential part of the screenwriter's job.
Nominees in episodes from television:
‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Man in the High Castle,’ ‘The Night Manager’ from John le Carré's novel, ‘Orange is the New Black,’ and ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson.’
2017 book releases
Over the next few months, you're going to have new books from Jonathan Lethem who is of course immensely talented. You're going to have new books from George Saunders...who's one of these guys who, like Borges, everybody keeps waiting for the novel. He keeps writing short stuff. Great stuff but we're sort of hardwired to wait for that novel. And now he has one coming about Lincoln called ‘Lincoln in the Bardo.’
And another book I'm really looking forward to is ‘Al Franken, Giant of the Senate.’ Al Franken who of course, was a comedy writer for all those years on Saturday Night Live.... To see Franken after years of sobriety since he entered the world's largest and most respected deliberative body, actually willing to be serious and funny at the same time, makes me really look forward to that book.
Opportunity for aspiring book critics
The Emerging Critics Initiative of the NBCC. Now more than ever, people are wondering where's the next generation of critics going to come from when there isn't room to squeeze them into the paper. Well, this is an initiative and it's competitive. Anybody out there, any aspiring book critics, any fledgling book critics, apply by January 27th. Maybe you could get a mentor.
Quotes edited for clarity.