Critical Linking: November 30, 2014

The real superheroes of the industry right now? These writers — ranked in order of influence — whose books are source material for more than 300 movie and TV projects, have helped rake in billions in box office and revenue, and prove every day that originality, above all else, still matters.

None of the authors on this list of Hollywood’s 25 most powerful are surprising.


The lovable bear in the familiar duffel coat makes the leap from page to screen as Paddington hits cinemas this week [in the UK]. But how much do you know about him?

Quiz your Paddington Bear knowledge.


Brand was brought up in Grays, to which he returned recently to find that the public library he used as a child was being relocated as “part of a plan to show that it is not necessary to have a library”. Not only that, the library at his old school had also gone, leaving “barren, empty shelves”.

He said: “It is a disgrace that a state school doesn’t have a library funded by the state.”

Brand said he is helping to pay for a library at the school, now called the Hathaway academy, with publishers including Canongate and Random House donating books. “It’s bloody ridiculous. How can a school get away with not having a library?” he said.

Good on Russell Brand.


A Shakespeare First Folio has been discovered in a library in a small French town where it lay undiscovered for two centuries.

It is only the second known copy in France of a publication that is seen as one of the most valuable books in the English language and which can sell for millions on the rare occasions a copy comes up for auction.

I can’t imagine how neat it would be to just stumble upon a Shakespeare First Folio in your library collection.


If you like to play with words, the English language gives you many opportunities. For example, Palindromes are words or expressions spelled the same backwards and forwards, e.g. words such as deed, noon and level, or the names Hannah and Otto, or a longer word such as redivider. If you include expressions, you can find much longer palindromes such as Madam, I’m Adam or a Toyota, race car. (Ignore the punctuation.) Lots of fun; Try to see how long an expression you can put together. Retronyms are old words, which need an additional amplifier to bring them up-to-date, due to social, political or technological changes. Examples are acoustic guitar, analogue clock, fresh air and unsafe sex. (Figure it out yourself.)

This piece of the nerdy aspects of the English language is good, but the collection of contronyms — words that contradict themselves — at the end is the best part.

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