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Posts from the ‘News and Notes’ Category

Kurt Vonnegut Grades His Own Novels

Love the transparency here.

Letters of Note recently tweeted a photo of Vonnegut’s grades of all his novels.

Some of you Kurt Vonnegut fans will appreciate this. Read more

Maggie Smith Shines As Miss Brodie

You ever discovered an actor or actress late in their acting career and wondered where you’ve been?

That’s how I feel about Maggie Smith.

Let me preface this by saying I’m not an avid movie watcher. Even when I do watch movies, I’m hard pressed to tell you a lot of the actors and actresses names—except for the really famous ones.

Anyway, I watch Downton Abbey with my wife, and we’ve always loved Maggie Smith’s character, Lady Violet. When we first watched the show, I recognized Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall from the Harry Potter movies. Read more

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


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