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Posts from the ‘News and Notes’ Category

Naked Lunch On Trial For Obscenity

Boston, Massachusetts has often been the setting of some major trials, including the one going on right now for the Boston Marathon bomber.

But, back in 1962, a book went on trial. Yep, Naked Lunch—William Burroughs’ famous novel—faced the Boston court system after having been labeled obscene. The book, literally, was on trial.

Naked Lunch must have had bad attorneys because it lost. Read more

The Lord of the Rings Mythology In 5 Minutes

Have you ever felt a little confused about The Lord of the Rings mythology—like how many rings are there and how they were created?

This clever video does an excellent job explaining how “the one ring that ruled them all” came to be, all in 5 minutes.

William Faulkner’s Drinking Was A Matter Of National Security

Times they have a-changed, friends.

In today’s “image means everything” political climate, I can’t imagine the United States sending a drunken author overseas as an official ambassador. In the 1950s, though? No problem.

Over at Slate, Greg Barhisel discusses how, during the Cold War, many American authors traveled around the globe as ambassadors for the United States—meeting with foreign diplomats and dignitaries. Their purpose? To show that “America wasn’t just Mickey Mouse and chewing gum.” Read more

Roald Dahl’s Heartbreaking Letter About Vaccination

Roald Dahl wrote James and The Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Matilda. He’s one of the greatest children’s authors the world has ever known.

But the following letter he wrote in 1988 is perhaps the most poignant copy he’s ever written. In it, he describes how his daughter died from the measles many years before (h/t to Vox): Read more

Harper Lee To Publish A Second Novel

Hold me. That’s all I can say. I’m absolutely giddy about this.

Here’s a quick summary from the Associated Press: Read more

The Best Quotes From V.S. Naipaul

Although I’m really enjoying A House for Mr. Biswas, I haven’t had a lot of good things to say about V.S. Naipaul as a person (although his Nobel speech was pretty awesome).

But let’s face it–no matter what you or I think about him as a person, he’s an amazing writer, and he actually has a lot of amazing insight as well.

I try to talk about the good and the bad of each author and book I cover, even though it’s often slanted in one direction or the other. So, today, instead of focusing on the crappy things V.S. Naipaul has said (of which there are many, and of which I will talk about more), let’s focus on some of his more positive and insightful quotes.

I’ve scoured the bowels of the literary internet and determined the quotes below are some of my favorites from Naipaul. I pulled these from Good Reads and Brainy QuoteRead more

#2 In 2014: The Wake-Up Times Of Famous Authors

* 101 Books is out of office this week. But all week I am featuring the top 5 most popular NEW posts (by traffic) in 2014. I’ll return with new posts on January 5. 

You might remember my tirade against morning people a few months ago?

Okay, so it wasn’t really a tirade against anyone—the post was more of a defense of night owls. We’ve been taking a beating the last few years while the trend to praise the morning person as the model of success has gone into overdrive.

As a night owl, I got tired of hearing that I was a slacker, even though I bust my butt getting stuff done after 8 p.m. So I wrote that post.

Then, a few weeks ago, I saw this infographic—which beautifully illustrates everything I tried to articulate in that post.

Read more


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