Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826) was a French lawyer and politician and the father of modern gastronomy. He was the driving force behind the popularity of the gastronomic essay. His reputation was recently revived by his influence over Chairman Kaga of the TV Series Iron Chef. Kaga repeated Brillat-Savarin’s famous aphorism: “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” What is little-known about Brillat-Savarin is that he came to the United States to escape from the French Revolution and spent time in Hartford. His signature dish while there was squirrels in madeira!

Read That Movie!

With the recent release of the young adult novel turned film adaptation, Divergent, the requests have been pouring in for Veronica Roth’s trilogy.  Whether movie-goers have seen the film first and then been intrigued to read the book, or have made the executive decision to read the book before heading to the big screen, the outcome has been one of increased interest for this young adult novel.  Yet, Divergent isn’t the first, and surely will not be the last of the young adult novels turned film. In fact, some of your favorite films may have been young adult novels first, without you even realizing.

Past young adult film adaptations include:

…and many, many more!

But here of course is what you are all waiting for me to announce, the upcoming young adult film adaptation releases, which, like the list above, there are many of.  Brace yourselves, take a deep breath and cross your fingers that your favorite YA book has a film being released in the near future.

Upcoming YA film releases (with intended release date) include:

And now for the big, super-incredible, take a deep breath, gasp-out-loud, news you’ve all been waiting for.

Though this news is extremely premature, with the intended date of film production having not even been set yet, many fans will be happy to know a series of prequel films for Harry Potter has been announced.

That’s right all you Potter fans, if you didn’t hear it already, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, one of the companion books to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series will be the first adaptation in a new series of films.  Rowling will also be making her screen writing debut on this film, while Harry Potter films producer, David Heyman will return as a producer for this film as well.

So, whether you intend to read the book before you see the movie, or now realize how silly it was to never have known your favorite film was a book first and desperately need to read it right away, the Danbury Public Library has what you are looking for.  Drop on in and grab a Young Adult novel (who knows it may just be the next box-office hit) or seek out the film adaptation of your favorite YA books to see if they live up to your expectations.

John Updike

March 18th 2014 would have been John Updike’s eighty-second birthday. Updike passed away on 27 January 2009 and his loss is still felt in the literary world. He was a protean man of letters who excelled at writing novels, short stories, poetry, children’s books and art and literary criticism of the highest order. He is the author of the Rabbit tetralogy (for which he won two Pulitzer Prizes) which is arguably the greatest American novel of the second half of the twentieth century. “You have to give it magic” Updike explained of the stuff on the page. He certainly was able to do that in all of his work. Fortunately there is a new biography of him which we will have next month. R.I.P. John Updike.

Sebald Again

I am happy to report the posthumous publication of a masterpiece by W. G. Sebald. The book is titled A Place in the Country.Sebald, who tragically died prematurely in an automobile accident in December of 2001, is at the top of his form in this series of essays (which he himself called extended notes and glosses) about writers who were a major influence on him. These pieces encapsulate these writers for us and make us aware of their importance. However (these essays were primarily written in 1997-1998) Sebald makes us uncomfortably aware of the pitfalls of being a successful writer and he somtimes seems to regret choosing writing as his career!

Hitchcock’s Holocaust Documentary

During World War Two many famous film directors lile Billy Wilder, William Wyler, John Ford and John Huston were recruited to make wartime movies to help the Allied cause. One who was also recruited was Alfred Hitchcock. He made two short films primarily directed at a French audience about the French Resistance. But what is little known is that he worked on a film titled Memory of the Camps which was about the liberation of a concentration camp. Hitchcock was shocked by the footage and it is reported that he did not come in to his film studio for days afterward. The documentary is being restored and expected to be released in early 2015 according to the Imperial War Museum.