On the Books: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote a novel about Mycroft Holmes
-Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is not only the most prolific scorer in NBA history, he’s now on track to become the league’s busiest author. In addition to his previously published autobiography and children’s books, the former Lakers center announced on Friday that he has a forthcoming novel about Sherlock Holmes’ older brother Mycroft. Abdul-Jabbar said in a statement that he started reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Holmes stories during his rookie year in the NBA and later became fascinated by the protagonist’s older brother. Unlike the freelancing Sherlock, Mycroft works for the government and has been played by Stephen Fry and Mark Gatiss in recent adaptations. Written with screenwriter Anna Waterhouse, Mycroft Holmes follows the character’s investigation of mysterious occurrences in Trinidad. [New York Times]
-Literary figures across the world continue to react to the massacre at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that killed 12 on Wednesday. In addition to Salman Rushdie’s strong statement of solidarity with the satirists of Charlie Hebdo, PEN American Center also released an official statement condemning the attack. “The right to satirize, to question, to expose, to mock, even when offensive to some, is a bulwark of a free society,” read the statement, which included signatures by writers from novelist Michael Chabon to TV writer David Simon.
On the other end of the spectrum, French author Michel Houellebecq, whose provocative works often test that kind of tolerance, has apparently left Paris in the wake of the attack. Houellebecq’s latest novel, which predicts the changes instituted by a Muslim president of France in the year 2022, was published on the same day as the attack. That day’s edition of Charlie Hebdo featured a cartoon of Houellebecq on the cover.
-If you give a kid a book, they’ll learn more than they would playing with a cheap action figure. At least that seems to be what McDonald’s is thinking. From Jan. 9-22, McDonald’s Happy Meals will contain a book instead of the typical toy. The company launched a similar initiative in November 2013, when it distributed “about” 17 million books, and they expect a similar figure this time around. One main difference: instead of books created specifically for the occasion, McDonald’s will now be handing out more traditional staples of illustrated children’s literature, like Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond’s If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. [Chicago Sun-Times]