Books

8 Weird Facts From the History of the Library

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“The hallmark of public libraries — the printed book, bound by covers and centuries of page-turning — is being shoved aside by digital doppelgangers,” the Washington Post wrote this month. It’s true. And because of the recent incineration of hundreds of thousands of printed volumes across the Western world, libraries are of increasing interest to the “general intellect.”
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20 Things You Didn’t Know About Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Lolita’

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In 1955, Vladimir Nabokov wrote about a predatory middle-aged literature professor who succumbs to his desires for the flesh and fancy of a 12-year-old girl he nicknames Lolita. The novel went on to become one of the most controversial works of the 20th century. A few years later, Stanley Kubrick directed the most successful adaptation of Lolita, despite naysayers who said it simply couldn’t be done. More than 50 years later, Kubrick’s film, starring Sue Lyon as the precocious girl, still gets people talking thanks to its stellar performances (Peter Sellers was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe) and, of course, Nabokov’s scintillating material. Here are 20 things you might not know about the film.
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Charming Photos of a Bookworm Reading in Unexpected Public Places

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Prague-based photographer Jakub Pavlovsky has one motto: take the time to read — anywhere, anytime. His self-portrait series Book’s Calling, which we spotted on Lost at E Minor, features the artist sitting cross-legged and buried in a book in some rather unusual and beautiful spots. Pavlovsky pays no mind to the crowds that bustle around him while sitting in the middle of the street. He reads atop public sculptures, on bridges, in the middle of a subway car, in a field, and other unusual spots. The photographer’s Instagram account is full of inspiring images that make us want to grab our favorite book and head outside to take a seat wherever we damn well please. Pavlovsky has also donated several hundred books to local retirement communities to further promote the love and importance of reading, hoping to encourage others to do the same.
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What Do We Want from Writing? Money? A Career? Recognition?

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It’s time to rethink everything. Everything. What it means to write and what it means to write for a public — and which public. What do I want from this writing? Money? A career? Recognition? A place in the community? A change in the government? World peace? Is it an artifice, is it therapy? Is it therapy because it is an artifice, or in spite of that? Does it have to do with constructing an identity, a position in society? Or simply with entertaining myself, with entertaining others? Will I still write if they don’t pay …Read More

Terrifying 1906 Illustrations of H. G. Wells’ ‘The War of the Worlds’

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Brazilian artist Henrique Alvim Corrêa’s career was cut short when he died at only 34 years old. But the illustrator left behind a small science-fiction legacy thanks to his 1906 artworks detailing the Martian invasion of London in H. G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds. Wells’ tale preyed upon turn-of-the-century fears about the apocalypse and other Victorian superstitions (and social prejudices) regarding the unknown. Corrêa’s fantastical, murky style is fitting of Wells’ dark themes. The Martian fighting machines resemble frightening legions of massive spiders. There were only 500 copies of the Belgian edition of Welles’ story with Corrêa’s artworks, which we spotted on website Monster Brains (run by illustrator Aeron Alfrey), but you can see some of the images in our …Read More

Why the Best Depictions of the Latino Experience Are the Most Specific: On Cecilia Rodriguez Milanés’ ‘Oye What I’m Gonna Tell You’

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The first story in Cecilia Rodriguez Milanés’ latest collection, Oye What I’m Gonna Tell You, titled “Niñas de Casa” (roughly translated as “house girls”), opens with the murders of three Cuban-American women. First, a certain Celeste is choked to death after refusing her American manager’s sexual advances at the dollar store where she worked to support her younger brother’s coming baby. Then Magi, a high school AP student, is killed while in the car with her drug-dealer boyfriend, in a shootout aimed at him. Finally, Xiomara, a middle-aged single woman who volunteers at a nursing home twice a week, commits suicide the day after her baby-faced neighbor nearly strangles her to death and rapes her.
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Guessing Game: Anton LaVey, Nietzsche, or Ayn Rand?

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All the hails belong to today’s birthday boy, pop culture icon of evil and Satanist Anton LaVey. The eccentric Church of Satan founder constructed his organization based on principles of individualism, egoism, and atheism — a few traits he shares in common with abyss-ful philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and creator of Objectivism, the evil-obsessed (and just plain evil, to many) Ayn Rand. In fact, LaVey once said: “My religion is just Ayn Rand’s philosophy with ceremony and ritual added.” Sometimes it’s hard to tell the three wearers of black apart when judging by their words — which is why we decided to have a little fun with the deeply cynical trio (we can already hear Rand protesting that term from beyond the grave) with a guessing game. Who said it: Anton LaVey, Nietzsche, or Ayn Rand?
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20 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Favorite Classic Hollywood Stars

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Producers Joan Kramer and David Heeley documented the careers of some of Hollywood’s greatest legends, including Fred Astaire, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart. Their portraits of these colorful acting icons brought them up close and personal to the stars. The duo’s new tell-all memoir In the Company of Legends, from Beaufort Books, captures the hilarious and moving stories about the most powerful names in Hollywood. In anticipation of the book’s release on April 16, and an April 7 TCM documentary special featuring interviews with Kramer and Heeley conducted by Robert Osborne, here are some of the most fascinating and intimate facts we learned about our favorite old Hollywood stars.
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50 Fearless Female Firsts in the Arts

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March is Women’s History Month — a time to pay “tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.” Since the national celebration’s beginnings in 1981, women have continued to break the gender barrier and contribute significantly to the historical evolution of various forms of art. Here’s a look at some of those women — the filmmakers, writers, singers, and other creative pioneers who paved the …Read More