Tolstoy’s novel follows the title heroine, whose full name is Princess Anna Arkadyevna Karenina, and who falls in love with Count Vronsky, a wealthy and dashing officer, while still married to Count Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin, a powerful member of the government who is 20 years her senior.
In Wright’s version, “Pride and Prejudice” star Keira Knightley will play Anna, while “Nowhere Boy” actor Aaron Johnson takes on the part of Vronsky and “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” actor Jude Law will play Karenin.
Other actors appearing in the film include “Brave” star Kelly Macdonald as Anna’s sister-in-law Dolly, “Pride and Prejudice” actor Matthew Macfadyen as Dolly’s philandering husband Oblonsky, and Olivia Williams of “An Education” as Vronsky’s mother Countess Vronskaya.
The trailer opens with a quote from Tolstoy, “There are as many loves as there are hearts,” and shows the opulence of the film, with sumptuous costumes, elaborate balls, and some stage performances.
“I was eighteen when I got married,” Knightley says at the beginning of the trailer. “But it was not love.”
The trailer shows the betrayed Karenin’s anger at Anna, with Law asking, “Do you think I would let you have my son? You are depraved,” as well as her isolation as her aristocratic world is shocked by her affair.
The movie is scheduled to be released Nov. 9.
Check out the full trailer here:
After yanking their e-books off library shelves last fall, Penguin Books will be bringing their titles back to the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library for a one-year pilot program.
The question of how to make e-books available to libraries has been one that publishers have struggled with, attempting to make sure their e-book sales remain robust while also making the digital titles available to readers who want to borrow them from public libraries. Up until now, only two of the major publishers in the United States – Random House and HarperCollins – have been making their e-books available to libraries at all, and some librarians say that the pricing and circulation limits imposed by those publishers make it difficult for libraries to acquire their titles for their patrons.
Penguin's library program will be different from those at Random House and HarperCollins but comes with restrictions of its own. Penguin e-books for the two New York libraries, which will be made available through 3M, will arrive at the libraries six months after they are initially released. After a year has passed, the titles will be removed.
“We have always been committed to libraries and we are hopeful that this experiment will be successful,” Penguin CEO David Shanks said in a statement. “Our partnership with 3M and the New York Public Library is a first step toward understanding the best means of supporting the growing digital missions of our great library institutions and their sincere desire to bring writers to new readers.”
According to Penguin vice president of online sales and marketing Tim McCall, Penguin’s entire catalog, which is more than 15,000 books, will be made available to the libraries’ patrons through the deal.
McCall told The Wall Street Journal that libraries will most likely pay around what regular customers would for the e-books.
Penguin took their e-books out of libraries last year, citing concerns about how safe e-books and patrons’ information were on servers, McCall said.
The program is scheduled to start in August.
“Publishers haven't been doing business with libraries this year, so this is a great moment for us," Brooklyn Public Library president Linda Johnson told the Wall Street Journal. "We're thrilled that Penguin has come back to the table.”
The Association of American Publishers reported that there were more e-books sold than hardcovers for the first time ever, collecting information from more than 1,189 publishers for their findings.
In the report, the Association said that in the first quarter of 2012, e-book sales totaled $282.3 million, which was a 28 percent increase from e-book sales last year. Meanwhile, hardcover sales came to $229.6 million, which nevertheless was a 2.7 percent increase from their sales last year. Sales for young adult and children's books hardcovers increased, coming in at $187.7 million.
However, sales for paperbacks for adults fell, coming in at $299.8 million with a 10.5 percent drop.
USA Today commentator David Albers may have summarized the thoughts of many consumers when he wrote of the choice between hardcovers and e-books: “Pretty much a no-brainer[,with] hardcover books selling in the $30 range and I can get the same version on Kindle for around $10.”
The American son, it seems, is having his moment in the sun.
Florida’s junior senator Marco Rubio isn’t just the fastest-rising Hispanic political star in American politics today. He’s also a contender to become Mitt Romney’s running mate. And, thanks to a perfectly timed release, he is also the author of a memoir that hit bookstores this week, while an unauthorized biography, "The Rise of Marco Rubio" by Washington Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia, came out yesterday, the same day as Rubio's book.
“An American Son,” centers on Sen. Rubio’s dramatic political rise as the son of Cuban exiles who struggled to establish themselves in a new country. The child of immigrants who worked blue-collar jobs to send their son to college, where he played football, went on to earn a law degree, then commenced a lightning-fast ascent in politics, Rubio is the quintessential American son here.
And Rubio’s story hits shelves just as his name hits headlines as a potential – and popular – contender as Romney’s running mate. As a Hispanic senator elected in a Tea Party-fueled victory from the swing state of Florida, Rubio has a lot to offer the Romney campaign. He could provide a clear path to improving the GOP’s strained relationship with the country’s fastest growing minority group (though, as political watchers have pointed out, Rubio is Cuban, a group with which many Mexican-Americans do not necessarily connect).
“Rubio also brings other political credentials, including hero status with many conservative Christians and Tea Party supporters, a proven ability to raise big money and residency in the nation's quintessential swing state,” reports USA Today in a story about the junior senator’s book and his turn in the limelight.
“As the country changes demographically, he's an appealing candidate who has the ability to connect with audiences defining conservatism,” Steve Schmidt, a top strategist for Republican John McCain in the 2008 presidential campaign, told USA Today. “The other aspect is that Marco Rubio was born in the 1970s. When he inevitably runs for national office, he will represent a generational change.”
As Linda Feldman wrote in a recent Monitor piece, “Rubio is a young, charismatic, Hispanic conservative from a top battleground state.”
That’s also why his book couldn’t have been timed better – and why it’s shooting to the top of Amazon’s bestseller ranks just a day after its release (as of posting time, “An American Son” was #21 on Amazon’s bestsellers list – ironically, just ahead of “Barack Obama: The Story.")
In it, Rubio charts his family’s journey to America and his own journey to one of the top political offices in the US. His parents fled Cuba in 1956, just before Fidel Castro came to power, then worked blue-collar jobs in Miami and Las Vegas to provide for their four children.
“I was nothing like my father, motherless and working since he was nine,” Rubio writes in his memoir, as excerpted by the Daily Caller. “He had gone to bed hungry many nights. He had lived in the streets and slept on a wooden crate in a storeroom. He had tried and failed and tried and failed again to start a business. He had lost his country. His work as a bartender had him coming home late at night well into his seventies I had never heard a single complaint escape his lips.”
Driven by his passion for football and politics, Rubio attended a smattering of smaller colleges where he played football before earning his law degree at the University of Miami. A handsome salary at a law firm helped further establish Rubio and his family before the driven first-generation Cuban-American ran for the West Miami City Commission, which led to the Florida House of Representatives, and an extreme long-shot upset against Florida’s popular incumbent governor Charlie Crist that landed Rubio in a Senate seat at the young age of 40 (he’s the second-youngest US senator after Utah’s Mike Lee, who’s just seven days younger).
In the book, Rubio reveals for the first time that he considered dropping out of the Senate race.
“Had the Republican Party chairman or Crist himself reached out to me personally in the spring of 2009,” Rubio writes, “they could probably have persuaded me not to run. I’m not proud of it now, but I think if they had acknowledged my concern that the party had strayed too far from our conservative principles, I would have walked away from the Senate race. I was looking for a face-saving way out. Instead, out of pride and hubris, they chose to intimidate me. And I, too, reacted out of pride.”
It was, we learn in the book, Rubio’s wife, Jeanette Dousdebes, a former Miami Dolphin cheerleader, who persuaded him to stay in when he was ready to quit. “Nothing important in life is easy,” she scolded him at the time, according to USA Today.
Beyond sharing his inspiring, if somewhat conventional rise, de rigueur for any politician on the upswing, Rubio also uses his memoir to clarify some controversial aspects of his history – like the time he told reporters his parents fled Cuba after Castro came to power (they had fled before), the thousands of dollars in personal expenses charged to the state GOP-issued American Express Card he used, and the Tallahassee state capital house he co-owned that went into foreclosure.
Nonetheless, most of Rubio’s memoir follows his “American Dream” of a journey to the Senate – similar, in fact, to that of Barack Obama’s. Only time – and the polls – will tell whether it resonates enough with Americans to have a similar ending.
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.
Alice Walker is refusing to allow her book “The Color Purple” to be published in Hebrew by an Israeli publisher, saying in a letter that she will not allow it to happen because of her feelings about the country’s government.
The letter was sent to the publisher, Yediot Books, but also posted online. In it, Walker described her experiences as a juror for the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, a group which met in South Africa last year and determined that Israel was guilty of persecuting the Palestinian people as well as apartheid. The group is a private body originally brought together by philosopher Bertrand Russell which met for the first time in 1967.
“I grew up under American apartheid,” Walker wrote in her letter of the testimony she heard during the tribunal. “And this was far worse.”
Walker, who was a juror for the tribunal, wrote of that “many South Africans who attended, including Desmond Tutu, felt the Israeli version of these crimes is worse even than what they suffered under the white supremacist regimes that dominated South Africa for so long.”
In her letter, the author recalled that she had not allowed the film version of “The Color Purple” to be shown in South Africa while it was still under apartheid rule.
“It was not a particularly difficult position to hold on my part,” Walker wrote of the decision. “I believe deeply in non-violent methods of social change though they sometimes seem to take forever…. We decided to wait. How happy we all were when the apartheid regime was dismantled and Nelson Mandela became the first president of color of South Africa.”
Walker added that she hoped she would be able to allow “The Color Purple” to be published in Israel in the future.
“I would so like knowing my books are read by the people of your country, especially by the young, and by the brave Israeli activists (Jewish and Palestinian) for justice and peace I have had the joy of working beside,” she wrote. “I am hopeful that one day, maybe soon, this may happen. But now is not the time.”
The author took part last June in one of the flotillas that tried to bring aid to Gaza through a maritime blockade enacted by Israel.
“I think Israel is the greatest terrorist in that part of the world,” Walker told Foreign Policy Magazine at the time. “And I think in general, the United States and Israel are great terrorist organizations themselves.”
Walker said during the same interview that she thinks many Americans feel a connection to Israel because of Americans’ familiarity with the Bible.
“We think that we are sort of akin to these people and whatever they're saying must be true – their God is giving them land and that is just the reality,” she said. “But actually the land had people living on it. The people were in their own homes, their own towns and cities. So, the battle has been about them trying to reclaim what was taken from them.
Netta Gurevich, the chief editor at Yediot Books, told the Associated Press she was sorry to hear about Walker’s decision.
“[Arts and culture] are so important to bridging differences, presenting ‘the other’ and generating a climate of tolerance and compassion,” Gurevich said.
Author supergroup the Rock Bottom Remainders will be playing their last concerts this weekend after two decades together.
The band will perform one show in Los Angeles on June 22, which is also the date of their twenty-year anniversary, and a second in Anaheim on June 23 at the American Library Association convention. Only those attending the ALA convention will be able to attend the second show.
The final lineup for the concert will be writers Stephen King, Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson, Sam Barry, Amy Tan, Mitch Albom, Matt Groening, Scott Turow, James McBride, Greg Iles and Roy Blount, Jr. All proceeds from the show will go to charity, which has been the rule for every Remainders show.
“A few years ago, Bruce Springsteen told us we weren't bad, but not to try to get any better otherwise we'd just be another lousy band,” King said in a statement. “After 20 years, we still meet his stringent requirements. For instance, while we all know what 'stringent' means, none of us have yet mastered an F chord.”
Barry said the group was originally brought together by writer, publishing consultant and musician Kathi Kamen Goldmark, who died last month. She was in charge of a business that brought writers to events and, when she realized that many of the writers she shepherded from place to place were music fans, she decided to see if the authors would be up for a charity performance.
Barry said the band will be honoring Goldmark during the show.
“We will be paying our respects to her during the shows, but in a fun way,” he said. “She wouldn't have wanted some maudlin tribute.”
Barry told the AP that Goldmark’s death was part of the reason the band decided to disband.
“We sort of felt this would be a good time to end it because it just isn’t going to be the same without Kathi,” he said.
Guitarist for the Byrds Roger McGuinn, who became involved with the band through author Carl Hiaasen, will be appearing with the Rock-Bottom Remainders for the last two shows.
“They’re not as bad as they claim to be,” McGuinn told the AP of the band.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled Microsoft Surface, a new tablet that heads a “whole new family of Microsoft computing devices,” Ballmer announced at the mystery event at the Milk Studios in Hollywood, Calif., Monday afternoon.
From what we’ve seen and heard, the Surface tablet is perhaps the first serious competitor to Apple’s iPad tablet. What’s more, it’s got the capability of a PC – as good for creating content as it is for consuming, according to Ballmer’s highly anticipated announcement and demo.
The 1.8-pound device will have a 10.6-inch Gorilla Glass 2.0 screen with a thickness of 9.3 mm. Like the iPad, it’s got a magnetically-connected magnesium case that doubles as a kickstand for viewing video – and it also has a full multi-touch keyboard, a major advantage for users who want a more versatile tablet.
Another advantage? The Surface tablet also comes with Microsoft Word, a full-size USB drive, and can run a full Windows desktop, making it a true tablet computer. It will run on Windows 8. The tablet also comes with digital ink so users can use a magnetic stylus to write on it.
Microsoft hasn’t yet released price points on the Surface tablet, which will be available in later this year, probably timed to the holiday season.
As for e-reading, the Surface tablet may not be ideal: at 10.6 inches, it’s more unwieldy than most books. Readers who want a device solely for reading would probably be better off with a Kindle or Nook. E-reading wasn’t featured at Microsoft’s Monday’s demo.
This device, however, is poised to take a chunk out of the tablet market, especially the corporate tablet market. Unlike Apple, Microsoft is the software of choice for corporate America. With Surface, Microsoft offers security (Apple’s security has always been suspect in most corporate settings) as well as compatibility – existing Microsoft software can run on the Surface tablet.
“If you use your PC to design and create things, this is for you,” Ballmer said at Monday’s announcement. “It’s a full PC.”
It may not be ideal for reading, but this is one tablet we’re excited about.
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.
Hunter, who says she began a relationship with the married politician in 2006, says Edwards was “temporarily insane” when he denied paternity of her daughter, Quinn.
“Think about it,” Hunter writes. “Sane healthy people do not deny their children, especially on national TV, simply because they are afraid of their abusive spouse's reaction. Only a mentally off person would do that.”
Hunter also calls Edwards’ wife Elizabeth a “witch on wheels,” saying that she was “bonkers because she had been in denial” about his affairs and that at one point, she “physically attack[ed] [Edwards] during all the screaming.”
Hunter discusses a conversation she had with Edwards that occurred before the politician’s indictment in which she asked him where he would be going if he was sent to jail.
“’What kind of jail would it be? One of those country clubs?’” she says she asked him.
“He said, ‘Yeah,’” Hunter wrote.
Hunter says Edwards told her he’d probably be in jail in Virginia and that she decided if that was the case, then she and her daughter Quinn would move to Virginia.
She writes that Edwards told her he was involved with three other women, but that he later confessed that had been a lie, designed to prevent her from getting attached to him.
“Johnny didn’t do anything out of character,” Hunter says in “What Really Happened.” “He has a long history of lying about one thing only – women – and I mistakenly thought I was different.”
Of the brief time when Edwards aide Andrew Young claimed paternity of Hunter’s child, Hunter writes, “The thing that I regret the most is going along with this stupid idea and allowing this lie to go public.”
She writes that Edwards is “a great dad” to her daughter Quinn.
Hunter says she isn’t sure what will happen between her and Edwards but that she still has feelings for him.
“The jury is still out,” she writes. "But I can honestly say that the ending is of no concern to me anymore. The love is here. And as sappy as it may sound, I love living in love."
A few years ago, military historian Michael Stephenson came across the graves of two British soldiers near his home in Dorsey, England. One died in the First World War, the other in the second. They were father and son, bound by blood and the way theirs was spilled.
"When I saw them, I thought about how we owe a debt to the people who have died in war," Stephenson says, "and the best way could I pay it would be to look at the factors throughout the centuries that contributed to their deaths."
He does just that in his new book "The Last Full Measure: How Soldiers Die in Battle," a sobering and crucial look at the evolution of death on the battlefield and the ways that warriors come to terms with serving as killing machines.
I reached Stephenson at his home in New York City, where he now lives, and asked him what divides and binds the soldiers of human history.
Q: What is the main theme of your book?
A: On one level, my book is really about the mechanics of soldiers getting killed, what happened in terms of weaponry and the development of weapon technology and tactics.
The great arc is from close-up fighting to very distant fighting, of the soldier getting farther from the person who will kill him.
We live in a disassociated society. The soldiers we send to Iraq and Afghanistan are a tiny minority, and we as a society are disassociated from their experience. We're distant from these men, and they're distant from the ones who kill them.
Q: What has this distance meant?
A: Death comes in an utterly anonymous way and is in no way connected to a person. It robs soldiers of a certain kind of heroic possibility – fighting somebody face to face, being overcome or overcoming them. That's where the heroic tradition is rooted.
Q: What else does your book examine?
A: It looks at the attitudes of the men toward the prospect of their own deaths, the deaths of their comrades and killing other people.
It also examines the idea of the heroic and what you have to do to put your life on the line. Is it patriotism, some kind of religious belief or just the belief in your friends? What do men think, what do they feel, what do they fear?
Q: There's always been a certain kind of code to warfare, right? We can kill our enemies in a certain way, but it's wrong to adopt other methods. How did that evolve?
A: If you go back to ancient warfare, the men who fought with bows and arrows or slingers or threw javelins were always considered to be absolutely without any redeeming feature whatsoever. They somehow breached the heroic code because they didn't face their enemies, they didn't test their strength against the other person's strength.
As the centuries go by, you get the same feeling about people who use guns. Even crossbow men were despised.
That same idea is applied to sharpshooters and snipers. Often snipers were despised by their own side because they were considered to be illegitimate. You shouldn't shoot people from that distance.
The last chapter of the book is how soldiers in modern warfare have been killed by what they'd consider underhand ways – blown up by a roadside bomb, killed by a sniper from a mile away.
There's a feeling that they've been robbed by a certain kind of dignity.
Q: I interviewed a Civil War historian last year, and he spoke about the intense shock that greeted the soldiers who headed into the first battle with a sense of bravado. They discovered, to their horror, that war is a dirty and grisly business, far from the glorious portraits painted in the romanticized books they'd read. Can we ever get close to understanding the experiences of soldiers without being warriors ourselves?
A: I don't think my book can ever really answer this question: How do you get close to that experience, of the prospect of you or someone else being killed, the smell and the noise of it?
I've got a file just on the sound of weaponry and of people being hit. That immediacy is something that's very hard to get over in a book.
The experience of reading about it, or even of seeing it in very realistic news clips or movies, is not the same at all as being there.
In a society like ours, we live a kind of ersatz experience, a sort of pretend experience. We watch movies and play computer games dedicated to combat and violence, but nothing ever could give you the sense of what it must be like.
Q: What surprised you as you researched the book?
A: How chaotic warfare is.
If you read about military history, quite a lot of it is written as if it were a sort of chess game. This unit moved here, and they did that and moved there.
Underneath all that is a bloody desperate irrationality. The most accidental things happen, the plans get modified. The chaos is quite extraordinary.
Q: What has changed the least about warfare over the centuries?
A: The blood.
If you get stabbed by a Roman gladius sword, if you get hit by a high-velocity shell, your body is destroyed and there is blood. That has never changed.
It's hard to staunch blood, even with the most modern techniques, and we haven't been able to devise a way to have a good old war with no one getting hurt.
The hurt is the thing that connects all of these soldiers, all of them. I wanted to write this book because I had a deep sense of that, and I was also a bit disturbed by the easiness with which we send our young men and women – and they've always been young, and they've nearly always been poor – to fight for us.
When they come back, we are suddenly very lax about looking after them, and this has been true for centuries and is true today. We don't quite want to pick up the tab when they come back.
Randy Dotinga is a Monitor contributor.
“Local” is a word that’s been all over the place in terms of eating and shopping, and now it’s made its way into the book world as well.
The Canadian book site 49th Shelf has started a campaign titled “Read Local: The 100-Mile Book Diet,” which urges readers to take on books that are set within 100 miles of their homes.
The site has an interactive map that allows site users to find books based on location or add titles for others. For example, “Consumption” a debut novel by Kevin Patterson, was added to the federal territory of Nunavut in Canada because the novel takes place in Rankin Inlet, an area in Nunavut, and is full of local detail.
Julie Wilson, who is the website host for 49th Shelf, told the CBC that she believes the diversity of Canada makes it a perfect fit for the project.
“Books inform our sense of place in ways we simply can't imagine on our own, and [reading] reflects our country back to us through a variety of voices and experiences,” Wilson said. “By asking readers to literally put a book on a map, we provide yet another means of coming to know our country.”
The map on 49th Shelf will have certain themes throughout the summer, including a planned "Eat Your Way Across Canada" motif, according to the 49th Shelf website.
What about your neighborhood? Would a "100-Mile Book Diet" make sense there? And if so, would you adopt it?