• Earlier this week, we wished Flannery O'Connor a Happy Birthday. Then Writers' Houses allowed us to take a tour of the stately Savannah, Georgia, townhouse where she grew up. The best part? The picture (right) of her intently reading as a child.
• Speaking of houses, the folks at Book Riot have imagined some of our favorite literary characters—Elizabeth and Darcy, James Bond, and Ron and Hermione—appearing on HGTV's "House Hunters" (one of our guilty pleasures).
• How do you drum up buzz for yet another dating advice self-help book? Create a thoroughly charming book trailer starring some of the most adorable kids around!
• Flavorwire posted two treats for book lovers this week: a photo collection of famous authors (yes, including Flannery O'Connor) as teenagers and a bunch of pics of staff picks shelves in indie bookstores across the country.
• We lapped up this Huffington Post article, which gives a fascinating—albeit brief—history of book vending machines.
• In case you missed it, here's Junot Díaz on The Colbert Report.
• Women's History Month is winding down. Don't let it end without checking out The Big Read's list of favorite women writers. Are there any women you would add to the list?
• And, finally, on Wednesday, Flavorwire posted a list of 12 of the coolest librarians alive. People responded in droves, nominating their favorite librarians. Ten made the cut for a special readers' choice list.
• The literary world lost one of its greats today. Chinua Achebe has passed away, but no doubt his masterpiece Things Fall Apart will continue to be read by students around the world.
• The Los Angeles Times shares an adorably spunky job inquiry letter that Eudora Welty sent to the New Yorker back in 1933. We would have hired her!
• BuzzFeed has compiled a fun collection of bookplates from 35 famous folks, from Henry Houdini and Walt Disney to Charles Dickens and Sigmund Freud.
• Can you imagine having David Foster Wallace or Vladimir Nabokov as a professor? Flavorwire has assembled recollections of super-lucky students who were in classes taught by literary superstars.
• It's always interesting to hear recordings of writers who are long-gone. Brain Pickings has posted an excerpt of Ernest Hemingway's 1954 Nobel Prize in Literature acceptance speech, along with the story behind why he didn't attend the ceremony.
• A fascinating article from The Atlantic examines how feminism has finally seeped into the romance book genre.
• Of course, we know that books aren't going anywhere, but Fine Books & Collections has posted a list of 10 reassuring signs that should sway even pessimists.
• We can always count on McSweeney's for a chuckle or two and weren't let down by An Open Letter to Canonical Authors.
• Move over tattoos—Buzzfeed has assembled a fun photo collection of literary graffiti from around the world.
• The New York Times has us on pins and needles waiting for next month's release of The Selected Letters of Willa Cather.
• We're super impressed and inspired by Lauren, an 11-year-old writer who's raised enough money on Kickstarter to self-publish her first book. Way to go! (Galley Cat)
• Book Riot contemplated how some well-known books would have been titled if Strunk and White had been in charge of naming them, resulting in some amusing alternatives.
• We say tomayto; they say tomahto. Yanks and Brits do things differently—including book covers. We enjoyed perusing Flavorwire's compilation of U.S. and U.K. covers and picking our favorites.
• If you're among the readers who've devoured Herman Koch's bestseller The Dinner (read our review here), you'll be happy to hear that his next book, Summerhouse with Swimming Pool, will be coming out next year. (Early Word)
• Maria Popova, curator of the TED bookstore at this year's conference, has posted a list of her selections on Brain Pickings. And we want all of them.
• In what we think is a brilliant move, the New York Public Library has instituted a new way for NYC subway riders to "check out" samples of ebooks to read while commuting. (The Paris Review)
• Speaking of libraries: Marilyn Monroe left behind a personal library of more than 400 books, many of which may surprise you—though we've always suspected that Arthur Miller's attraction to her was more than one dimensional. (Open Culture)
• Two words: literary fingerprint. (Book Patrol)
• Finally, we love the Twitter photo that artist Rosetti Rogers posted of her mother's use of a Kindle as a bookmark. (Galley Cat)
• 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!
• If you love dogs like we do, you'll agree that this book trailer is just adorable. We have our fingers crossed that Nashville will be a stop on Maddie and Theron's tour!
• Speaking of tours, we are intrigued by Brit poet Simon Armitage's empty-pocket plans to walk a 260-mile stretch of the English coast this summer, giving poetry readings in exchange for food and shelter.
• We could hardly believe that the topic of Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten's next book, due in 2015, was actually pulled out of a hat. It sounds interesting to us!
• McSweeney's clever piece on Banned Performance Enhancing Substances in Literary Competitions had us laughing 'til our sides hurt.
• We were delighted to discover Hi Butterfly, the perfect place to shop for our bibliophile friends.
• Hearing about this poem handwritten by a 13-year-old Charlotte Brontë going up for auction has us wishing we had a spare $75,000 lying around.
• And seeing these literarily themed window displays at Bergdorf Goodman has us wishing we could hop the next flight to NYC to see them in person.
• Finally, try not to drool while taking in this visual feast of yummy-looking—well, most of them, anyway—cakes inspired by famous book covers.
• One reviewer of Lawrence Wright's Going Clear shares 10 of the wackiest, most hilarious tidbits from the Scientology exposé. Warning for those of you at work: may cause guffawing, so try to control yourself. (You can check out our review of the book here.)
• The Academy Awards are on Sunday night! Gear up for it by testing your Oscar knowledge with this fun literary pop quiz.
• The six nominees for the 2013 Diagram Prize—awarded for the weirdest book title—have been posted on We Love This Book. Will Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop or How Tea Cosies Changed the World get your vote?
• It's a magical thing when the book and art worlds collide. Enjoy this visual feast of book murals from all around the world.
• And, finally, the Fifty Shades of Grey (one of our Readers' Choice Best Books of 2012) phenomenon continues. We're not sure whether this book trailer is officially NSFW, but it certainly had us blushing!
• BookPage is a selection guide, which means we only review books that merit recommendation. Still, we can appreciate a good hatchet job as much as the rest of you, especially one that describes a book with terms like "bizarre," "hifaultin," "moany" and "crazed."
• Fox is planning a TV series adaptation of Reamde, the acclaimed 2011 thriller by science fiction writer Neal Stephenson. Deadline reports that brothers Chris and Paul Weitz, the Oscar-winning team behind About a Boy, will direct the Reamde series for Fox. (In a side note, there's also a TV adaptation in the works for About a Boy, which, like the 2002 movie of the same title, is based on Nick Hornby's novel. Minnie Driver is reportedly starring in the NBC pilot.)
• February 11 marked the 50th anniversary of the death of poet Sylvia Plath. Surprised that she could find no contemporaneous accounts of Plath's 1963 suicide, Atlantic writer Ashley Fetters decided to investigate.
• The 2012 Cybils Awards were announced Thursday, honoring children's and teen books that combine "literary merit and kid appeal." Those sound like just the right standards to us, so not surprisingly we love many of the winners, which include:
Fiction Picture Book: A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead
Nonfiction Picture Book: Mrs. Harkness and the Panda by Alicia Potter, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Fantasy & Science Fiction: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Check out the full list of winners, which are chosen by children's and YA bloggers.
• And last but not least, the NYT spotlights the good, the bad and the ugly in 200 years of Pride and Prejudice covers.
An opinion piece on Slate suggests that schools replace Catcher in the Rye in the curriculum with David Mitchell's Black Swan Green. Two thumbs up from this reader, who never could finish Catcher.
Young readers need a new coming-of-age classic, a book that has yet to be discovered and co-opted by the culture, a book that shares Salinger’s sense for adolescent heartbreak and anger while refreshing its midcentury references and voice, a jewel of a book that could feel like new. Happily, such a book has already been written.
Think you read a lot? Me too, until I heard this story.
I am behind in my New Yorker reading, but Shouts & Murmurs really hit it out of the ballpark a couple of weeks back with Le Blog de Jean-Paul Sartre.
Happy Friday! What links have you discovered this week?
Happy Friday, readers! I am normally thrilled for the weekend because it means lazy Saturdays and Sundays spent with a good book. Due to some mid-week travel a few days ago, though, I've squeezed in even more weekday reading than usual. After a two-day binge, yesterday I finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Can't wait to tell you more about why I loved this book! What are you looking forward to reading this weekend?
Here are a few links, for your entertainment:
Jennifer Weiner was the keynote speaker at this year's BookExpo America Blogger Convention. Her address gives good advice about blogging and some insight into this popular author's relationship with the media. Worth a read—especially if you love her books!
We lost a literary luminary on June 5; Ray Bradbury passed away at the age of 91. (Read the New York Times obituary here.) How many of us read and pondered Fahrenheit 451 as young readers? On The New Yorker's book blog, Junot Diaz writes about Loving Ray Bradbury. NPR has re-posted an interview with the author from 1988. An excerpt: "It's not going to do any good to land on Mars if we're stupid. And I want to save the future generation, I want to teach them to read when they're 5 and 6 and 7 years old."
Finally, we've given you plenty of summer reading suggestions here on The Book Case, but here's another fun resource. Teach.com has put together a Summer Reading Flowchart, featuring 101 picks in a variety of genres, from dark fiction, to poetry to biography and more.
What links have you been sharing this week?
This may not count as literature, per se, but Victorian lit fans can now peruse Queen Victoria's diaries online, thanks to the current Queen Elizabeth. In a statement, Queen Elizabeth says, "It seems fitting that the subject of the first major public release of material from the Royal Archives is Queen Victoria, who was the first Monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee." (Elizabeth is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee today.)
Though the journals are hardly confessionals—they were written knowing they might someday be made public—there are some personal comments about the monarch's joy in her family and love for her consort, Prince Albert. And of course, we can all take a turn analyzing the Queen's handwriting.
The Awl adds to the reader ruminations on Joan Didion with an intriguing piece on her early work—and the not-entirely positive reaction to it.
A Kirkus reviewer noted that though she was a “talented scene surveyor,” “Miss Didion is no female Tom Wolfe.” (One can only admire the restraint that must have prevented some editor along the way from adding a comma and “thank god.”)
Yesterday was Walt Whitman's 193rd birthday, and Melville House has a nice tribute post to the American poet—including an 1890-ish wax recording of Whitman reading four lines from "America."
What links have you discovered this week?