John Steinbeck

10 Classic Books That Have Somehow Been Turned Into Ballets

Next season, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet will be presenting an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s beloved novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. While there’s no denying the power of the book, it does seem somewhat strange fodder for a ballet — given that it’s a dystopic indictment of fundamentalism and gender norms and all. However, as it turns out, a number of surprising novels have been adapted for the stage as ballets or operas — check out a selection of these after the jump, and feel free to add to the list in the comments. … Read More

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The Most Ridiculous Claims Used to Challenge Classic Novels

The American Library Association has released its study of the most frequently challenged books of 2012, a list that includes classics and YA touchstones alike. But books have been challenged, banned, and removed from school curricula for years, and sometimes for the silliest of reasons. At the ALA’s website, we found a list of the justifications behind some historical challenges of classic novels, and some are frankly absurd. We’ve culled a few of our outrageous favorites from the ALA’s list — scoff or agree, but read… Read More

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10 Books Guaranteed to Make You Cry

This week, we read about a study, recently published in PLOS ONE, in which researchers found that “the emotional content of published English has been steadily decreasing over the past century, with the exception of words associated with fear, an emotion which has resurged over the past decades.” Well, we don’t doubt it. But that’s not to say that literature has lost any of its power to elicit emotions. To prove it, we’ve selected ten books that make us cry every time — and not always because they’re sad, but because they elicit some kind of strong internal reaction that, well, ends in tears. Read through our picks after the jump, and since everyone has different triggers, let us know which books are guaranteed to make you cry in the comments. … Read More

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10 Redesigned Book Covers That Are Actually Better Than the Iconic Versions

This week, we saw two alternate versions of Ray Bradbury’s classic novel Fahrenheit 451 pop up on the Internet: one meant to be burned, and one meant to withstand burning at all costs. Though the cover we all grew up with is undeniably great, we thought these ones raised the conceptual bar a little bit. Click through for ten redesigns of classic book jackets that are better, or at least more interesting, than the… Read More

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The 10 US States With the Greatest Love Stories

Earlier this week, we noticed this map of the country, with a literary love story assigned to each state, over at Amazon. Though the US (and the world) has no shortage of amazing novels of passion, we’re betting you don’t have time to read 50 novels during this the most romantic of months. To help you out (and in case you want to get the perfect book for that special someone this week), we’ve picked the ten states that we think have the all-time best love stories in American literature. Click through to see which ones we chose — and feel free to disagree with us in the comments! … Read More

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Adorable Letters from Famous Authors to Their Children

You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again: it’s a shame people don’t write letters anymore. Especially writers, whose missives are often so beautifully composed and simply inspiring that we hoard them in volume upon volume. We’ve already put together a collection of authors’ letters to their young fans, but this week, we spotted this wonderful letter from Sherwood Anderson to his son over at Brain Pickings, and we were inspired to dig a little further into the letters writers send their own children. After the jump, read loving, advice-filled, gentle parental love letters from some of our favorite authors to some of their favorite people — their kids. … Read More

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13 Famous Writers on Overcoming Writer’s Block

In honor of National Novel Writing Month, here’s advice from thirteen famous writers on how to conquer dreaded writer’s block and get your 50,000 words on the page before December… Read More

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10 More Scathing Early Reviews of Classic Novels

Well, we can never get enough of poking fun at the unduly critical, can we? Last week, we shared fifteen scathing early reviews of classic novels, and some of you pitched in with some of your own favorites. We took a few of your suggestions, both here and at Metafilter, added a few more of our own, and put together a second list of a few more critics who got it wrong, this time hating on Hemingway, Tolkien, Steinbeck and more. Now don’t get us wrong — everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but that doesn’t make it any less fun to judge the past from the future. Click through to read ten more scathing early reviews of books we now consider to be classics, and chuckle over how you know better (or admit that you secretly agree) in the comments. … Read More

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Kathryn Macnaughton’s Witty Book Covers and Pop-Culture Illustrations

The work of illustrator and graphic artist Kathryn Macnaughton is full of famous faces and classic titles. In book covers commissioned by Penguin UK, her textured, collage aesthetic brings Lolita and the work of John Steinbeck into the 21st century. Remixed cultural icons are at the center of Macnaughton’s other projects; she irreverently stamps an inverted Campbell’s soup can over Andy Warhol’s melting face and slaps a David Bowie T-shirt on a Warhol-esque trio of faceless Patti Smiths. Click through to see a selection of her work, which we discovered via BLDGWLF, and then visit her website for more. … Read More

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Banned Book Trading Cards: Collect ‘Em All

Libraries across the country are celebrating Banned Books Week, which lasts through this Saturday, but Lawrence Public Library in Kansas has taken a rather (forgive us) novel approach to the festivities. The library put out a call for submissions for local artists to create “trading cards” inspired by banned books, the best of which they’re handing out at the library all week. Since we’re pretty covetous of all things collectable (and all things book-related), this seems like a genius idea to us — not to mention the fact that a lot of the resultant artwork is pretty wonderful. Click through to see some of our favorites from the submitted artworks, and then be sure to head here to check out the full collection. … Read More

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