Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 7:59 am
The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
Anne of Green Gables, who is described in Lucy Maud Montgomery's best-selling books as red-headed, freckled and — at least when the Anne series begins — prepubescent, gets a horribly wrong makeover on the cover of this three-book set published in November.
On a lighter, much lighter economic note, fans of Monopoly have spoken. After a month of online voting, one of the iconic game's playing pieces is being replaced. Goodbye Iron, hello Cat, which won after polls closed at 11:59 P.M. Tuesday.
As NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, the new feline will arrive on Monopoly boards by fall.
AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: For some, the news has been absolutely traumatizing. Walk the streets of New York City and you'll hear cries of distress over the death of the Iron.
The Irish novelist John McGahern once remarked that his country stayed a 19th-century society for so long that it nearly missed the 20th century. But in the mid-1990s, Ireland's economy took off, turning the country from a poor backwater into a so-called Celtic Tiger with fancy restaurants, chrome-clad shops and soaring real estate values. The country was transformed — until things came tumbling down during the 2008 financial crisis.
Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 5:07 pm
Wednesday, Hasbro announced that it was welcoming a new member of the Monopoly-token family. And because it asked the Internet, it wound up with a cat. (For whatever reason, the Internet was not offered Gotye or a bacon cupcake.)
Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 8:50 am
When a new festival for opera and musical theater called "Prototype" opened in New York last month, it wasn't inaugurated with a huge new piece. Instead, the festival was kicked off with the first staging of Mohammed Fairouz' opera Sumeida's Song — a work for four singers and a handful of musicians that lasts just 60 minutes long, presented at Here, a theater in Manhattan's Tribeca that seats just 100 people.
From Swift to Orwell, political satire has played a major role in the history of European fiction. Much of it takes on an allegorical cast, but not all. The Fall of the Stone City, an incisive, biting work by Ismail Kadare — one of Europe's reigning fiction masters — refines our understanding of satire's nature. Kadare's instructive and delightful book takes us from the 1943 Nazi occupation of a provincial Albanian town, the ancient stone city of Gjirokaster, to the consolidation of communist rule there a decade later.
In the 1970s, a young man named Paul Haggis was walking down a street in Ontario, Canada. He encountered a man peddling a book.
"And he handed the book to Paul, and he said, 'You've got a mind — this is the owner's manual,' " journalist Lawrence Wright tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "And inside, there was a stamp saying 'Church of Scientology,' and Paul was intrigued, and he said, 'Take me there.' " Haggis soon became a member of the Church of Scientology — and he's a central character in Wright's new book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief.
From a death in the music world, now to something of a rebirth.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIEGEL: Muzak, best known for its inoffensive, unobtrusive, ultra-bland music is changing its brand name. The company announced today that it will now be known as Mood, after Muzak's owner, Mood Media. It's chairman and CEO said in a statement that this marked the end of an iconic American brand, or as fast company put it, the musical equivalent of white bread.
How healthy is the traditional publishing industry? Not very, says Mark Coker, founder of the self-published book distributor Smashwords. On Monday, Coker told NPR's Audie Cornish that "over the next few years, traditional publishers are going to become more and more irrelevant."