Taksim Square Book Club, George Henton/Al Jazeera
Inspired by the so-called “standing man” of Istanbul’s Taksim Square protests, a number of Turkish activists have formed the Taksim Square Book Club, a movement in which members stand motionless in the square reading books. According to an Al Jazeera slideshow, Orwell, Kafka, and Camus seem to be the movement’s favored authors.
In other Taksim Square news, Can Oz—the head of Turkey’s biggest publishing house, Can Yayinlari—has come out against the government and is now receiving death threats. Though Oz has “long criticized the policies of the Erdogan government... he had never voiced his concerns publicly out of concern for his family and his company,” Maximillian Popp writes in a profile of the publisher for Der Spiegel. Oz recently broke that silence, and in an op-ed in the Guardian, he writes, “in the past few days I have received hate mail and death threats, just because I was publicly part of this passive resistance movement.”
In Slate, Katy Waldman attacks a recent Harper’s essay claiming that American poets are characterized by their “inwardness and evasion” and their failure to take up a “full-scale map of experience.”
If you’ve ever wondered how A Midsummer’s Night Dream would read as a romance novel, you might soon get your answer: Random House’s Hogarth Fiction imprint is commissioning well-known authors to rewrite Shakespeare plays as novels. So far, they’ve commissioned Anne Tyler to rewrite The Taming of the Shrew and Jeanette Winterson to tackle The Winter’s Tale.
The trailer for Cormac McCarthy’s first screenwriting attempt, a Ridley Scott film called The Counselor, has been released. The movie is about “a lawyer who finds himself on the wrong side of the mob after he gets involved with drug trafficking.”
Historians have always known about Hollywood’s collaboration with the Nazis, but a forthcoming book makes the strongest case so far that “that Hollywood studios, in an effort to protect the German market for their movies, not only acquiesced to Nazi censorship but also actively and enthusiastically cooperated with that regime’s global propaganda effort.” The New York Times gets an early look at The Collaboration (which is coming out this fall with Harvard University Press) and profiles its author, scholar Ben Urwand. Though Urwand unearthed a number of disturbing historical details, he told the Times that the only one that made him yell in the archives was “a scrapbook in which Jack Warner (of Warner Brothers) documented a Rhine cruise that he and other studio executives took with an Allied escort on Hitler’s former yacht in July 1945 as part of a trip exploring postwar business opportunities.”