Good Reading : June 2007
12 goodreading ı JUNE 2007 book trivia Books to film A film of Richard Yates’s 1961 bestseller Revolutionary Road is finally set to start production for release in 2008.The film, to star Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (together for the first time since Titanic), will be directed by Winslet’s husband Sam Mendes, who also directed Jarhead and American Beauty. Also on the film front, a big screen adaptation of Marley and Me, the story of everyone’s favourite naughty dog, has begun production, directed by Shawn Levy. Exciting news on the local front, too:Wendy Orr’s delightful children’s book Nim’s Island is being made into a Hollywood film, starring Jodie Foster as Alex Rover and Abigail Breslin as Nim.The film will be produced by Paula Mazur, who took the book out of the library to read to her son three and a half years ago and fell in love with it.The film is due to be released some time in 2008. The sequel, Nim at Sea, is published this month and will be reviewed in next month’s issue of gr. Finally for book-and-film buffs, the big screen version of Ian McEwan’s huge bestseller Atonement (2002) is coming out this spring. Keira Knightley stars as Cecilia Tallis and James McAvoy as Robbie Turner; Cecilia’s little sister Briony, whose actions precipitate the novel’s devastating events, is played at different ages by Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai and Vanessa Redgrave. Robbie’s mother Grace is played by Brenda Blethyn. Story time in New Zealand … The fourteen annual Storylines Festival, celebrating writers and illustrators of books for children, kicks off all around New Zealand on Tuesday 5 June. Top international names, including Mal Peet (pictured left), John Boyne and Shaun Tan, will appear alongside favourite local writers and illustrators, giving children the chance to meet the people behind some of their favourite books. Free ‘Family Days’ will take place in Wellington, New Plymouth, Auckland and Kerikeri; last year’s Family Day at the Aotea Centre in Auckland drew more than 20,000 people! Workshops, signings, talks, storytelling and performances will keep everyone happy this year. See www.storylines.org.nz for details. Right: Erin Devlin reading a story at last year’s festival. The art of mincing words Verbal squeamishness is alive and well in A Man About a Dog, Nigel Rees’s great collection of euphemisms – 2467 of ’em, to be precise. In considering entries for his book, Rees confined himself to true euphemisms, whose pur- pose is to conceal something of the nature and meaning of what it describes, rather than simply including alter- native names for things. As well as the phrase in the title, euphemisms for going to the lavatory he lists include ‘go and check the price of wheat in Chicago’, ‘go and see the vicar’ and ‘go for a wee walk’.While Rees is aware of the absurdity of much of the language of political correctness, he does point out that it has at least produced a greater general awareness of the importance of considering the effect of the words we use on the person/s hearing or reading them. A Man About a Dog is published by Collins, rrp $32.99. … and in Sydney Why are journalists, scriptwriters and film makers writing books for kids? What makes Gabrielle Lord, Catherine Jinks, Margo Lanagan and James Valentine international best- sellers? Hear Australia’s best children’s and YA authors speak at the NSW Writers’ Centre Festival of Children’s and YA Books in Rozelle on Saturday 30 June. Discover Michael Parker’s cutting edge book, Doppelganger. Celebrate at the launch of Jeni Mawter’s Launched or Vashti Farrer’s Mrs Pavlov’s Possum. Publishers, editors, illustrators and authors will share their experiences and knowledge, so come on along! Bookings are essential, so visit the website www.nswwriters.org.au or call (02) 9555 9757.