Saturday, June 30, 2012

New York Types

The Human Fly - the Movie?


11 Authors Who Hated the Movie Versions of Their Books

The list, care of Mental Floss.

From said list...

4. Note to filmmakers: don’t anger the author of the book before the sequel has been written. Unhappy with the way Hollywood treated Forrest Gump by omitting plot points and sanitizing some of the language and sex, author Winston Groom started its sequel with the lines, “Don’t never let nobody make a movie of your life’s story,” and “Whether they get it right or wrong, it don’t matter.” You can’t blame Groom for being mad: he sued for the 3% net profits his contract promised him, which he hadn’t received because producers claimed that by the time they took out production costs and advertising and promotional costs, the movie didn’t turn a profit. To add insult to injury, Groom wasn’t mentioned in any of the six Academy Award acceptance speeches given by various cast and crew members of Forrest Gump.

The Greatest Female Sci-Fi/Fantasy Writers of All-Time

The list, care of Flavorwire.

88 Books that Shaped America

The list, care of the Library of Congress.

The World's 54 Largest Book Publishers

The list, care of Publisher's Weekly.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Walking Dead - the Magazine?


From a piece in the Hollywood Reporter...

The Walking Dead is coming soon -- to your mailbox.
Titan Magazines and Skybound (the publisher behind the long-running comic book series) are teaming to launch The Walking Dead, The Official Magazine, the companies announced Thursday.
The quarterly title will launch Oct. 23 -- timed to the October premiere of the AMC zombie drama's third season -- and feature a look inside the comic series created by Robert Kirkman as well as the AMC drama starring Andrew Lincoln.


Bad Trip: Ten Novels With Serious Drug Psychosis

The list, care of Lit Reactor.

Metal Men - The Movie?


I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tale

Tree of Life

The first-known sketch of an evolutionary tree describing the relationships among groups of organism, by Charles Darwin, here.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Revisiting World Book Night 2012

What is Art?

Some thoughts, via the Atlantic, from antiquity to today.

From the piece...

Thomas Merton in No Man is an Island:
Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
Francis Ford Coppola in a recent interview:
An essential element of any art is risk. If you don't take a risk then how are you going to make something really beautiful, that hasn't been seen before? I always like to say that cinema without risk is like having no sex and expecting to have a baby. You have to take a risk.

When Librarians Go Bad

It's when they bilk lots of money from the library they work at.

From a story in the New York Times...

Margo Reed’s story is not one of those tales. 

Still, there was a perverse reminder that a little can go a long way when she was sentenced on Wednesday after pleading guilty in February to making off with $163,582 in library fines collected by the three public library branches in Yonkers over a seven-year period. 

Ms. Reed, 54, was sentenced to shock probation — six months in the Westchester County Jail and the rest of the next five years on probation — by Richard A. Molea, acting justice of the State Supreme Court, after she pleaded guilty to felony charges of grand larceny and filing false tax returns. She will also have to make restitution for the amount of the theft. Prosecutors had sought a state prison sentence, which would have meant at least a year in prison. 

Her lawyer, Lawrence Sykes, said that she had no prior record of arrests or convictions, but had a gambling addiction — including gambling in Atlantic City and playing the lottery — that helped lead to her crime.

Fleet Street: The Surprising Origins of the Modern Newspaper

Matthew Green discusses Britain's first newspapers.

From the piece in the Telegraph...

The birth of the modern newspaper can be traced to a house that once stood on the eastern bank of the fetid River Fleet in London. From 1702, overlooking the sewage, dead dogs, and suicide victims that clogged up the waterway, England’s first daily newspaper, the Daily Courant, thumped, clanged and squelched out the news to the city's eager citizens.
It was just one product of a media revolution at the dawn of the 18th century. For reasons that will become clear, England’s strict pre-publication censorship laws melted away in 1695 and within months a prolific newspaper press had burst into life. By the mid-1730s, 31 papers - six dailies, 12 tri-weeklies and 13 weeklies - were being hawked on the streets of London, with an average combined weekly circulation of 100,000. Contemporaries assumed that each issue was read or heard by 20 people in taverns, coffeehouses, barber shops and elsewhere, suggesting that by the mid-1740s, some 42 per cent of London’s 650,000-strong population consumed news daily.
The press boom triggered a new addiction, something the journalist Joseph Addison defined in 1712 as a ‘news frenzy‘.

Top 10 Literary Quotes from the Simpsons

The list, care of Book Riot.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Keeping the Tower of Babel from Falling

How? With Google's Endangered Language Project.

From a story in the New York Daily News...

The project's website provides this statement on its aims: "The Endangered Languages Project, is an online resource to record, access, and share samples of and research on endangered languages, as well as to share advice and best practices for those working to document or strengthen languages under threat."

A world map provides visual aid, with dots representing endangered languages, in their area of origin. Clicking on a dot, such as the one for Tsakonian, opens a page with a description, samples, guide and activity for the language. It also has a classification of the language's vitality, determined based on the number of speakers worldwide. Tsakonian's 1,200 speakers make it a “threatened” language. Social media links are provided on the page, inviting users to "spread the word and help raise awareness" for the language through Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook.

It has already received and posted submissions, under the categories of language documentation, language learning, technology and personal statements. Languages that are relatively well-known but still considered endangered, like Yiddish, should garner a fair amount of attention. Time will tell if the more obscure languages' speakers will support their tongues on the site.

Comic Book Legend Alan Moore to Write for the Screen

So reports the Guardian.

From the piece...

But if you've ever wondered quite what a movie made with Moore's full cooperation might look like, now's your chance. The writer has announced he is teaming up with director Mitch Jenkins to work on a series of "occult, noir flecked" short films titled Show Pieces, the first of which was recently shot in London.

Act of Faith, which stars Siobhan Hewlett (Sherlock, Hotel Babylon, Torchwood) will be followed by Jimmy's End, which is due to be filmed in Northampton later this summer. The project as a whole is described as a "multi-layered, multi-episode narrative" created by Moore and brought to life by Jenkins. Both films will premiere at a New York event in October before screening via the digital arts platform


How much of a language is silent? What does it look like when you take the silence out? Can we use code as a tool to answer these questions?

silenc – visualization from Kenneth Aleksander Robertsen on Vimeo.

Fiction That Pushes the Limits of Design

Can graphic design help novelists tell stories fit for a visual age, or is the future of fiction to be found in traditional narrative?

Listen to a podcast at the Guardian, here.

Infamous Book Promotions Through the Years

Moby Lives relives them.

From the list...

Grimod de la Reyniere wanted to give some readers a truly memorable experience while promoting his book, Reflections on Pleasure, so he invited them to dinner, locked them in a hall, and insulted them for hours on end while black-robed waiters placed plates of food on top of a catafalque-turned-table. His book enjoyed multiple printings.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The All-Time Coolest Musician/Author Collaborations

How about Kurt Cobain and William S. Burroughs? Or Bono and Salman Rushdie? See the list, here, on Flavorwire.

Bad Book, Great Movie

Laura Miller, for Salon, argues that bad books can make for great movies.

From the piece...

Yet it’s a truism in Hollywood that bad (or, at least, not especially good) novels make better films than great books do. There’s sense in this: A filmmaker may feel more obliged to subordinate his vision to an author’s if the book is a patent work of genius, and creative people become less agile when they approach a project on bended knee. Furthermore, what makes a novel great — the elaborate architecture of the characters’ inner lives in “The Portrait of a Lady,” say — is often what’s hardest to capture in a dramatic, visual medium, precisely because those are the things that novels do best.

Still, the computer programmers’ slang GIGO (for “garbage in, garbage out”) remains a reliable rule of thumb: Did anyone really expect the film versions of “The Da Vinci Code” or “Marley & Me” to transcend their source material? The most commonly cited examples of good films made from not-good books are “The Godfather,” “Jaws” and “The Bridges of Madison County.” Many critics were surprised at the quality of the first “Twilight” film, directed by Catherine Hardwicke. Others point to “Children of Men,” which was based on an indifferent science fiction novel by mystery author P.D. James.

It’s notable, though, how the same handful of titles comes up over and over again when you ask for examples of bad books that became good films.

Cliche Finder

There's a program you can use that detects cliches and overused words in your text. Find out about SmartWrite, here.

Awesome Books to Replace Your Favorite Cancelled TV Shows

io9 helps you out with your longing.

From the piece...

Pushing Daisies
We could include all three Bryan Fuller shows, including Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me — but I'm not sure we'd have a different recommendation for all three, because they're all in the same wheelhouse of "quirky supernatural stories with lovable misfit characters." In Pushing Daisies, Ned has the power to resurrect the dead — either permanently or temporarily — with a touch. He uses this to reawaken his sweetheart Chuck — but then if he touches her again, she'll be dead for good.

The book substitute:
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender.
Just as pies provide a huge motif in Pushing Daisies, so too is food vital in Bender's 2010 novel. Rose is a "magic food psychic" who can sense people's secrets by eating their food. Eventually, she hones this ability to the point where she can learn all sorts of things by eating — and this changes her relationships with everyone around her. Like Pushing Daisies, Lemon Cake shows how a strange power can change your relationship with people around you, and with the world.

The Book Fair Boom

While secondhand bookshops are struggling, book fairs are thriving. Why should this be?

From the Guardian...

 Just what is it that's making these fairs so successful, at a time when conventional second-hand bookstores are closing down? Part of the appeal is that book fairs offer up books as tactile objects for leisurely perusal at a time when readers are increasingly doing their reading on e-readers and online. Potential purchasers can feel the heft, the quality of the paper - and in the case of second-hand books, look for intriguing dedications in the back. What's more, they can do this in the presence of knowledgeable publishers and booksellers - which is why books and pamphlets with beautiful illustrations or high production values are often to be found at book fairs.

Of course, this still doesn't explain why fairs should succeed where second-hand bookshops struggle - but perhaps the answer to lies in the sociability of browsing. A book fair is not just a static location - it is an event. More often than not it includes guest speakers, workshops and poetry readings. Visitors can mingle, meet friends and form acquaintances with others who have similar literary or political interests.

Monday, June 25, 2012

25 Things You Should Know about Writing Fantasy

The list, care of Terrible Minds.

From said list...
2. Fantastical Fiefdoms
Fantasy is vivisected into various gobbets, limbs and organs — sword-and-sorcery does battle with epic or high fantasy, horror-tinged fantasy used to be “dark fantasy” but now it’s “urban fantasy” or maybe “paranormal fantasy” or maybe “fantasy with vampires and werewolves looking sexy while clad in genital-crushing leathers.” There’s fantasy of myth and fantasy that’s funny and fantasy that’s laced with a thread of science-fiction. You have magic realism and one day we’ll probably have real magicalism and I’m sure there’s a genre of fantasy where lots of fantasy creatures bang the whimsy right out of one another (hot centaur-on-goblin action, yow). Sub-genres have value as marketing tools and as a way to give you some direction and fencing as you write. Otherwise: ignore as you see fit. Or create your own! 

3. Rooted In The Real
Reality is fantasy’s best friend. We, the audience, and you, the writer, all live in reality. The problems we understand are real problems. Genuine conflicts. True drama. The drama of families, of lost loves, of financial woes. Cruel neighbors and callow bullies and loved ones dead. This is the nature of write what you know, and the fantasy writer’s version of that is, write what’s real. Which sounds like very bad advice, because last time I checked, none of us were plagued by dragons or sentient fungal cities or old gods come back to haunt us. But that’s not the point — the point is, you use the fantasy to highlight the reality. The dragon is the callow bully. The lease on your fungal apartment is up and your financial woes puts you in tithe to the old gods who in turn make for very bad neighbors. You grab the core essence of a true problem and swaddle it in the mad glittery ribbons of fantasy — and therein you find glorious new permutations of conflict. Reality expressed in mind-boggling ways. Reach for fantasy. Find the reality.

Superheroes Live in Our World

Why is there a sudden focus on gay themes in the world of superheroes? Axel Alonso, editor in chief of Marvel Comics, explains on BBC Radio, here.

Anatomy of a Book Discovery

How does an obscure book make it big, anyway? Marketing plays a crucial role. So does luck.

Good Reads takes a closer look, here.

The Short History of Book Reviewing's Slow Decline

The Awl puts a nail in the coffin of book reviewing.

From the piece...

"Who Killed the Literary Critic?" was the subject of a 2008 Salon conversation between critics Laura Miller and Louis Bayard. The trigger for the discussion: a book called The Death of the Critic which hypothesized that the lack of both public intellectuals and a rigorous academic community of inquiry had caused criticism to founder. Miller considered how the increase of “too many other entertainment options” takes away from reading time. Against this, both Miller and Bayard discuss the “fuck you” aspect of modernism's output as a factor that might drive readers to kindlier, more benevolent texts—novels and television shows that don’t wish to frighten audiences with their aggressive difficulty. “There are no critical movements evident today,” observed Miller. (And even if there were, they’re not all going to be online, or in one forum. Any real critical movement simply should not be confined to one community or some new means of communication.) Perhaps a large problem in the decline of good criticism is that readers no longer know how, or where, to find critics, and, more importantly, how to define what makes it Good.

Wait - How Did We Name Colors Like Orange Anyway? And Is It Messing With Our Brains?


From a piece on Empirical Zeal...

There are plenty of other languages that blur the lines between what we call blue and green. Many languages don’t distinguish between the two colors at all. In Vietnamese the Thai language, khiaw means green except if it refers to the sky or the sea, in which case it’s blue (Update: Thanks, Ani Nguyen, for catching this mistake. See her comment below about blue and green in Vietnamese). The Korean word purueda could refer to either blue or green, and the same goes for the Chinese word qīng. It’s not just East Asian languages either, this is something you see across language families. aIn fact, Radiolab had a fascinating recent episode on color where they talked about how there was no blue in the original Hebrew Bible, nor in all of Homer’s Illiad or Odyssey!

I find this fascinating, because it highlights a powerful idea about how we might see the world. After all, what really is a color? Just like the crayons, we’re taking something that has no natural boundaries – the frequencies of visible light – and dividing into convenient packages that we give a name.

Wait. There IS a Word That Rhymes with Orange?


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Poop Like a Superhero

Excuse me?!


Will Cookbooks Go Extinct?

Yes, says Slate.

From the piece...

I’m not exactly objective about this. When I was a teenager, my idea of a relaxing after-school activity was to read cookbooks in my family’s La-Z-Boy, salivating over the photography, relishing droll turns of phrase, and dog-earing recipes I wanted to try. My first job out of college was as an assistant for a successful cookbook author, a position for which I spent thousands of hours writing, testing, and editing recipes. Cookbooks dominate my bookshelves. A good friend ghostwrites cookbooks for famous chefs. You’d be hard-pressed to imagine someone more predisposed to be sentimental about cookbooks than me.

And yet I’m not only certain of the imminent demise of the print cookbook—I’m fine with it. That’s because print cookbooks offer nothing that apps, e-books, and websites can’t, despite print enthusiasts’ efforts to recast them as objets d’art.

10 Amazing Contemporary Comic Book Covers

The list, care of the Huffington Post.

Responses to “Kitchen Wall, Alabama Farmstead"

Gastronomica invited authors Ruth Reichl, Francine Prose, Elizabeth Graver, Ellen Dore Watson and Patty Crane to reflect on Evans' photograph, to imagine the lives beyond the kitchen wall.

From the piece...

In the summer of 1936 the photographer Walker Evans collaborated with the writer James Agee on an article about cotton farmers in the American South. The article was never published, but the material they gathered eventually became the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, published in 1941. For four weeks in July, Evans photographed three sharecropper families and their environment. Agee noted the significance of “bareness and space” in these homes: “general odds and ends are set very plainly and squarely discrete from one another. . . [giving] each object a full strength it would not otherwise have.” These objects only hint at the lives of the inhabitants of this house, which remain essentially unknown to us.

Why Superman is the Best Superhero

Larry Tye, for the Huffington Post, makes the case.

From the piece...

The most enduring American hero is an alien from outer space who, once he reached Earth, traded in his foreign-sounding name Kal-El for a singularly American handle: Superman.

So what is it about Superman, I wondered, that has let him not just survive but thrive for seventy-four years and counting? 

It starts with the intrinsic simplicity of his story. Little Orphan Annie and Oliver Twist remind us how compelling a foundling's tale can be, and Superman, the sole survivor of a doomed planet, is a super-foundling. The love triangle connecting Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Superman has a side for everyone, whether you are the boy who can't get the girl, the girl pursued by the wrong boy, or the conflicted hero. He was not just any hero, but one with the very powers we would have: the strength to lift boulders and planets, the speed to outrun a locomotive or a bullet, and, coolest on anyone's fantasy list, the gift of flight.

Superpowers are just half the equation. More essential is knowing what to do with them, and nobody has a more instinctual sense than Superman of right and wrong.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Books That Made Us: James and the Giant Peach

Janelle Brown discusses Roald Dahl's classic for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

From the piece...

I was a lonely child — too smart-alecky and goody-two-shoes for my own good, the kind of socially inept kid that lurks around the edges of the playground wondering why no one invites them to play. I didn't watch TV. I volunteered at the local library, for fun. I wore my cousin's out-of-style hand-me-downs (I'm still traumatized by the memory of a pair of turquoise pleated polyester pants with a matching check button-down shirt, worn about the same time that my peers discovered acid washed jeans and off-the-shoulder T-shirts). I let my mom cut my hair in a bad approximation of the Dorothy Hamill hairdo. I was not a popular birthday party guest, to say the least. It was no wonder that I could identify with Roald Dahl's heroes and heroines.

In Dahl's books, children have no friends their own age; often, they have no one who loves them at all. In James and the Giant Peach, James is the battered slave of his loathsome aunts; in The BFG, Sophie lives in an orphanage; in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie's only confidant is his penniless nonagenarian grandfather. Dahl captures the cruel isolation of adolescence and transforms this exile into victory. In his books, his heroes inevitably find the one person who understands them (a magic chocolatier; a talking grasshopper; a friendly giant). Sometimes, they even discover they have superpowers. Always, they wreak their revenge upon their tormentors.

In other words: Dahl tapped into my own secret desires, even if I couldn't express them myself.

With New Books Come New Feelings

Open Yale Courses

Care to take a lit course at Yale in the comfort of your own home? Okay!

From YouTube...

In "The American Novel Since 1945" students will study a wide range of works from 1945 to the present. The course traces the formal and thematic developments of the novel in this period, focusing on the relationship between writers and readers, the conditions of publishing, innovations in the novel's form, fiction's engagement with history, and the changing place of literature in American culture. The reading list includes works by Richard Wright, Flannery O'Connor, Vladimir Nabokov, Jack Kerouac, J. D. Salinger, Thomas Pynchon, John Barth, Maxine Hong Kingston, Toni Morrison, Marilynne Robinson, Cormac McCarthy, Philip Roth and Edward P. Jones. The course concludes with a contemporary novel chosen by the students in the class. 

Saving the Library in Troy, Michigan

LGBT Reads

The best gay writing to celebrate National Pride Month, care of the Seattle Public Library.

How Do You Turn a Blog Into a Book?

Writer's Digest offers these seven tips.

From the list...

1. Pick a unique angle for your book.
You may already have blogged a book if you’ve been blogging for a long time and have focused your efforts on one topic. Indeed, your blog may represent the foundation of your book. Even so, you might still need to choose a unique angle for your book based upon competing books. On the other hand, if you’ve jumped from subject to subject with no clear direction as you’ve blogged, your blog may be a repository for nothing other than a jumble of vaguely related posts. In this case, you need to hone your book topic and determining if you have previously blogged even part of a book.
2. Create a content plan for your book.
Begin your project by creating a mind map or conducting a brainstorming session to flesh out the content that needs to be in your book. Come up with a full table of contents or an outline based on the book you want to write and on the most marketable book, not on the blog you’ve already written. Don’t get stuck looking at what you’ve already published on your blog; this may not represent the best or most complete book.

Symbolism - Intentional? Or, Not So Much.

It was 1963, and 16-year-old Bruce McAllister was sick of symbol-hunting in English class. Rather than quarrel with his teacher, he went straight to the source: McAllister mailed a crude, four-question survey to 150 novelists, asking if they intentionally planted symbolism in their work. Seventy-five authors responded. Here’s what 12 of them had to say.

From a piece on Mental Floss...

“Do you consciously, intentionally plan and place symbolism in your writing?… If yes, please state your method for doing so. Do you feel you sub-consciously place symbolism in your writing?”

Isaac Asimov: “Consciously? Heavens, no! Unconsciously? How can one avoid it?”
Joseph Heller: “Yes, I do intentionally rely on symbolism in my writing, but not to the extent that many people have stated…No, I do not subconsciously place symbolism in my writing, although there are inevitably many occasions when events acquire a meaning additional to the one originally intended.”
Ray Bradbury: “No, I never consciously place symbolism in my writing. That would be a self-conscious exercise and self-consciousness is defeating to any creative act. Better to let the subconscious do the work for you, and get out of the way. The best symbolism is always unsuspected and natural.”
John Updike: “Yes—I have no method; there is no method in writing fiction; you don’t seem to understand.”

The Notebook of Jack Kerouac


Friday, June 22, 2012

Vintage Propaganda Posters for Books


Bach Cantata at Auction

It was purchased at a princely sum.

From a piece on Gramaphone...

The manuscript, which sold to a private collector in the US, is the Taille (tenor oboe) part for Ich liebe den Höchsten von ganzem Gemüte, BWV 174, and is the first example of Bach’s musical hand to appear on the open market for 16 years. It shows the script of two of Bach’s copyists - probably his pupil Samuel Gottleib Heder and another, known only as ‘Anonymous IV’ - in the early movements, with Bach’s own unmistakable handwriting appearing for the final chorale (the Passion chorale of Martin Schalling, used five years earlier in the St John Passion). It is a fascinating insight into Bach’s working practises, coming, as it did, in 1729 – mid-way through his period as kapellmeister at the Thomasschule, a job he combined with directing the music at the principal churches in Leipzig. 

The Harry Potter Theme

Elmore Leonard on Bad Movies and Good Writing

Underground New York Public Library

There's a groovy Tumblr blog that shows what people are reading on the New York Subway.

Check it out, here.

How Much Would You Spend on George Washington's Personal Copy of the Constitution?

It's up on the auction block today.

From a piece on Reuters...

The bound papers constitute Washington's personal copy of the Acts of Congress. These include the Constitution, whose preamble promises to "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity," along with the draft Bill of Rights - the first 10 amendments to the Constitution which include such fundamental liberties as the right to free speech, press, assembly and religion.

The volume, embossed with "President of the United States" in gold on the cover, was described by Christie's as being in near-pristine condition after 223 years. It was specially printed for Washington in 1789, his first year in office as president.

The margins include Washington's handwritten brackets and notations highlighting key passages concerning the president's responsibilities.

mammy mammy r u up

The texts of Scarlett O'Hara.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Weird World of Fan Fiction

They're amateur writers—with millions of readers. After years in the shadows, they're starting to break into the mainstream. 

From a long fun piece in the Wall Street Journal...

What if Edward Cullen, the moody vampire heartthrob in Stephenie Meyer's best-selling "Twilight" series, was an undercover cop? Or a baker who specializes in bachelor-party cakes? Or a kidnapper who takes Bella hostage?

It may sound like heresy to some "Twilight" fans. But those stories, published online, have thousands of dedicated readers. They were written by Randi Flanagan, a 35-year-old sales manager for a trade publishing company in Toronto. 

Ms. Flanagan writes fan fiction—amateur works based on the characters and settings from novels, movies, television shows, plays, videogames or pop songs. Such stories, which take place in fictional worlds created by professional writers, are flourishing online and attracting millions of readers.


Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 Book Covers Through Time

A gallery, care of Slate.

12 of the Most Surprising Sophomore Novels Ever

The list, care of Online Education Database.

From said list...

When you think of Charles Dickens, chances are good that the first novel that pops into your head is not The Pickwick Papers. Although it was popular in its time and adapted into both film and television, it is a fairly obscure work. Dickens is much more widely known for his famous works including A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, Little Dorrit, A Tale of Two Cities, and his second novel, Oliver Twist. This social novel exposed the troubles of child labor and the recruitment of children as criminals, and took a much darker tone than the comically adventurous Pickwick Papers. Dickens' Pickwick fans were certainly in for a surprise when they found this exceptional social commentary that became an instant success.

Inside Random House

Poetry in a Busy World

How do you stay focused as a poet in this frenetic landscape we live in?

From a piece on the Huffington Post...

Activate your senses. It’s hard to write consistently if you keep setting up blockades on the inspiration superhighway. Keep listening, keep seeing, keep smelling, keep tasting, keep feeling!

Keep paper handy. With your senses engaged, you’ll need to keep track of your thoughts. When you’re already juggling homework assignments, doctor appointments, and shopping lists in your head, how can you remember that clever limerick you thought of on the subway ride to school? And what about that perfect edit to the last line in the second stanza that came to you during your lunch break? 

Stash little notebooks in your car or around the house. Don’t want the extra bulk of a notebook? You can always use your smartphone to document your thoughts!

7 Tiny Books That Packed a Big Punch

The list, care of Neatorama.

From said list...

6. The Art of War by Sun Tzu (68 pages)
Despite the title’s promise, most of this ancient Chinese handbook is about how to win a conflict without needing to fight. Sun Tzu was a military general 2,500 years ago, but he was also a Taoist philosopher who believed in getting to know your enemy and cultivating a peaceful state of mind. For this reason, The Art of War is studied not only by military strategists, but also by business executives, diplomats, and lawyers. The list of people influenced by the book is impressive: Napoleon, Chairman Mao, Donald Trump, and of course, Gordon Gekko, Michael Douglas’ character in 1987’s Wall Street, who quotes Sun Tzu continuously throughout the movie.

Anna Karenina