Stephen King Reads from His Upcoming Sequel to The Shining

Late last week, Stephen King treat­ed an audi­ence at George Mason Uni­ver­si­ty to a 10-minute read­ing from his upcom­ing book Dr. Sleep . It’s not just any oth­er book. It’s the sequel to The Shin­ing, his 1977 thriller that Stan­ley Kubrick fam­mous­ly adapt­ed to film. (Don’t miss Mak­ing the Shin­ing here.)

King first start­ed talk­ing about a sequel in 2009, and now we’re get­ting our first taste of what’s to come. At long last, you will know what hap­pened to Dan­ny Tor­rance.

The read­ing appears above, and King talks some more about the unfin­ished sequel below.

via Gal­l­ey­cat

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 2 ) |

John Hodgman Riffs on Magicians and Their Craft at Maker Faire

John Hodg­man, your favorite quirky, mus­ta­chioed humorist, made an appear­ance at the Mak­er Faire fes­ti­val in NYC ear­li­er this month. And, in the DIY spir­it of the event, he gave a 30+ minute com­ic riff on mate­r­i­al appear­ing in his upcom­ing book That is All — a com­pendi­um of “com­plete world knowl­edge” that can help you sur­vive an apoc­a­lypse. The bet­ter part of the talk focus­es, quite nat­u­ral­ly, on the mag­ic of mag­ic tricks — some­thing we all need to know more about…

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 2 ) |

How Paulo Coelho Started Pirating His Own Books (And Where You Can Find them)

Get ready for it. This week, Knopf will release Paulo Coel­ho’s lat­est nov­el, Aleph. And we’re tak­ing bets on three ques­tions. How many copies will be legal­ly sold? (The Alchemist has sold more than 65 mil­lion copies.) How many copies will be pirat­ed and giv­en away? And to what extent will the cir­cu­la­tion of ille­gal copies actu­al­ly ben­e­fit legit sales?

In recent years, Coel­ho has become some­thing of a will­ing con­spir­a­tor in the pirat­ing of his own work. Some­times he links on his own blog to pirat­ed copies float­ing around the web. Oth­er times he makes the texts avail­able (in mul­ti­ple lan­guages) in a nice share­able wid­get.

Coel­ho explains how his adven­tures in self-pirat­ing got under­way in a Q&A appear­ing in yes­ter­day’s New York Times.

Q. You’ve also had suc­cess dis­trib­ut­ing your work free. You’re famous for post­ing pirat­ed ver­sion of your books online, a very unortho­dox move for an author.

A. I saw the first pirat­ed edi­tion of one of my books, so I said I’m going to post it online. There was a dif­fi­cult moment in Rus­sia; they didn’t have much paper. I put this first copy online and I sold, in the first year, 10,000 copies there. And in the sec­ond year it jumped to 100,000 copies. So I said, “It is work­ing.” Then I start­ed putting oth­er books online, know­ing that if peo­ple read a lit­tle bit and they like it, they are going to buy the book. My sales were grow­ing and grow­ing, and one day I was at a high-tech con­fer­ence, and I made it pub­lic.

Q. Weren’t you afraid of mak­ing your pub­lish­er angry?

A. I was afraid, of course. But it was too late. When I returned to my place, the first phone call was from my pub­lish­er in the U.S. She said, “We have a prob­lem.”

Q. You’re refer­ring to Jane Fried­man, who was then the very pow­er­ful chief exec­u­tive of Harper­Collins?

A. Yes, Jane. She’s tough. So I got this call from her, and I said, “Jane, what do you want me to do?” So she said, let’s do it offi­cial­ly, delib­er­ate­ly. Thanks to her my life in the U.S. changed.

The rest of the inter­view con­tin­ues here. And, in the mean­time, you can find sev­er­al Coel­ho books cat­a­logued in our col­lec­tion of Free eBooks.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Paulo Coel­ho on The Fear of Fail­ure

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 6 ) |

Google Puts The Dead Sea Scrolls Online (in Super High Resolution)

Thanks to Google and the Israel Muse­um in Jerusalem, you can now fire up your brows­er and start tak­ing a good, close look at The Dead Sea Scrolls, the ancient bib­li­cal texts found between 1947 and 1956, right on the shores of the Dead Sea. The Scrolls were orig­i­nal­ly writ­ten between the third and first cen­turies BCE, and they con­sti­tute the old­est known pieces of the Hebrew Bible. Since 1965, they have been on dis­play in Jerusalem. But no mat­ter where you live, you can view five dig­i­tized Dead Sea Scrolls, each pho­tographed at a res­o­lu­tion of 1,200 megapix­els. That’s rough­ly 200 times greater than your aver­age cam­era.

To learn more about The Dead Sea Scrolls, watch this free lec­ture from The Great Cours­es: “Reveal­ing the Dead Sea Scrolls to the World”  pre­sent­ed by Gary A. Rends­burg, Rut­gers. (Get more free lec­tures by The Great Cours­es here.)

And, to put all of this con­text, please vis­it this free course from Yale Uni­ver­si­ty: Intro­duc­tion to the Old Tes­ta­ment (Hebrew Bible) by Chris­tine Hayes. You will find it list­ed in our big col­lec­tion of Free Cours­es Online.

via Offi­cial Google Blog

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Google App Enhances Muse­um Vis­its; Launched at the Get­ty

Google “Art Project” Brings Great Paint­ings & Muse­ums to You

A Vir­tu­al Tour of the Sis­tine Chapel

MoMA Puts Pol­lock, Rothko & de Koon­ing on Your iPad

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 3 ) |

The Great Dr. Fox Lecture: A Vintage Academic Hoax (1970)

Back in 1970, three psy­chol­o­gy pro­fes­sors pulled off a hoax that dou­bled as med­ical research. They brought Dr. Myron L. Fox, “an author­i­ty on the appli­ca­tion of math­e­mat­ics to human behav­ior,” to a con­fer­ence near Lake Tahoe and let him talk about “Math­e­mat­i­cal Game The­o­ry as Applied to Physi­cian Edu­ca­tion.” Lit­tle did the audi­ence know that Fox was­n’t actu­al­ly a researcher or schol­ar. He was actu­al­ly an actor who had played parts in Hogan’s Heroes and Bat­man. And he was giv­en a gib­ber­ish-filled script to learn only the day before. Nonethe­less, the edu­ca­tors in the crowd ate up his mean­ing­less talk, and it allowed the researchers to draw the con­clu­sion that “style was more influ­en­tial than con­tent in pro­vid­ing learn­er sat­is­fac­tion.” A nice way of say­ing that jar­gon and cant can some­times take you a long way in the acad­e­my — in the human­i­ties and sci­ences alike. More back­sto­ry here. H/T Metafil­ter

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Stan­ford Prison Exper­i­ment on YouTube

Carl Gus­tav Jung Talks About Death

Ray Brad­bury: Lit­er­a­ture is the Safe­ty Valve of Civ­i­liza­tion

Download 20 Popular High School Books Available as Free eBooks & Audio Books

Every year, thou­sands of Amer­i­can high school stu­dents read a com­mon selec­tion of great nov­els — clas­sics loved by young and old read­ers alike. Today, we have select­ed 20 of the most pop­u­lar books and high­light­ed ways that you can down­load ver­sions for free, most­ly as free audio books and ebooks, and some­times as movies and radio dra­mas. You will find more great works — and some­times oth­er dig­i­tal for­mats — in our twin col­lec­tions: 600 Free eBooks for iPad, Kin­dle & Oth­er Devices and 550 Free Audio Books. So please give them a good look over, and if we’re miss­ing a nov­el you want, don’t for­get’s 14 day tri­al. It will let you down­load an audio book for free, pret­ty much any one you want.

1984 by George Orwell: Free eBook — Free Audio BookFree Movie
Although pub­lished in 1949, 1984 still cap­tures our imag­i­na­tion gen­er­a­tions lat­er because it offers one of the best lit­er­ary accounts of total­i­tar­i­an­ism ever pub­lished. And it’s sim­ply a great read.

Ani­mal Farm by George OrwellFree eBookFree Audio BookFree Ani­mat­ed Movie
Orwell’s 1945 alle­gor­i­cal novel­la took aim at the cor­rup­tion of the Sovi­et Union and its total­i­tar­i­an rule. The short book, which almost nev­er saw the light of day, appears on the Mod­ern Library’s list of the 100 Best Nov­els of the 20th cen­tu­ry.

Brave New World by Aldous Hux­ley: eTextFree Radio Drama­ti­za­tion (by Hux­ley him­self)Free Audio Book by Audi­ble
Lit­tle known fact. Hux­ley once taught George Orwell French at Eton. And, years lat­er his 1931 clas­sic, Brave New World, is often men­tioned in the same breath with 1984 when it comes to great books that describe a dystopi­an future.

Franken­stein by Mary Shel­ley - Free ebookFree Audio Book (MP3)Radio Dra­ma ver­sion (1938)Movie
Mary Shel­ley start­ed writ­ing the great mon­ster nov­el when she was only 18 and com­plet­ed it when she was 21. The 1823 goth­ic nov­el is arguably one of your first works of sci­ence fic­tion.

Heart of Dark­ness by Joseph Con­rad: Free eBookFree Audio Book (iTunes)Radio Drama­ti­za­tion by Orson Welles (MP3)
More than 100 years after its pub­li­ca­tion (1902), Con­rad’s novel­la still offers the most canon­i­cal look at colo­nial­ism and impe­ri­al­ism. So pow­er­ful was its influ­ence that Orson Welles dra­ma­tized it in 1938, and the book also famous­ly inspired Cop­po­la’s Apoc­a­lypse Now in 1979.

Plays by William Shake­speare

No descrip­tion need­ed. None giv­en.

Romeo and Juli­et — Free eBookFree Audio Book (MP3s)

Mac­Beth — Free eBook — Free Audio Book (iTunes)

Ham­let — Free eBookFree Audio Book (MP3s)

Julius Cae­sarFree eBookFree Audio Book (MP3s)

Note: You can find The Com­plete Works of Shake­speare here: Free eBook – Free ver­sion for the iPad

Pride & Prej­u­dice by Jane AustenFree eBook — Free Audio Book (iTunes)
Jane Austen’s 1813 nov­el remains as pop­u­lar as ever. To date, it has sold more than 20 mil­lion copies, and, every so often, it finds itself adapt­ed to a new film, TV or the­ater pro­duc­tion. A must read.

The Adven­tures of Huck­le­ber­ry Finn by Mark TwainFree eBookFree Audio Book (iTunes)
When you think Huck­le­ber­ry Finn, you think Great Amer­i­can Nov­el. It was con­tro­ver­sial when it was first pub­lished in 1884, and it remains so today. But nonethe­less Twain’s clas­sic is a peren­ni­al favorite for read­ers around the world.

The Call of the Wild by Jack Lon­don — Free eBook — Free Audio Book (iTunes)
The Call of the Wild, first pub­lished in 1903, is regard­ed as Jack Lon­don’s mas­ter­piece. It’s “a tale about unbreak­able spir­it and the fight for sur­vival in the frozen Alaskan Klondike.”

The Cru­cible by Arthur Miller - Free Audio Book from
Arthur Miller’s 1952 play used the Salem witch tri­als of 1692 and 1693 to offer a com­men­tary on McCarthy­ism that tar­nished Amer­i­ca dur­ing the 1950s. Today, The Cru­cible occu­pies a cen­tral place in Amer­i­ca’s lit­er­ary canon.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Stein­beckFree Audio Book from
This 1939 nov­el won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 and lat­er helped Stein­beck win the Nobel Prize for Lit­er­a­ture in 1962. It’s per­haps the most impor­tant book to give lit­er­ary expres­sion to the Great Depres­sion.

The Great Gats­by by F. Scott Fitzger­aldFree eBookFree Audio Book from
It’s the clas­sic por­trait of the Jazz Age, a tale of deca­dence and excess. And today The Mod­ern Library has called Fitzger­ald’s 1925 mas­ter­piece the 2nd best nov­el of the last cen­tu­ry.

The Odyssey by Homer – Free eBookFree Audio Book
The West­ern lit­er­ary tra­di­tion begins with Home­r’s epic poems The Ili­ad (etext here) and The Odyssey, both writ­ten some 2800 years ago. It has been said that “if the Ili­ad is the world’s great­est war epic, then the Odyssey is lit­er­a­ture’s grand­est evo­ca­tion of every­man’s jour­ney through life.” And that just about gets to the heart of the poem.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hem­ing­way Free Audio Book from
It was Hem­ing­way’s last major work of fic­tion (1951) and cer­tain­ly one of his most pop­u­lar, bring­ing many read­ers into con­tact with Hem­ing­way’s writ­ing for the first time.

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen CraneFree eBook — Free Audio Book (iTunes)Free Movie
This Civ­il War nov­el won what Joseph Con­rad called “an orgy of praise” after its pub­li­ca­tion in 1895, and inspired Ernest Hem­ing­way and the Mod­ernists lat­er. The nov­el made Stephen Crane a celebri­ty at the age of 24, though he died only five years lat­er.

The Scar­let Let­ter by Nathaniel Hawthorne – Free eBooksFree Audio BookMovie
Though set in Puri­tan Boston between 1642 and 1649, Hawthorne’s mag­num opus explores “the moral dilem­mas of per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty, and the con­sum­ing emo­tions of guilt, anger, loy­al­ty and revenge” that were rel­e­vant in 1850 (when the book was pub­lished). And they remain so today.

To Kill a Mock­ing­bird by Harp­er Lee — Free Audio Book from
Harp­er Lee’s 1960 nov­el takes an inci­sive look at atti­tudes toward race and class in the Deep South dur­ing the 1930s. It won the Pulitzer Prize a year lat­er.

Note: We list­ed as an option when books were still under copy­right.

Mean­while, edu­ca­tors don’t miss our col­lec­tion of Free Cours­es. It fea­tures many free Lit­er­a­ture cours­es, includ­ing cours­es on Amer­i­can lit­er­a­ture.

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 29 ) |

Jazz Toons: Allen Mezquida’s Journey from Bebop to Smigly

Allen Mezqui­da is an accom­plished alto sax­o­phon­ist. As a reg­u­lar on the New York jazz scene in the 80s and 90s, he per­formed and record­ed with many of the great­est musi­cians still play­ing at that time, like Art Blakey and Ger­ry Mul­li­gan. His 1996 solo album, A Good Thing, was well-received by crit­ics. In an ear­li­er age it might have been the begin­ning of a glo­ri­ous career. But as the 20th cen­tu­ry came to a close, Mezqui­da was becom­ing increas­ing­ly dis­il­lu­sioned.

“I was more frus­trat­ed with jaz­z’s tiny place in the cur­rent cul­tur­al land­scape than with my jazz career,” Mezqui­da told Open Cul­ture. So he turned to anoth­er of his artis­tic pas­sions. The visu­al arts–cartooning, in particular–had always attract­ed him.  “Mad mag­a­zine, Chuck Jones and var­i­ous art books held my atten­tion along­side Miles, Coltrane and Stan Getz,” Mezqui­da said. He began exper­i­ment­ing with dig­i­tal ani­ma­tion, and before long he moved to Los Ange­les and began receiv­ing work from Dis­ney, Warn­er Broth­ers, Sony and PIXAR. He con­tributed to Aladdin and Toy Sto­ry.

Mezqui­da found him­self where he want­ed to be: at the very heart of Amer­i­ca’s cul­tur­al land­scape. Still, some­thing was­n’t right. As he told The Dai­ly Beast in 2010, “I was just hold­ing an oar in the bow­els of a Viking ship. And exe­cut­ing the ideas of morons that I did­n’t respect.” Mezqui­da want­ed cul­tur­al rel­e­vance and artis­tic free­dom. As a con­se­quence, Smigly was born.

Smigly is Mezquida’s alter ego, an Every­man adrift in a dehu­man­ized, cor­po­ra­tized cul­ture in which social media serve only to inten­si­fy a sense of social alien­ation. As an artist, Smigly faces a soci­ety less inter­est­ed in art than in the degra­da­tion of artists. Like Char­lie Chap­lin, or Char­lie Brown, there is some­thing time­less about Smigly: a sen­si­tive soul pour­ing his heart out to an indif­fer­ent, or hos­tile, world.

The tri­als and tribu­la­tions of Smigly are chron­i­cled on  The lat­est install­ment, Kind of Black and Blue, is shown above. The piece was com­mis­sioned by Gor­don Good­win’s Big Phat Band, but Mezqui­da was giv­en com­plete cre­ative con­trol. Kind of Black and Blue moves like a Swiss watch, each part fit­ting tight­ly into place. A musi­cian’s sense of tim­ing is evi­dent. “I spend a lot of time think­ing about the clear­est way to visu­al­ly com­mu­ni­cate an idea,” Mezqui­da said. “It brings peo­ple into the sto­ry faster. Gary Lar­son, PIXAR and Don Mar­tin quick­ly come to mind as very pre­cise visu­al sto­ry­tellers. Coltrane made every note count. Same thing.”

Mezqui­da con­tin­ues to play music, per­form­ing with sev­er­al jazz groups in the Los Ange­les area. And many of his car­toon episodes fea­ture his sax­o­phone play­ing. With his grow­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty on YouTube, Smigly has helped Mezqui­da find a new audi­ence for his music. And so, Mezqui­da moves clos­er to that elu­sive com­bi­na­tion of artis­tic inde­pen­dence and pop­u­lar suc­cess. We asked him about his hopes for the future. “I want to expe­ri­ence a major exis­ten­tial cri­sis decid­ing what to do when a major cor­po­ra­tion wants to spon­sor Smigly,” he said. “I’m kid­ding. A lit­tle.”

For more Smigly, go direct­ly to or begin by check­ing out a few or our favorite episodes:


Art and Com­merce

I Heart Jazz


Dangerous Knowledge: 4 Brilliant Mathematicians & Their Drift to Insanity

We’re bring­ing back by pop­u­lar demand Dan­ger­ous Knowl­edge, the BBC’s 90-minute doc­u­men­tary that takes a close look at four math­e­mati­cians — Georg Can­tor, Lud­wig Boltz­mann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Tur­ing – whose think­ing pro­found­ly influ­enced mod­ern math­e­mat­ics but also drove them (or so the pro­gram argues) to insan­i­ty and even­tu­al­ly sui­cide. Can­tor gave us “set the­o­ry.” Boltz­mann made impor­tant con­tri­bu­tions in the fields of sta­tis­ti­cal mechan­ics and sta­tis­ti­cal ther­mo­dy­nam­ics. Gödel is remem­bered for his incom­plete­ness the­o­rems. Tur­ing built on Gödel’s work and laid the foun­da­tion for com­put­er sci­ence. They all spent their dif­fi­cult final years in var­i­ous states of men­tal decline. You can find Part 2 here.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free Math Cours­es (part of our larg­er col­lec­tion of Free Cours­es Online)

285 Free Doc­u­men­taries Online

The Math Guy Radio Archive

The Beau­ti­ful Math of Coral and Cro­chet

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 6 ) |

« Go BackMore in this category... »
Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.