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Behold Octavia Butler’s Motivational Notes to Self

Handwritten notes on the inside cover of one of Octavia E. Butler’s commonplace books, 1988 I was attracted to science fiction because it was so wide open. I was able to do anything and there were no walls to hem you in and there was no human condition that you were stopped from examining. —Octavia E. Butler Like many authors, the late Octavia E. Butler took up writing at a young age. At 11, she was churning out tales about horses and romance. At 12, she saw Devil Girl from Mars, and figured (c...
Tags: Google, Books, Writing, College, K-12, New York Times, Literature, Mars, Pluto, Harlan Ellison, Facebook Twitter, Butler, MacArthur, Octavia Butler, Austin Kleon Related Content, Clarion Science Fiction Writing Workshop


Martin Amis Explains His Method for Writing Great Sentences

Why does Martin Amis writes sentences well? As a novelist, he naturally has a high degree of professional interest in the matter. But why does he write sentences so well? One might put forth the influence of his father Kingsley Amis, author of Lucky Jim, an enduring contender for the title of the funniest novel in the English language. But given how seldom one acclaimed novelist sires another — an event, in fact, nearly unheard of — the heritability of literary talent remains unknowable....
Tags: Google, Facebook, Writing, College, Uganda, Literature, Martin Amis, Seoul, Kingsley Amis, Martin, Kingsley, Facebook Twitter, Jim, Scott Fitzgerald, Nietzsche, Chicago Humanities Festival


Why James Baldwin’s Writing Stays Powerful: An Artfully Animated Introduction to the Author of Notes of a Native Son

Every writer hopes to be survived by his work. In the case of James Baldwin, the 32 years since his death seem only to have increased the relevance of the writing he left behind. Consisting of  novels, essays, and even a children's book , Baldwin's body of work offers different points of entry to different readers. Many begin with with Go Tell it on the Mountain, the semi-autobiographical debut novel in which he mounts a critique of the Pentecostal Church. Others may find their gateway...
Tags: Google, Facebook, College, France, America, History, Fbi, Paris, Literature, Berkeley, Seoul, Memphis, Harper, James Baldwin, United States of America, Facebook Twitter


Why Should We Read Melville’s Moby-Dick? A TED-Ed Animation Makes the Case

Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick is a major 19th epic and a “Great American Novel” that routinely appears on best-of-all-time lists next to Homer and Dante. This grand literary judgment descends from early 20th century critics who rescued the novel from obscurity after decades of scorn and neglect. When the book first appeared in 1851, no one knew what to make of Melville’s cosmic whaling revenge tale. Reviews were highly mixed, sales dismal, the book flopped. This Moby-Dick revival happened ...
Tags: Google, College, Literature, Copenhagen, James Joyce, Dick, Virginia Woolf, Herman Melville, Facebook Twitter, Melville, Durham NC, Joyce, Josh Jones, Ishmael, Ahab, Woolf


Haruki Murakami Will Host a Radio Show & Help Listeners “Blow Away Some of the Corona-Related Blues”

Image by Ilana Simon Characters in Haruki Murakami’s books see emotions in colors and hear them in sounds—the sounds, specifically, of The Beatles, Shostakovich, Sarah Vaughan, and thousands more folk, pop, rock, classical, and jazz artists in the novelist’s immense record collection. We must occasionally suspend some disbelief as readers, not only in the fantastic elements in Murakami’s work, but in characters who seem to know almost as much as the author does about music, who are always ready...
Tags: Google, Music, Japan, College, Literature, Tokyo, Haruki Murakami, Facebook Twitter, Josh Jones, Murakami, Durham NC Follow, Jazz Playlist Jazz Essay Jazz Bar, Murakami Radio, Dre Dimura, DiMura, Ilana Simon Characters


The Shakespeare and Company Project Digitizes the Records of the Famous Bookstore, Showing the Reading Habits of the Lost Generation

Great writers don’t come out of nowhere, even if some of them might end up there. They grow in gardens tended by other writers, readers, editors, and pioneering booksellers like Sylvia Beach, founder and proprietor of Shakespeare and Company. Beach opened the English-language shop in Paris in 1919. Three years later, she published James Joyce’s Ulysses, “a feat that would make her—and her bookshop and lending library—famous,” notes Princeton University’s Shakespeare and Company Project. (Infamo...
Tags: Google, College, France, Edgar Allan Poe, Paris, Literature, Shakespeare, Princeton, James Joyce, Dick, Gertrude Stein, Princeton University, Ernest Hemingway, Facebook Twitter, Joyce, Ulysses


William Blake Illustrates Mary Wollstonecraft’s Work of Children’s Literature, Original Stories from Real Life (1791)

Most of us know Mary Wollstonecraft as the author of the 1792 pamphlet A Vindication of the Rights of Women, and as the mother of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley. Fewer of us may know that two years before she published her foundational feminist text, she wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Men, a pro-French Revolution, anti-monarchy argument that first made her famous as a writer and philosopher. Perhaps far fewer know that Wollstonecraft began her career as a published author in 1787 with T...
Tags: Google, Art, London, College, Literature, Philosophy, William Blake, Metz, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary, Blake, Facebook Twitter, Caroline, Frankenstein, University of Tennessee, Josh Jones


‘Never Be Afraid’: William Faulkner’s Speech to His Daughter’s Graduating Class in 1951

By the start of the 1950s, the euphoria felt by Americans after winning World War II had given way to a pervasive atmosphere of dread. The Soviets had exploded their first atomic bomb, McCarthyism had reared its head, and America's schoolchildren would soon be told to "Duck and Cover" at the first sound of a civil defense siren. It was in this climate of palpable fear that William Faulkner was asked by his daughter, Jill, to speak to her graduating class of 1951 at University High School...
Tags: Google, Sweden, College, America, Oxford, Literature, Facebook Twitter, Jill, University of Mississippi, Caesars, FAULKNER, OXFORD MISSISSIPPI, William Faulkner, Hemingway Faulkner, Henri Estienne, Graduation Speech


Watch Free Plays from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre: Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth & More

As depressing articles about the upcoming Summer of COVID-19 begin to proliferate, our hopes for beach days, concert series, and summer camp begin to dim. Here in New York City, the Public Theater’s announcement that it is cancelling the upcoming season of its famed Shakespeare in the Park was met with understandable sadness. You don’t have to like Shakespeare to enjoy the ritual of entering Central Park shortly after dawn, prepared to sit online for several hours awaiting noon’s free ti...
Tags: Google, UK, London, College, Life, New York City, Theatre, Park, K-12, Literature, Shakespeare, Globe, Romeo, Central Park, Public Theater, Facebook Twitter


Why reading is a form of therapy in times of crisis

Time and again, reading has been shown to make us healthier, smarter, and more empathic. How can we use literature as therapy during this moment of drastic change? Ask your questions for Lisa New in the live Q&A on YouTube or Facebook.In this live session with Harvard literature professor Lisa New, you'll dive into the world of prose and poetry, discovering the answer to questions like: how can I use reading as a coping mechanism? What do I lose when I only watch the movie and ignore the book? A...
Tags: Art, Learning, Education, Entertainment, Writing, America, Intelligence, Reading, Brain, Creativity, Harvard, Harvard University, Innovation, Literature, Emotions, Mind


Watch Samuel Beckett Walk the Streets of Berlin Like a Boss, 1969

Samuel Beckett long had a fondness for Berlin, from his first trip in the late 1920s--when he fell in love with his cousin while visiting his uncle on his mom’s side--to his longtime relationship with his German translator Erika Tophoven and with the Schiller Theater, which produced many of his plays. The above footage shows the 63-year old Beckett walking the streets of Berlin, asking for directions, or reading the daily paper at a cafe. At one point he is seen walking with a woman (pos...
Tags: Google, Film, College, Berlin, Paris, Literature, Dublin, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Facebook Twitter, Beckett, KCRW, Caspar David Friedrich, Schopenhauer, Ted Mills, Schiller Theater


Watch Samuel Beckett Walk the Streets of Berlin, 1969

Samuel Beckett long had a fondness for Berlin, from his first trip in the late 1920s--when he fell in love with his cousin while visiting his uncle on his mom’s side--to his longtime relationship with his German translator Erika Tophoven and with the Schiller Theater, which produced many of his plays. The above footage shows the 63-year old Beckett walking the streets of Berlin, asking for directions, or reading the daily paper at a cafe. At one point he is seen walking with a woman (pos...
Tags: Google, Film, College, Berlin, Paris, Literature, Dublin, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Facebook Twitter, Beckett, KCRW, Caspar David Friedrich, Schopenhauer, Ted Mills, Schiller Theater


This app uses audiobooks to teach you a new language

Learning a new language has positive effects on memory and even helps your brain grow in size. Beelinguapp uses audiobooks to teach you new languages. You can get a lifetime subscription to the app for 60% off, today. Learning a new language is on many of our bucket lists. The idea of communicating fluently with others or being able to read signs while traveling abroad is highly appealing. The sense of accomplishment that comes with learning new skills is irreplaceable. Yet as we grow old...
Tags: Google, Technology, Learning, Education, Reading, Language, Innovation, Literature, Speech


How Can Boccaccio’s 14th Century Decameron Help Us Live Through COVID-19?

I remember reading selections of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron in my early high school years—and I remember reading them as light, bawdy tales about aristocrats in gardens. We were briefly introduced to the frame narrative, set amidst the 1348 outbreak of plague in Florence, which killed off half the city’s population. But the Black Death seemed almost mythological in scope—a phantom on the periphery. As Albert Camus writes in The Plague, a book also appearing on bestseller and recommen...
Tags: Google, College, Edgar Allan Poe, Italy, Literature, Albert Camus, Florence, New Statesman, Facebook Twitter, Nicolas, Josh Jones, Spicer, Florentines, Boccaccio, Durham NC Follow, Andre Spicer


10 courses that can turn you into a better writer

Reading has been shown to increase intelligence and empathy, making writing a powerful communication tool. There are methods that can help you become a stronger writer, such as creating outlines and reading lists, and editing. Transmitting ideas from your head onto the page helps you to organize your thinking process. Creative writing is a powerful means for organizing your thoughts. Not only are you partaking in the ancient craft of storytelling, but the process of creating a narrati...
Tags: Art, Movies, Learning, Education, Writing, Communication, Language, Innovation, Literature


What is Albert Camus’ The Plague About? An Introduction

Topping lists of plague novels circulating these days, Albert Camus’ 1947 The Plague (La Peste), as many have been quick to point out, is about more than its blunt title would suggest. The book incorporates Camus’ experience as editor-in-chief of Combat, a French Resistance newspaper, and serves as an allegory for the spread of fascism and the Nazi occupation of France. It also illustrates the evolution of his philosophical thought: a gradual turn toward the primacy of the absurd, and aw...
Tags: Google, Europe, Books, London, College, France, China, Literature, Philosophy, Albert Camus, Lombardy, Facebook Twitter, Sartre, Constantinople, Josh Jones, Defoe


Pandemic Literature: A Meta-List of the Books You Should Read in Coronavirus Quarantine

Describing conditions characteristic of life in the early 21st century, future historians may well point to such epidemic viral illnesses as SARS, MERS, and the now-rampaging COVID-19. But those focused on culture will also have their pick of much more benign recurring phenomena to explain: topical book lists, for instance, which crop up in the 21st-century press at the faintest prompting by current events. As the coronavirus has spread through the English-speaking world over the past month, pa...
Tags: Google, Facebook, Europe, Books, London, College, Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, History, Literature, Guardian, Margaret Atwood, Albert Camus, Seoul, Florence, Michael Crichton


Download Classic Works of Plague Fiction: From Daniel Defoe & Mary Shelley, to Edgar Allan Poe

The apotheosis of prestige realist plague film, Steven Soderburgh’s 2011 Contagion, has become one of the most popular features on major streaming platforms, at a time when people have also turned increasingly to books of all kinds about plagues, from fantasy, horror, and science fiction to accounts that show the experience as it was in all its ugliness—or at least as those who experienced it remembered the events. Such a work is Daniel Defoe’s semi-fictional history “A Journal of the Plague Ye...
Tags: Google, Europe, Books, London, College, Edgar Allan Poe, History, Britain, Moscow, Literature, Isaac Newton, Algeria, Albert Camus, Catherine, Marseilles, Lisbon


How to become a masterful storyteller

Reading has been shown to make you more intelligent and empathic, a trait that good writers learn to master. Storytelling is one of the most important forms of communication that humans engage in. While "finding your voice" is what writers crave, beginning with the basics is an essential step on any writer's path. Storytelling is an ancient human vocation. The ability to transfer ideas from one brain to another played a large part in how language evolved. While for most of history our a...
Tags: Work, Books, Movies, Learning, Education, Writing, Success, Reading, Empathy, Brain, Language, Innovation, Literature, Mind, Personal Growth


Patrick Stewart Is Reading Every Shakespeare Sonnet on Instagram: One a Day “to Keep the Doctor Away”

  View this post on Instagram   It has led me to undertake what follows. When I was a child in the 1940s, my mother would cut up slices of fruit for me (there wasn't much) and as she put it in front of me she would say: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." How about, “A sonnet a day keeps the doctor away”? So...here we go: Sonnet 1. A post shared by Patrick Stewart (@sirpatstew) on Mar 22, 2020 at 4:28pm PDT After receiving...
Tags: Google, Instagram, College, Current Affairs, Literature, Shakespeare, Patrick Stewart, Ben Kingsley, Helen Mirren, Ian Mckellen, Agincourt, Henry V, John Barton, Stewart, Patrick, Facebook Twitter


What’s the Function of Criticism? Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #36 with Critic Noah Berlatsky

http://podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.libsyn.com/partiallyexaminedlife/PMP_036_3-11-20.mp3 Do we need professional critics regulating our entertainment intake?  Noah has written for numerous publications including The Washington Post, The Atlantic, NBC News, The Guardian, Slate, and Vox, and his work has come up for discussion in multiple past Pretty Much Pop episodes. He was invited to join hosts Mark Linsenmayer, Erica Spyres, and Brian Hirt in spelling out the functions of criticism...
Tags: Google, Music, Film, College, Noah, Criticism, Atlantic, Bob Dylan, Literature, Vox, Mel Brooks, Hemingway, Mark, Facebook Twitter, Weiner, Ken Russell


Meet the World’s First Known Author: Sumerian High Priestess Enheduanna

Watchers of Westworld will have heard a character in the most recent episode utter the line, “for the first time, history has an author.” It’s as loaded a bit of dialogue as the series has dropped on fans, not least for its suggestion that in the absence of a god we should be better off with an all-knowing machine. The line might bend the ear of literary scholars for another reason. The idea of authorship is a complicated one. In one sense, maybe, everyone is an author of history, and in...
Tags: Google, College, Poetry, Literature, Westworld, Facebook Twitter, Abraham, Miguel De Cervantes, Josh Jones, Inanna, Michel, Sargon, Akkad, Durham NC Follow, Enheduanna, Lit Hub


Why You Should Read The Plague, the Albert Camus Novel the Coronavirus Has Made a Bestseller Again

The coronavirus, fair to say, isn't good for the economy: not for the economies of individual nations, and not for the world economy as a whole. But that's not to say that every industry has taken a hit. This is hardly the worst time in history to produce and sell toilet paper, for instance, nor to furnish the packages of necessities demanded by "preppers" who foresee the end of society as we know it. One probably wouldn't wish to take the place of the makers of Corona beer right now, but despi...
Tags: Google, Amazon, South Korea, College, France, Italy, Literature, Albert Camus, Seoul, Facebook Twitter, Corona, Oran, Coetzee, Camus, Colin Marshall, Marina Warner


Hear H.P. Lovecraft Horror Stories Read by Roddy McDowall

"Most daemoniacal of all shocks is that of the abysmally unexpected and grotesquely unbelievable," goes a typical line in the work of H.P. Lovecraft. " Nothing I had before undergone could compare in terror with what I now saw; with the bizarre marvels that sight implied." As a writer of what he called "weird fiction," Lovecraft specialized in the narrator plunged into a loss for words by the sheer incomprehensibility of that which he sees before him. But in the case of this particu...
Tags: Google, College, Edgar Allan Poe, Literature, Seoul, Oscar Wilde, Poe, Facebook Twitter, McDowell, Caesar, Lovecraft, Cornelius, Paul Gallagher, McDowall, Colin Marshall, Roddy McDowall


The Library of Congress Wants You to Help Transcribe Walt Whitman’s Poems & Letters: Almost 4000 Unpublished Documents Are Waiting

Every once in a while, a prominent artist will offer the advice that you should quit your day job and never look back. In some fields, this may be possible, though it’s becoming increasingly difficult these days, which may explain the reception Brian Eno gets when he tells art school students “not to have a job.” Eno admits, “I rarely get asked back.” In a letter to his anxious mother, Gustave Flaubert, railed against “those bastard existences where you sell suet all day and write poetry at nig...
Tags: Google, Congress, College, Washington, Poetry, George Orwell, Libraries, Literature, Jamaica, Gustave Flaubert, Library Of Congress, Brian Eno, LOC, Eno, Facebook Twitter, Union Army


Free: Read the Original 23,000-Word Essay That Became Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971)

Because my story was true. I was certain of that. And it was extremely important, I felt, for the meaning of our journey to be made absolutely clear.  The publication history of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the story of gonzo journalism itself, a form dependent upon the unreliability of its narrator, who becomes a central character in the ostensibly real-life drama. In Thompson’s hallucinogenic tales of his travels to Las Vegas with attorney and Chicano activist Oscar ...
Tags: Google, Books, College, Kentucky, Los Angeles, Literature, Las Vegas, Hunter S Thompson, Rolling Stone, Goya, Thompson, Hunter, Jann Wenner, Facebook Twitter, Hunter Thompson, Josh Jones


Why We Should Read William Golding’s Lord of the Flies: An Animated Video Makes the Case

Like many of you, I was assigned to read William Golding’s Lord of the Flies in junior high. (Raise your hand if you had the one with this cover). Looking back, was there a subconscious reason our teacher gave us this famous tale of a group of shipwrecked children and young teens turning into murderous savages? Were we really that bad? Perhaps you’ve never read the book and got assigned To Kill a Mockingbird or Kes instead. Is Golding’s book still worth picking up as an adult? For su...
Tags: Google, College, Stephen King, Royal Navy, Literature, William Shakespeare, Oklahoma, William Golding, Peter Brook, Dick, Eagles, Columbine, Facebook Twitter, KCRW, Golding, Daniel Defoe


Hunter Thompson Died 15 Years Ago: Hear Him Remembered by Tom Wolfe, Johnny Depp, Ralph Steadman, and Others

Hunter S. Thompson died on February 20, 2005, fifteen years ago, and ever since we've been wondering aloud what he would make of the state of the world today. Though events have all but cried out for another Thompson to savagely describe and even more savagely ridicule them, what other writer could live up to the formidable standard Thompson set with Hell’s Angels, “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved,” Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and his other harrowing gonzo-journalistic vi...
Tags: Google, Hollywood, College, Kentucky, Literature, Matt Taibbi, Johnny Depp, Las Vegas, Terry Gilliam, Hunter S Thompson, Mark Twain, Seoul, Keith Richards, Kentucky Derby, Thompson, John Cusack


The New York Public Library Creates a List of 125 Books That They Love

The New York Public Library sure knows how to celebrate a quasquicentennial. In honor of its own 125th anniversary, it's rolling out a number of treats for patrons, visitors, and those who must admire it from afar. In addition to the expected author talks and live events, Patience and Fortitude, the iconic stone lions who flank the main branch's front steps, are displaying some reading material of their own—Toni Morrison’s 1987 novel Beloved and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age classic The Great ...
Tags: Google, Books, Podcasts, Patricia Highsmith, College, New York City, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, George Orwell, Nypl, Libraries, Literature, Harry Potter, Arthur Conan Doyle, Margaret Atwood, Martin Amis


The Graphic Novel Adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, Coming Out This Year

Since its publication just over half a century ago, Slaughterhouse-Five has seen bans and , gone through various adaptations, and all the while held its place in the American literary canon. Something about Kurt Vonnegut's story of the involuntarily time-traveling optometrist Billy Pilgrim, who like his creator survived the firebombing of Dresden in the Second World War, continues to resonate with readers even as that war (and so very many novels about it) pass out of living memory. Vonnegut h...
Tags: Google, Books, College, Literature, Seoul, Dresden, James Joyce, Anne Frank, Kurt Vonnegut, Mary, Facebook Twitter, O Hare, George Roy Hill, Vonnegut, Colin Marshall, Comics/Cartoons



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