Harper Lee

Famous Authors’ Funniest Responses to Their Books Being Banned

As you might have already heard, it’s Banned Books Week, and booksellers, librarians, and literary critics of all kinds are taking the opportunity to celebrate their favorite once-banned (or oft-banned) literature. But what do the authors themselves have to say about all this? After the jump, we’ve collected a few of our favorite hilarious responses from authors when their books were banned or challenged — because when there’s a challenge, why not challenge right back? Click through to hear what visionaries like Mark Twain, Harper Lee, and Maurice Sendak have to say to those who would deprive the world of their… Read More

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10 Famous Authors Who Dropped Out of School

This time of year, we often find ourselves thinking about the origins of our favorite writers — how they found themselves on the writing path, what they read, how they learned. And we’ve been surprised to realize how many successful and even legendary writers dropped out of school and ended up teaching themselves. Here are ten who went on to achieve great success with independent… Read More

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Wonderful Photographs of Famous People Snapped By Their Famous Friends

It’s well known that famous people often run in packs (rat, brat), and we’ve even heard rumors that they do normal things like hang out and take pictures of their friends. Since we’re obsessed with the ephemera of pop culture, we spent some time tracking down a few of those snapshots, whether staged or candid, rare or widely recognized, taken by everyone from Truman Capote to Lady Gaga. Click through to see our gallery of photographs of famous people snapped by their famous friends, and you may just begin evaluating your own photo albums for potential stars after you’re through. … Read More

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A Brief Survey of Unlikely Literary Friendships

It’s a well known fact that, like any contemporaries in a wide artistic field, authors like to hang out together. It makes sense — who else could a writer gripe to, swap critiques with, and steal ideas from? But sometimes we’re a little surprised as to the pairs that pop up in literary history — whether because of huge age differences, disparate personalities, or just issues of accessibility. Click through to see a few pairs of famous unlikely literary friendships that blossomed nonetheless, and if we’ve missed your favorite odd couple, let us know about it in the comments. … Read More

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A Collection of Brilliant and Inspiring Letters From Famous Authors to Their Young Fans

Earlier this week, we pointed you towards a fantastic letter from Robert Louis Stevenson to a little girl, posted over at Letters of Note, wherein he bequeathed her his birthday. Though we are guilty of being fond of literary ephemera in all of its forms, we have to say that we particularly love reading letters written by authors and sent to their young fans, whether they consist of advice, encouragement, or just gratitude. We think something about the way an author writes to a child is very telling, and even more than that, we know how much of an impact such letters probably had on their recipients, a thought that fills us with warm goodness. Click through to see our small collection of inspiring, cheeky, and lovely letters from famous authors to their young fans — you might just find that they work just as well for kids of all ages. … Read More

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Literary Mixtape: Atticus Finch

If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite literary characters might be listening to while they save the world/contemplate existence/get into trouble, or hallucinated a soundtrack to go along with your favorite novels, well, us too. But wonder no more! Here, we sneak a look at the hypothetical iPods of some of literature’s most interesting characters. What would be on the personal playlists of Holden Caulfield or Elizabeth Bennett, Huck Finn or Harry Potter, Tintin or Humbert Humbert? Something revealing, we bet. Or at least something danceable. Read on for a cozy reading soundtrack, character study, or yet another way to emulate your favorite literary hero. This week: everyone’s favorite lawyer, Harper Lee’s Atticus Finch. … Read More

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The 10 Most Frequently Challenged Library Books of 2011

Coinciding with National Library Week, which kicked off yesterday, the American Library Association (ALA) has just released its 2012 State of America’s Libraries Report, including their annual list of the most frequently challenged library books of the year. A “challenge,” so we’re clear, is defined by the ALA as a “formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness,” and there were a full 326 of them in 2011. Just like every year, there are some quasi-racy contemporary books on the chopping block, as well as some seemingly-random classics being attacked (honestly, who are these people still fighting Brave New World?). Click through to check out the most challenged books of 2011 — as well as the complaints leveled against them — and then celebrate Library Week by going out and borrowing one of the offensive tomes from your favorite branch. … Read More

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10 of the Best Practical Jokes in Literature

As you may be aware, today is April Fool’s day — and while we won’t be playing any childish pranks here at Flavorpill, we do enjoy a good practical joke or two, especially when said joke is fictional and thus lacking in real-world consequences. Kurt Vonnegut said, “All of fiction is a practical joke—making people care, laugh, cry or be nauseated or whatever by something which absolutely is not going on at all. It’s like saying, ‘Hey, your pants are on fire.’” That may be so, but there are just as many pranksters in the pages of books as there are holding the pens — some innocent, and some not so innocent. Note: practical jokes can range in severity and style, so just so we’re all on the same page, the definition we’re working with is “a mischievous trick played on a person, especially one that causes the victim to experience embarrassment, indignity, or discomfort.” Click through to read our list of ten of the best pranks and practical jokes in literature, and pitch in with any we’ve missed — or just watch Maya Angelou punk Stephen King and Jonathan Franzen. … Read More

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10 of the Most Precocious Authors in Literary History

The 150th anniversary of Edith Wharton’s birth has brought all sorts of fun biographical information to our attention. For example, we recently learned about her favorite childhood game “Making Up,” a strange combination of chanting, pacing, and inventing stories. This vile behavior of course concerned Edith’s blue-blood parents, but as we all know, it was only a precursor to the genius that was to come. Which got us thinking: what were other famously precocious authors doing as kids? (Hint: Stephen King was the coolest.) Click through to see what we found and be sure to add those we missed! … Read More

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Letter: Harper Lee's Advice on Living a Good Life

If you write to notoriously media-shy To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee seeking an autographed photograph, you’re not going to get one. But you might well get something far more valuable from the affable correspondent, as a young man named Jeremy learned when he wrote to Lee in 2006. Although the writer claimed not to have any photos of herself, she did provide a short paragraph of advice in its place: “As you grow up, always tell the truth, do no harm to others, and don’t think you are the most important being on earth,” Lee wrote. Read her wise words in the handwritten letter after the jump, and visit Letters of Note for the transcription. … Read More

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