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Literary links and commentary / Click my name for License to Play and License to Tech
Curated by Enid Baines
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Oct. 2 is Book Deluge Day 2012

Oct. 2 is Book Deluge Day 2012 | License to Read | Scoop.it
This fall has already brought a bevy of big books. In fiction, we've seen "NW" by Zadie Smith, "Telegraph Avenue" by Michael Chabon, "This Is How You Lose Her" by Junot Diaz, and "The Casual Vacancy," J.K.

 

I need my day job to stop being a night AND a weekend job so that I can actually read some of these. I haven't even read Ken Follett's newest one and he's already got another one coming soon. Now Michael Chabon with a new one, and Rowling... 

 

I haven't read a chapter of a single book in two months, having been delugued with other paperwork. I catch myself talking about books that are "so three months ago."

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30 Indispensable Writing Tips From Famous Authors

30 Indispensable Writing Tips From Famous Authors | License to Read | Scoop.it

"Writing is easy: All you have to do is start writing, finish writing, and make sure it's good. But here's some vastly more useful wisdom and advice from people who seriously know..."

 

All of my "Scoopies" who owe me a favor--you know who you are--could turn a few of these into posters for my classroom.

 

My favorite one is #8: "I try to leave out the parts that people skip." -- Elmore Leonard.

 

 

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Literary Jukebox

Literary Jukebox | License to Read | Scoop.it

"Daily quote from a favorite book, thematically matched with a song."

 

Perfect timing to stumble on this, just after spending the day planning curriculum with some great new colleagues. Prufrock is just on the horizon. Nice to see it's not Crash Test Dummies. That would have been too easy, too obvious. 

 

"In a minute there is time/For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse." 

 

"I am old" ...

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10,000 Retired Books Create ‘Literature Versus Traffic’ Installation

10,000 Retired Books Create ‘Literature Versus Traffic’ Installation | License to Read | Scoop.it
In Australia a great statement was made in a street installation turned pop-up library with the “Literature Versus Traffic” art display.

 

This pop-up library has one illuminating objective: “[Take] control of the streets and [become] the conquerer of the public space.”

 

The taxi drivers early in on their shifts must be thinking, "And miles to go before I read."

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Ernest Hemingway wrote 47 endings to A Farewell To Arms

Ernest Hemingway wrote 47 endings to A Farewell To Arms | License to Read | Scoop.it
All 47 endings to Ernest Hemingway's 1929 masterpiece A Farewell To Arms will be published in a new edition next week.

 

Note: The book came out in July.

 

"Getting the words right" was Hemingway's reason for the endless editing. Anyone who writes a lot understands this.

 

Writing is a bit like polishing silver. It takes a great deal of time and effort to make it shine, especially when trying to clean up the fine details in the design. I know it sounds paradoxical, but my break from grading papers is reading books. After spending hours trying to decipher meaning in heavily tarnished pieces, I find relief in works that shine with clarity and depth.

 

The end of this article reveals a not-so-surprising fact: Hollywood can't tolerate an unhappy ending. Sounds like Paramount writers rewrote a few times themselves.

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Gene Wilder/Letters of Note: Part of this world, part of another

Gene Wilder/Letters of Note: Part of this world, part of another | License to Read | Scoop.it
Fascinating letters. Interesting correspondence.

 

In this letter, Gene Wilder suggests a few costume alterations for "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory."

 

The line that particularly strikes me is the one about the "once elegant now almost baggy trousers." While there's something to be said for the importance of personal appearence (after all, "[s]lime green trousers are icky"), what really matters is character. 

 

I also learned it's better to match the shoes with the hat than with the jacket. That would be so fey. 

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National Book Festival authors share their favorite books

National Book Festival authors share their favorite books | License to Read | Scoop.it
National Book Festival writers reveal their favorite titles and explain what makes them so special.

 

Sharing a favorite with R.L. Stein gives me "Goosebumps."

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The Ideas that Inspired The Hobbit, Animal Farm & 8 Other Famous Books | WritersDigest.com

The Ideas that Inspired The Hobbit, Animal Farm & 8 Other Famous Books | WritersDigest.com | License to Read | Scoop.it
Ideas often percolate and simmer over time, but every once in a while lightning strikes—and a sudden flash of creativity can alter a writer’s career forever. Take, for example, these 10 famous works inspired by unexpected bolts of inspiration.

 

Today's takeaway: Writers are a bit batty (esp. Stevenson), but English teachers are just one essay away from Mordor (Tolkien). 

 

Oh, to have a "gloriously blank sheet" in the stack. 

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'Gatsby' Author Fitzgerald Rests In A D.C. Suburb : NPR

'Gatsby' Author Fitzgerald Rests In A D.C. Suburb : NPR | License to Read | Scoop.it
The last story in our series takes us to the grave of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald in Rockville, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C.

 

Maureen Corrigan, frequent gravesite visitor:

"The two things that I've seen almost consistently at the gravesite," she says, "are small bottles of alcohol, that you would get on an airplane, and spare change."

 

Corrigan is at work on a book about how Americans read The Great Gatsby. She finds eerie similarities in Fitzgerald's burial and that of his most famous character.

...

"It was raining," says Corrigan, "and there were about 25 people, so he got more than Gatsby. But the Protestant minister who performed the service didn't know who he was. So when you read Gatsby's burial, you really do get a chill, because it almost seems to anticipate what would happen to the author."

 

 

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

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Imagine the worst job in literature.

Imagine the worst job in literature. | License to Read | Scoop.it

This is my kind of game. To play along, tweet entries to #tnyquestion before Monday.

 

That gives me all of Labor Day weekend to labor over more entries. So far all I have is Gatsby's pool boy, J. Alfred Prufrock's hairdresser, and Arthur Dimmesdale's plastic surgeon, but I've only just begun.

 

This is going to occupy way too much of my mental capacity when I really need it for what I'm finding to be a bad job in itself: mining through piles of materials to find literary and informational texts that lend themselves to specific learning targets in the CCSS.

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The Best Bookends Ever?

The Best Bookends Ever? | License to Read | Scoop.it
Nestled in a quiet corner of Kentucky, America is a small privately owned metal work company called KnobCreekMetalArt.

 

 

Check out the "weird and Wonderful Book Ends" in the slide show!

 

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

 

 

If I only had shelf space...

 

UFO--LOL


Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
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The 30 Harshest Author-on-Author Insults In History - Flavorwire

The 30 Harshest Author-on-Author Insults In History - Flavorwire | License to Read | Scoop.it

Mark Twain on Jane Austen: " Every time I read ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.” ... And more of his critique of her from the comments section: "Just the omission of Jane Austen’s books alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn’t a book in it."

 

Tell us what you really think, Samuel.

 

Recently I had two students (unbeknownst to each other) hand Salinger back after reading only a few chapters, both with remarks similar to Elizabeth Bishop's:  “I HATED [Catcher in the Rye]. It took me days to go through it, gingerly, a page at a time, and blushing with embarrassment for him every ridiculous sentence of the way. How can they let him do it?”

 

I hope they give it another shot someday. That's a book I loan out but never give away permanently so I can reread it every so often.  

 

One from the peanut gallery:
H.G. Wells on Henry James:
“A hippopotams trying to pick up a pea.”

 

Maybe honesty isn't the best policy...

Gotta admit that when people hand me original, first draft poetry and want feedback, I have to lie: "I don't do poetry."

 

Even more constructive criticism here:

http://www.examiner.com/article/the-50-best-author-vs-author-put-downs-of-all-time

 

Only wish these quotes were attributed to their sources. Those could be fun reads themselves. 

 

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Author Responds to Student Begging for Summary of Required Read

Author Responds to Student Begging for Summary of Required Read | License to Read | Scoop.it

Awesome that Pierson called her out on this. It's not even a long book. I think I'll read it next, in fact.

 

And he's so right about Shakespeare. If people knew how R-rated some plays really are, they'd be off the curriculum.

 

I love that teachers and writers admit to not reading books that were assigned. I wouldn't have read "The Scarlet Letter" either if I wasn't the one who had to assign it.

 

If only Hester had been passive aggressive instead of merely passive... 

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30 Renowned Authors Inspired By Cats

30 Renowned Authors Inspired By Cats | License to Read | Scoop.it

"Cats – with all their mysteriousness and adorableness and softness – have served as muses for some of the most brilliant writers in the world for centuries." 

 

The photo here is of Neil Gaiman, author of "American Gods," (a pretty good read if you know Norse mythology) and himself "a god among the best of nerds."

 

I, too, am a cat person and I do a lot of my computer work with Felix the Cat on my lap. These pictures of authors draped in cats reminded me of my own cats-gone-by, one of whom even sat high on my shoulders as I wrote (à la Edward Gorey). 

 

Knowing what I know about Mark Twain, I'm not sure I completely believe his claim, "When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction." I do, however, accept Edward Gorey's declaration, “Books. Cats. Life is good.”

 

One of these days I'll get down to Key West to see Hemingway's six-toed "love sponges."

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Top 8 Literary References in Seinfeld

Top 8 Literary References in Seinfeld | License to Read | Scoop.it

"From “yada yada yada” to “master of your domain,” Seinfeld unleashed more while-you’re-drinking-with-buddies quotable idioms than just about any other sitcom ever. The “show about nothing,” which ran from 1989 to 1998 and is still in heavy rotation in syndication, was also one of the smartest sitcoms ever to grace our airwaves. One way this “smartness” manifested itself was in references to literature and/or books, ranging from subtle to hilariously overt."

___________

Quotable, indeed. Seinfeld, the smartest show about nothing, should have ended with this line from Shakespeare's Macbeth:

 

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

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5,000 Books Pour Out of a Building in Spain

5,000 Books Pour Out of a Building in Spain | License to Read | Scoop.it
Artist Alicia Martin's tornado of books shoot out a window like a burst of water from a giant hose.

 

The video (near the bottom) shows the books' pages fluttering in the wind, so I'm guessing it's a temporary exhibit. I wonder if it's supposed to represent all of the awful writing out there that should be tossed out the window and into the moat.

 

I know my colleagues and I feel like we've graded this many pages just in the last three weeks and we're still buried at the bottom of the pile. If only we could toss it all into the moat. 

 

 

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The Book-Burning Campaign That Saved a Public Library

The Book-Burning Campaign That Saved a Public Library | License to Read | Scoop.it
A social media hoax outwitted an anti-tax group and galvanized voters in Troy, Michigan.

 

Great lesson in reverse psychology! In preparation for Banned Books Week (Sept. 30-Oct. 6), be sure to enjoy the 3-minute video on this story (scroll to end). 

 

Ray Bradbury certainly would appreciate. 

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In Gatsby's Tracks: Locating the Valley of Ashes in a 1924 Photo | Literary Kicks

In Gatsby's Tracks: Locating the Valley of Ashes in a 1924 Photo | Literary Kicks | License to Read | Scoop.it

I was more than a bit surprised to learn about the transformation of the iconic Dante-esqe landscape that was the Valley of Ashes and the scene of a crime in "The Great Gatsby."  The book "Twilight at the World of Tomorrow: Genius, Madness, Murder, and the 1939 World’s Fair on the Brink of War" tells how it happened (among other things).

 

Knowing what happened to the site of the Chicago World's Fair (see "Devil in the White City"), I was curious to find out what became of the NY site since then. Is it a great park, as one politician envisioned? Yes and no... This article provides detective-level detail to answer that.

 

One piece of the article especially struck home for me because the route to my WV village can either be pastoral or industrial. First timers get the steel mills.

 

Asher asks: "Why would they have turned off the main road? I don't know, but it's not too far a stretch to imagine that Gatsby and the Buchanans would have done this precisely for the scenery, because they wanted to show off the full stark vision of New York City's valley of ashes to their visitor Nick Carraway. Who hasn't sometimes taken the long route on a car ride to impress a guest?"

 

I know why Tom took that detour. He had some scenery of his own to enjoy. 

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Reading Lists of Your Favorite Fictional TV Characters

Reading Lists of Your Favorite Fictional TV Characters | License to Read | Scoop.it

"Click through to see what books Don Draper, Margot Tenanbaum, and Daria Morgendorffer have been occupying themselves with recently." 

 

Quite the extensive libraries. My personal favorite: Patrick Stewart

 

As for Lisa Simpson: "Imagine turning all these pages with so few fingers."

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Margaret Atwood at Butler University

Margaret Atwood at Butler University | License to Read | Scoop.it

I've read "The Handmaid's Tale" and "The Blind Assassin," the latter of which was part of a Twitter-based book club that she herself attended! @1book140

 

She's hip like that. (She has over 12,000 tweets.) 

 

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Many More Types of Book Readers: A Diagnostics Addendum

Many More Types of Book Readers: A Diagnostics Addendum | License to Read | Scoop.it

"The Diagnostics Guide deserves an addendum. Herewith, many more types of book readers."

 

Clearly I must embrace the titles of both Multi Tasker and Sharer. In fact, they complement each other. I flirt with a lot of books, don't even finish all of them, but I do date them long enough to know someone who will be a better fit. "Here, it's not really my type, but you two..."  

 

I've even shared some of the very books in the picture next to the description! And for a while, I wouldn't stop talking about them. But I have moved on. So many other fish in the sea. 

 

 

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What Kind of Book Reader Are You? A Diagnostics Guide

What Kind of Book Reader Are You? A Diagnostics Guide | License to Read | Scoop.it
The New Yorker's Page-Turner blog includes a book-reader coinage that got us thinking about our reading styles.

 

I'm definitely The Multi-Tasker, although I don't confuse characters or plots. People who follow multiple TV serials--even ones as similar as ER and Chicago Hope--don't confuse characters, so why in the world would book readers? 

 

Every so often a book will demand my commitment, and in these rare instances I willingly quit dating the others for a few days. Those are the ones I'll go out with again when they ask.

 

Mostly, though, I follow the "hippie" style, just like Mark O'Connell, and embrace the title of "book cheater."

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The 6 Most Certifiably Insane Acts of Writing

The 6 Most Certifiably Insane Acts of Writing | License to Read | Scoop.it
Fun fact: All writers are crazy, to some degree. Like, really crazy.

 

Teachers too, especially the ones who have to give constructive criticism on writing, every day, all day, every weekend, all weekend, ... ad nauseam.

 

Until I got to "Finnegan's Wake, I thought this article was an elaborate hoax.Then I knew it was all true. I was supposed to read FW in grad school, but after "Ulysses," I figured, why bother? Hardest. Book. Ever. 

 

(A high school student once claimed to have read Ulysses. Um, yeah.)

 

I was so amused at all this that I nearly missed the captions:

 

"Still better than Stephenie Meyer."

 

"I'm still looking for the right coffee shop. Every writer knows that's the most important step."

 

...etc.

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Guessing Game: ‘The Lord of the Rings’ as Written by Other Famous Authors - Flavorwire

Guessing Game: ‘The Lord of the Rings’ as Written by Other Famous Authors - Flavorwire | License to Read | Scoop.it

"Frodo Baggins looked at the ring. The ring was round. It was a good ring. The hole at the heart of the ring was also round. The hole was clean and pure. ... The earth moved."

 

This last one was too easy. 

 

Some writers have distinct stylistic fingerprints. Student writers, not so much.  

 

Fun guessing game, even if you haven't read LOTR. 

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