• A literary treasure brought to our attention by Open Culture: The British Library has posted a digital copy of Jane Austen's simply delightful parody, "The History of England," which she hand-wrote and illustrated when she was just 15 years old.
• HuffPost presents 8 female characters who deserve their own book. (My addition to the list: Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca.)
• Ever wondered what sorts of books Bill Gates likes to read? (Some might be a little surprising!)
• J.K. Rowling recently admitted to having a few regrets about the ending of the Harry Potter books, inspiring the folks over at The Millions to round up a slew of other infamous literary second thoughts.
• Stein by Picasso, Zola by Manet—Book Riot offers up 9 portraits of great authors painted by great artists.
• For some reason, it surprised me that Virginia Woolf rolled her Rs. What do you think of this rare 1937 recording of her speaking, a true literary treat posted over on The Paris Review?
• Last week, we linked to Book Riot's list of five books that had awful original titles. This week, The Huffington Post upped the ante by sharing the working titles—some awful, some not so awful—of 24 classics.
• Speaking of titles—and Book Riot—raise your hand if you agree with this list of four overly used title formulas that should be retired.
• Keep your hands raised if you suffer from the same "read and forget" affliction that Ian Crouch describes on Page-Turner.
• We always like to include a little eye candy, so here's Book Riot's compilation of some neat, quirky bookish lamps. Which one would you want to read by?
• Check out this Open Culture post of an essential reading list that Hemingway put together for a young aspiring writer back in 1934. Is anyone aside from me having trouble picturing Hemingway reading—much less recommending—Wuthering Heights?
• Finally, a one-of-a-kind first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, annotated by author J.K. Rowling, fetched $227,421 in a charity auction this week. Wow.
• The 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction finalists were announced earlier this week: Threats by Amelia Gray, Kind One by Laird Hunt, Hold It ’Til It Hurts by T. Geronimo Johnson, Watergate by Thomas Mallon, and Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. The winner will be named on May 4. Which one will you be rooting for?
• GalleyCat has given us a peek inside the just-published children's picture book Flying Henry, a collection of whimsical images of photographer/artist Rachel Hulin's son.
• Did you know that Moby-Dick was inspired by real-life events? A ship attacked and sunk by an enormous whale, three months drifting at sea, cannibalism—and even a crew member actually named Owen Coffin! A fascinating Smithsonian blog post details the entire gruesome story.
• Dutch artist Frank Halmans' architectural book sculptures look so cozy that we wish we could pack our bags and move right into one.
• The Paris Review notes the passing of Barnaby Conrad, writer, boxer, matador, and one of the coolest guys you've probably never heard of.
• Who knew so many writers were gifted in the visual arts, as well? Flavorwire has compiled a collection of 20 self-portraits by famous authors. Flannery O'Connor, Edgar Allan Poe, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood—which one is your favorite?
• The Baltimore home where F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald lived (with their daughter, Scottie) from 1933 to '35 is up for sale, which means we get to peek inside. Also posted this week is Scott's 1921 passport application, which features a crossed-out description of his chin as "prominent" replaced with "round." And apparently, his mouth was "medium"—whatever that means.
• Finally, Book Riot has collected photos of some very impressive literarily themed Lego projects. It sounds silly, yes, but we dare you not to be impressed by the Harry Potter one, which was built with 400,000 Legos!
Hi, everyone! BookPage is closed today and Monday to make way for poppers and champagne -- or curling up with some dogs and the Alexander McQueen book (ahem).
But there were a few things I've been soaking up this week I just had to share in our weekly links...
One of my favorite art & culture blogs, Colossal, completely knocked my socks off last week with these carved book landscapes by Guy Laramee. (HuffPost also took note.) Colossal quoted Laramee: "So I carve landscapes out of books and I paint Romantic landscapes. Mountains of disused knowledge return to what they really are: mountains."
We got the scoop from GalleyCat about songs from a forthcoming companion album to The Hunger Games movie (the soundtrack will be released separately). It will include Arcade Fire with a song titled "Horn of Plenty" and The Decemberists with "One Engine."
Below is the track for "Safe and Sound" by Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars:
Read more to get info about Jennifer Lawrence's contributions to the album!
After a banner year for YA movies (War Horse, HP 7.2, Tintin, Hugo and Twilight) and 2012 looking strong as well (of course, Hunger Games), Salon asked a number of authors -- including Sherman Alexie, Gregory Maguire and Sara Zarr -- to name their best and worst picks in teen book-to-movie adaptations and to name the titles they favor for future features on the silver screen.
For example, here's what Kathryn Lasky (the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series) had to say:
Which book would I like to see adapted? “The Giver.” Why that book has not been turned into a movie I don’t know. I suppose right now, everybody’s into … vampires and very flashy, brutal dystopias; “The Giver” is so quiet, compared to that — no vampires. But that is the one movie that I feel absolutely should be made.
Have a wonderful weekend! We'll see you next year! (har har)
Happy Friday, everyone! Here are a few things we've been reading about this week:
The winner of the 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest was announced on Monday. Named for the author of "It was a dark and stormy night," the contest honors the worst possible opening sentence to an imaginary novel. The winner was University of Wisconsin professor Sue Fondrie:
Dave Eggers wrote a portrait on celebrated picture book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are) for Vanity Fair. The feature celebrates Sendak's upcoming book, Bumble-ardy -- the first book he has both written and illustrated in 30 years. (We blogged about "a pig who longs to party" back in March.)
The article reads almost like a good-natured argument between Eggers and Sendak over just how fantastic and iconic Sendak's work is. Read the portrait here.
The Book Lady's blog featured a guest post by Augusten Burroughs' mother, Margaret Robison, where she talks about how and why she penned The Long Journey Home. After her sons' best-selling memoirs depicted her as more than a little insane, she shared her own perspective in her March 2011 memoir.
And last but not least, perhaps my favorite thing this week: Harry Potter as a teen romantic comedy.
Happy weekend, readers! I am yawning at my desk right now after a very late night of applauding, crying and gasping in front of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (more on that later). Did anyone else go see it?
Before I went to the movie, I very much enjoyed playing the "Paperback Game," thanks to New York Times reviewer Dwight Garner. His explanation of the game came out a couple weeks ago, but I'm sharing the link now because it's so darn fun.
All you need for the game is a stack of books, a group of friends and pen and paper. One person reads the back copy from the book, then everybody writes down what they think is a plausible first line of the story. Then, everyone guesses what they think is the correct first line (the reader writes down the real first line). Find the full description of the game here, and try it this weekend! If you like playing Balderdash and you like books, you'll love this game.
In other Harry Potter-related news, Laura Hibbard of the Huffington Post has written about why Hermione is "The Heroine Women Have Been Waiting For." She writes: "Essentially, without Hermione, Harry wouldn't have been 'the boy who lived.'" Do you agree?
Finally, Jennifer Weiner is on a roll. Her new novel, Then Came You, came out on Tuesday, and her TV show The Great State of Georgia debuted a couple of weeks ago. Some readers may scoff at this link, but I thought TV Guide did a good interview about the show, if Weiner's book fans are interested. Best quote of all: "While Weiner, whose book In Her Shoes was adapted into the 2005 Cameron Diaz-Toni Collette film, loves her new role as a television writer and executive producer, she doesn't plan to give up novel-writing anytime soon."
Have any links to share? Let us know!
Also: What are you reading this weekend?