Saturday, March 22, 2014

The 13 Greatest Opening Lines from Novels of the 1960s

Here's a little light reading for you. Found this article on and thought we'd share it:

Publishers sometimes say that getting someone to pick up a novel is half the battle won. But once that book is held in the palm of a potential reader’s hand, it’s up to the first line to grab their attention and never let it go. Arguably, (other than maybe the closing line), there’s no sentence more important than the opening line. A book, of course, won’t stand or fall on the very first line of prose, but a really good opening tells the reader what to expect in terms of language, plot and character. It should be compelling, mysterious, poetic or shocking. It should make the reader want to immediately sit down in the middle of the aisle and carry on reading.

It’s no surprise then that writers and readers...(continue reading)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mary Shelley letters discovered in Essex archive Professor finds cache of previously unpublished letters by author of Frankenstein, written between 1831 and 1849

Mary Shelley's seal – previously unknown – on one of the letters. Photograph: Keith Crook
It was an idle click on an unpromising website that first directed Nora Crook towards the most exciting and unexpected discovery of her distinguished academic career. Crook, a professor emerita at Anglia Ruskin University and expert on the Romantic period, was researching an obscure 19th-century novelist when her internet search brought up a listing for 13 documents at Essex Record Office, catalogued under the tantalising words: "Letter from Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley".
"I thought: 'What is this?' and clicked on the link," she said. "I knew right away they had never been published before."
Thanks to "pure serendipity", Crook had chanced upon the largest collection of unpublished letters by the author of Frankenstein to be discovered in decades.
The letters date between 1831, nine years after the death of her poet husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, and 1849, when Mary Shelley was already unwell with the brain tumour that would kill her two years later, and show a woman who was skilled in charming favours from friends, bursting with pride in and concern for her teenage son – and not unconcerned with frivolities. A last-minute ticket to the coronation of William IV in 1831 necessitated a 3am visit from her hairdresser; she attended the event sporting a plumed headdress ("The whole thing was wondrously splendid – Diamonds & cloth of gold grew common to the eye.")...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline. Mortimer Jerome Adler

Mortimer Jerome Adler (December 28, 1902 – June 28, 2001) was an American philosopher, educator, and popular author. As a philosopher he worked within the Aristotelian and Thomistic traditions. He lived for the longest stretches inNew York CityChicagoSan Francisco, and San Mateo, California. He worked for Columbia University, the University of ChicagoEncyclop√¶dia Britannica, and Adler's own Institute for Philosophical Research.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition. Henry Miller

The author of Tropic of Cancer was born on this day in 1891.

Henry Valentine Miller (December 26, 1891 – June 7, 1980) was an American writer and painter. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new sort of "novel" that is a mixture of novel, autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, surrealist free association, and mysticism, one that is distinctly always about and expressive of the real-life Henry Miller and yet is also fictional.[1] His most characteristic works of this kind areTropic of Cancer (1934), Black Spring (1936), and Tropic of Capricorn (1939). He also wrote travel memoirs and essays of literary criticism and analysis.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

100 Books That Should Be Written

Thanks for the link, Charlotte!


Monday, December 09, 2013

8 Hilariously Misleading Covers Slapped on Classic Books

There are several of these if you take the time to follow the link at the bottom, it's well-worth it. Thanks for the tip Josh!

This is a Danish edition of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (the novel that inspired the film Blade Runner), and if what we're seeing here is what androids really dream of, it's no wonder humans send out bounty hunters to "retire" those twisted bastards.
In this interpretation, an "electric sheep" is apparently a sheep-faced, human-breasted half-robot with purple wool hair, and judging by the permanently exposed breasts, we can only assume it's some kind of high-tech sex doll. But wait -- is that a dartboard on the back of its head? Are androids such multitaskers that they need the distraction of bar games while doing the ol' hydraulic shuffle? Or maybe ... maybe it's not darts they're "shooting" to "score" in this "game"?