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Posts from the ‘News and Notes’ Category

Lucky Jim Changed This Man’s Life

How often can you say a book changed your life?

This outstanding article by Joseph Schuster at The Millions illustrates how Lucky Jim changed his life. Lucky Jim? The story of a sad, beaten-up, self-deprecating assistant professor at a no-name college in England? Yep. Lucky Jim.

That just goes to show—when it comes to literary tastes, we all appreciate different flavors.

Schuster talks about his annual tradition of reading Lucky Jim in the fall—and what (or if) he expects to learn something from each reading. Many of you who do the same with a favorite novel will probably relate: Read more

The Nat Turner Story In 5 Minutes

Honestly guys, The Confessions of Nat Turner is taking me a lot longer to read than I would like.

That has nothing to do with the novel’s quality, but life has just been a little hectic lately. I hope to be able to review the novel next week.

In the meantime, I don’t have much to say today. So I’ll let this little 5-minute overly dramatic video from The History Channel do the talking.

This will give you a good overview of the true story upon which the novel is based. Read more

Can A White Author Get Inside a Black Character’s Head?

I tread lightly entering today’s topic, but it’s one that I can’t help but ask.

And it’s this exact topic that fueled a lot of the controversy surrounding William Styron when he won the Pulitzer for The Confessions of Nat Turner in 1968.

It’s simply this: What would an older, southern white man in the 1960s know about the mindset of a young black slave in the 1830s?

Remember, Styron is writing in the first person. The narrator IS Nat Turner, the leader of a slave rebellion. To write from that point of view had to be an unbelievably difficult task. He’s simply telling the story as an outside narrator, or even a Nick Carraway-style observer. Styron, as Nat, is the narrator.

Styron explained his thought process in a piece written by The Library of Congress: Read more

The Future Library: Why Didn’t I Think Of This?

A Scottish artist named Katie Paterson came up with the best idea ever.

Books, at least the traditional kind, need paper. And did you know paper comes from trees? How ’bout that?

With that in mind, Paterson developed a brilliant project.

Read more

IKEA Marketing For The Win

I’ve never much been an IKEA guy, but I’ve got to admit their marketing is brilliant, as evidenced by this ad that went viral a few weeks ago (I know, I’m late).

Look at what IKEA has created: the bookbook!

Actually, it’s just their fall catalog.

“The 2015 IKEA catalog comes fully charged, and the battery is eternal,” says Jörgen Eghammer, IKEA’s Chief Design Guru. “The navigation is based on tactile touch technology that you can actually feel,” he adds.

This is a clever way to make build a viral marketing campaign and poke a little fun at all the rage of eBooks the last few years.

Enjoy the parody. Read more

Who Was Nat Turner?

Nat Turner was a real guy.

So, while The Confessions of Nat Turner is a novel, it’s very much based on fact. Nat was a slave in Virginia who led a revolt and killed more than 50 white people in the 1830s.

Nat was bright. He could read and write at an early age, and he actually knew more about the Bible than many pastors in town. Turner was so smart, in fact, that after the rebellion many states passed laws that limited the education of blacks and made sure a white minister was present at all African-American services.

The racist slaveowners believed that Nat’s education played into his awareness of the injustice of his condition. Hence, the revolt.

As bright as Turner was though, he might have been a little crazy too.

On May 12, 1828, Nat Turner was working in the fields when he . . .  Read more

Bill Clinton’s 21 Favorite Books

Although I’m not a big fan of politicians, I’ve always kinda, sorta liked Bill Clinton.

He’s always seemed like an approachable guy who would be easy to talk to, play a round a golf with, and drink a pint at a bar.

Not that this is any surprise, but he’s well read too, which makes him even more likeable. He’s a smart dude.

In 2003, CBS listed Clinton’s 21 favorite books—all on display at the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas. The list is interesting and diverse: Read more

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