The Problem With 'Hybrid Books'

Also: hold the phone--Noah Baumbach's adapting 'The Corrections'?

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Today in the book world: Noah Baumbach and Anthony Hopkins are linked to an HBO adaptation of The Corrections, hybrid books are built on a flawed premise, and an appreciation of the less-well-known works of True Grit author Charles Portis.

  • According to The Daily Mirror's Baz Bamigboye, The Squid & the Whale writer/director Noah Baumbach "has been adapting [Jonathan Franzen's novel The Corrections] as a possible drama series for HBO." Anthony Hopkins is emerging as "a possible contender to play Alfred Lambert" and--excuse us, we have to stop. Noah Baumbach is adapting The Corrections? For HBO? We're 90 percent sure this is terrific (rumored) news. We'll raise that to 95 percent if they let him direct. Baumbach's is quietly one of the movies' best chroniclers of strained family ties, which is what Franzen's book is all about. [The Daily Mail]
  • Ebooks are great. They're reasonably priced, easily transportable and take up slightly more space than the average Chinese takeout menu. Print books are also great. You can take them anywhere too and, as ebook holdouts enjoy noting, there is something nice about The Feel of a Book in Your Hand. It's reasonable that someone would try to split the difference between the two delivery methods, and it's also reasonable that this compromise would be branded as the Hybrid Book.  NPR writes that independent publisher Melville House came up with their Hybrid Book concept to "distinguish the Melville House e-reading experience from others, and also to push paper books by offering a little something extra on the top." Enter the Melville Illuminations package, which according to the publisher's description, supplements the original work with "highly curated text, maps, photographs and illustrations related to the original book." NPR says it "adds the equivalent of DVD extras to books" by supplying "the kind of trove of information you might find if, after reading, you decided to Google everything you could about the author and the book's subject." It all sounds like an ambitious undertaking, but still: who really looks at the extras disc? We just tend to lose them. [NPR]
  • Charles Portis is best known as the author of True Grit, but he also wrote four much stranger, much funnier novels about an American South populated by con men, rival con men, circus midgets, dogs that talk and "Grady Fring the Kredit King." In the Los Angeles Review of Books, senior nonfiction editor Julie Cline effectively argues that he's one of American literature's most winning comic authors, even if she eventually throws up her hands and ceases trying to figure out why he hasn't published a novel since 1991. [Los Angeles Review of Books]
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.