Welcome back to the Book Report, where we talk about all the (literary) news that’s fit to print. This week, a stranded family of six was rescued by the Hogwarts Express, To Kill a Mockingbird has been banned for approximately the billionth time, the mansion that inspired The Great Gatsby is for sale, and there’s going to be a Netflix original Hamlet movie. LET’S DISCUSS.
Imagine being lost in the middle of nowhere. Your canoe is gone, your four children are hungry, and you’re in the Scottish Highlands with no haggis in sight. You phone the police, and what do they send to retrieve you? A Jacobite train, the exact one used in the Harry Potter films.
From now on, I don’t want to be rescued by anything that ISN’T the Hogwarts Express. “Ma’am, we’ve got choppers en route,” they will say. “Just leave me,” I’ll respond as I sigh deeply and succumb to the elements.
Last week, a school in Biloxi, Missouri removed To Kill a Mockingbird from its shelves after a student and his mom found the book too “uncomfortable” to read. Unfortunately, American history is uncomfortable. Since the kids were forced to stop reading midway through the novel, it looks like they’ll never get to the bit with the ham costume, which is, I think it’s fair to say, a bummer.
Do you currently have $17 million lying around? Excellent. You can buy the Long Island mansion that inspired Gatsby’s house, and you can pay off my student loans to boot. This way, you get to live in the lap of luxury, and I get to continue living in my apartment and eating beans straight out of the can but without the added weight of crushing debt. We both win!
Rumor has it that F. Scott Fitzgerald based this symbol of American decadence and decay (also known as Gatsby’s crib) on the home of Mary Harriman Rumsey, a railroad industry heiress and friend of Fitzgerald’s. If you, like me, have no earthly idea how big five acres could possibly be, I did the Googling for you. It’s roughly the size of four football fields, two city blocks, or, if you’re a time traveler from the Middle Ages, the amount of land that could be plowed in five days using a yoke of oxen.
Netflix is purportedly sealing the deal as we speak. The idea was developed by writer Mike Lesslie (who also did a version of Macbeth in 2015 with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard) as well as actor Riz Ahmed, who is set to star as Hamlet. I can’t begin to explain to you how excited I am about this. You’ll remember Riz as the guy who played Bodhi in Rogue One. He also played Nasir in HBO’s The Night Of, which, if you haven’t seen it, SEE IT.
I didn’t realize I wanted this until yesterday. Now I’m convinced that I will never know peace until I see a modern-day Hamlet played by Riz Ahmed. NETFLIX, MAKE IT HAPPEN.