Friday, October 16, 2009

Things I'd Like to See This Weekend on C-SPAN's "Book TV"

10:00 am Google Books and Mythical Beasts
In a recent New York Times Op-Ed piece defending the Google Books settlement, Google co-founder Sergey Brin stated: "The agreement limits consumer choice in out-of-print books about as much as it limits consumer choice in unicorns." Here Brin expands upon this statement, clarifying Google's plans for unicorns. "We've rounded up all the extant unicorns and are keeping them at the Googleplex in Mountainview, California," Brin says. "Our goal is to preserve them so that everyone who wants to have access to unicorns can do so. Of course, right now you'll have to come to Google if you want to see a unicorn, but the fact that we possess all the unicorns in the world in no way prohibits other companies from starting their own unicorn preserves. In fact, we'd love to see that happen!" Brin says Google's unicorns enjoy the best possible conditions: "They're free to gambol and frolic, to primp in their magic dens, or to sport with young maidens. These are free-range unicorns." Brin says he discovered that unicorns had survived Noah's flood by reading the apocryphal Book of Noah--a volume he found through a Google Books search. Repeating a claim he makes in his op-ed piece, Brin says that without Google Books you would have to "fly to one of a handful of leading libraries in the country and hope to find it in the stacks. Unless," he adds, "you don't have access to the corporate jet. In that case you might want to try the interlibrary loan system."

2:00 pm Wild Things: You Make My Heart Sing
Dave Eggers discusses his recent adaptations of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. Eggers co-wrote the screenplay for the film version of Sendak's classic children's book, which opens today. He explains that the trick to adapting a children's book for film is "adding pictures. Seriously, you have to add a lot of pictures. Moving pictures." Eggers also expanded Sendak's story, which consists of just ten sentences, into a 300-page novelization called The Wild Things. "That required adding words," he says. "Lots and lots of words. More words than I bet you can even imagine. And the end result is, it's longer." For his next project, Eggers plans to combine his screenplay with his novelization, revise them by slashing words and pictures, and turn it all back into Sendak's original.

11:00 am The Løst Lost Symbol
Police in Iceland are looking for the thief who stole the first proof copy of the Icelandic translation of Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. In this segment, the detective in charge of the investigation reports that "the prospects for solving this crime look gloomy. But then everything looks gloomy here in Iceland." Police are considering several theories, including the possibility that the proof was eaten by reindeer or that the thief burned it in an attempt to keep warm. Meanwhile, the publisher has hired its own investigator, "the Private Dick from Reykjavik," who believes that the thief plans to translate Brown's novel back into English in the hope that this time it will be plausible.

3:00 pm Obscure Dickens
A series profiling lesser-known Dickens characters. This week: Manwich, a convict in Great Expectations who is sent to prison in Australia but returns a wealthy man, having made a fortune in sloppy joes.

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