30 Days of Shakespeare: One Reading of the Bard Per Day, by The New York Public Library, on the 400th Anniversary of His Death

≡ Category: Literature, Poetry, Theatre |Leave a Comment

April 23 is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, an event so far in the past that it can be celebrated as a second birthday of sorts.
The New York Public Library’s contribution to the festivities has an endearingly homemade quality.


David Bowie Urges Kids to READ in a 1987 Poster Sponsored by the American Library Association

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If you were American and in school during the late ‘80s and through the ‘90s, you would have seen the American Library Association’s series of promotional posters that paired a celebrity with his/her favorite book, and a simple command: READ.


Patti Smith on Virginia Woolf’s Cane, Charles Dickens’ Pen & Other Cherished Literary Talismans

≡ Category: Books, Life, Literature, Music, Poetry |1 Comment

Oh to be eulogized by Patti Smith, Godmother of Punk, poet, best-selling author.
Her memoir, Just Kids, was born of a sacred deathbed vow to her first boyfriend, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

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The First Film Adaptation of Alice in Wonderland (1903)

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Once lost, this eight minute, very damaged, but very delightful silent version of Alice in Wonderland was restored several years ago by the British Film Institute. It is the first film adaptation of the 1865 Lewis Carroll classic.


11 Shakespeare Tragedies Mapped Out with Network Visualizations

≡ Category: Design, Literature |1 Comment

Every story has its architecture, its joints and crossbeams, ornaments and deep structure. The boundaries and scope of a story, its built environment, can determine the kind of story it is, tragedy, comedy, or otherwise. And every story also, it appears, generates a network—a web of weak and strong connections, hubs, and nodes.


Sci-Fi Author J.G. Ballard Predicts the Rise of Social Media (1977)

≡ Category: Literature, Technology |3 Comments

Say you were a fan of Steven Spielberg’s moving coming-of-age drama Empire of the Sun, set in a Japanese internment camp during World War II and starring a young Christian Bale. Say you read the autobiographical novel on which that film is based, written by one J.G. Ballard.


Virginia Woolf Offers Gentle Advice on “How One Should Read a Book”

≡ Category: Books, Literature |4 Comments

I am privileged to have grown up in a house filled with books. I don’t remember learning to read; I simply recall books—those that felt beneath me, those that seemed forever beyond comprehension. No one taught me how to read—by which I mean no one told me what to attend to in books, what to ignore; what to love, what to scorn.


Harry Clarke’s Hallucinatory Illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe’s Stories (1923)

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As you’ve probably noticed if you’re a regular reader of this site, we’re big fans of book illustration, particularly that from the form’s golden age—the late 18th and 19th century—before photography took over as the dominant visual medium.


Actors from The Wire Star in a Short Film Adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston’s “The Gilded Six-Bits” (2001)

≡ Category: Film, Literature |Leave a Comment

After the cult success of HBO’s gritty Baltimore crime drama, The Wire, the obsessiveness of the show’s fanbase became a running joke. Devoted Wire-lovers browbeat friends, family, and coworkers with the show’s many virtues.


Tolstoy Calls Shakespeare an “Insignificant, Inartistic Writer”; 40 Years Later, George Orwell Weighs in on the Debate

≡ Category: Literature |12 Comments

After his radical conversion to Christian anarchism, Leo Tolstoy adopted a deeply contrarian attitude. The vehemence of his attacks on the class and traditions that produced him were so vigorous that certain critics, now mostly obsolete, might call his struggle Oedipal.


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