Tag Archives: classics

Harper Lee To Release a New Book: Why You Should Care

It’s not everyday that book news goes viral, or becomes worthy enough for the Associated Press to send out a breaking news alert.

But it happened today with the announcement that Pulitzer-prize winning author Harper Lee, who wrote the classic To Kill a Mockingbird is releasing a new novel — her first since Mockingbird was published 55 years ago.

According to The Guardianher new release, Go Set a Watchman, will tell the story of a grown-up Scout, the main character from Mockingbird. Apparently Lee wrote Go Set a Watchman before Mockingbird, but never released it. In fact, she didn’t even think the manuscript still existed after all these years, but her lawyer Tonja Carter allegedly found the manuscript three months ago. Plans to publish it were kept under wraps until today.

So why should we care? First of all, Harper Lee has kept a largely private life since the release and success of To Kill a Mockingbird, which won her the Pulitzer Prize. She has popped up in the news several times in recent years, but that was mostly for lawsuits regarding copyright issues. So the fact that she’s come out of hiding for so long and releasing a new novel to boot is huge.

Not to mention it’s somewhat of a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird. How often do we wonder what’s happened to our favorite characters after we’ve finished reading a novel? (I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve hoped for Newland Archer and Ellen Olenska to get it on after I finished reading The Age of Innocence.) Sequels and the continuation of a story is a luxury, of which we often take advantage (hello, Hunger Games and Harry Potter).

It’s also worth noting that Harper Lee is 88, mostly deaf and mostly blind. Though she wrote the novel when she was younger, it is still quite a achievement to go through the process of publishing a book at that age and that state of health.

To Kill a Mockingbird was such a powerful book. It combines humor and warmth while also dealing with serious topics like race and rape — issues that 55 years later are still prevalent in our society. We can only hope that Lee’s latest endeavor will shed light on the important issues of a society that’s always striving for better future.

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Unknown John Steinbeck Short Story Published

John Steinbeck is known for his great pieces of literature, like Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath. But have any of you heard of his short story “With Your Wings”?

Didn’t think so.

According to Entertainment Weekly, you can now read the short story which was virtually unknown until now. The managing editor of The Strand magazine discovered the more than 70-year-old transcript of the story in the archives at the University of Texas at Austin. The Strand has since published the short story, which is about a black WWII pilot.

Apparently the story went under the radar because it had once been read on the radio by Orson Welles in July 1944, but was never published in a book or magazine. So it just became forgotten.

Now we all get to feast on a new, yet vintage, piece of literary history.

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New Web Site for Books At Least a Year Old

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 9.32.23 PMIf you’re anything like me, it take you a while to get around to reading the books you’ve added to your “To Read” list. Usually I’m a few years behind on the big bestsellers. It’s not that I don’t want to read them; it’s just that I’m backed up with reading other things, and before I know it, I’m reading books two years after they made the bestseller list.

Well if you’re like me, there’s a new web site that’s perfect for us! According to The New York Times, publisher Simon & Schuster has created a web site called offtheshelf.com. Those who run the site review book that are at least a year old — books that you may not have gotten around to reading, books that you may have simply overlooked, or classics that you read years ago and forgot about. This is the explanation on from the web site:

Off the Shelf is a site and newsletter created by passionate editors, authors, and others inside the book business to help you discover—or rediscover—great books. Whether they’re bestsellers you never got a chance to read or classics you remember falling for when you first read them, the books we write about have made an indelible impression on us as readers and have become friends we revisit often. We hope that shining a new light on these wonderful books will help you discover a passion for them too. 

Sounds awesome! What do you guys think? Stupid or brilliant?

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F. Scott Fitzgerald Stories To Be Re-Released with Original Profanity, Sexual, Racial Content

It’s been roughly 90 years since F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the stories that were published in the Saturday Evening Post and later published in a collection entitled Taps at Reveille. But those stories will now be re-released in a newly edited version.

According to The Raw Story, the Taps of Reveille is being re-released including what editors believe are the versions of the stories F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote initially. The versions of the short stories were edited severely when they were published for the Saturday Evening Post in the 1920s and 1930s to exclude curses, racial slurs, religious slurs, and sexual content. At the time, Fitzgerald was criticized for not being more realistic about that era. But as it turns out, he was realistic about it; those sections were simply edited out, as Scott Kaufman explains.

Absent from the versions published in the Post were overt references to sexual acts or situations, statements of profanity, remarks betraying racism or antisemitism, as well as most mentions of drunkenness and all references to drug use. For example, in the story “Two Wrongs,” the despicable protagonist, Bill, describes a person as a “dirty little kyke,” a slur against Jewish people. Despite the fact that uttering the phrase made an unpleasant man more unlikable, [Fitzgerald’s literary agent Harold Ober] cut the remark before sending the story to the Post.

It’s unclear when the new edition of the collection of stories will be released.

 

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E-Book Version of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ Coming Soon

mockingbirdIt’s been more than 50 years since To Kill a Mockingbird was published, but the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of the classic novel has finally decided to let it be published digitally as an e-book.

According to The New York Times, Harper Lee has approved the e-book version of her novel, which will be available July 8th. Mockingbird and another classic, The Catcher in the Rye, are two of just a few classic novels left that had not yet been converted to a digital format. Mockingbird continues to sell one million copies each year and is read in schools across the country.

A digital audio version of the novel will also be available. It was be voiced by actress Sissy Spacek. HarperCollins has the North American rights; Random House has the rights in Britain.

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HarperCollins to Publish Tolkien’s ‘Beowulf’ Translation

beowulfThe man who gave us The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings novels has more to give.

According to The Bestseller, JRR Tolkien’s translation of the classic Beowulf will soon be published. Tolkien translated the old English poem in 1926, but never planned to publish it. Now HarperCollins will publish it with JRR Tolkien’s son, Christopher, editing it.

The HarperCollins book will also include bits and pieces of lectures on Beowulf that JRR Tolkien gave at Oxford in the 1930s.

Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary is expected to be published by HarperCollins in the U.K. on May 22nd. US by Houghlin Mifflin Harcourt is publishing it here in the U.S.

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Magazines Battle Over Long-Lost Hemingway Story

Ernest Hemingway may have already passed away, but he lives on through his work. Though the acclaimed other is best known for his novels like The Sun Also Rises, recently there has been some fighting between magazines over publishing one of his first short stories.

According to The Independent, Ernest Hemingway wrote the 5-page story “My Life in the Bull Ring With Donald Ogden Stewart” when he was 25 years old. At the time, he sent it to Vanity Fair to be published, but it was rejected. Now, years later — and posthumously — Vanity Fair has offered to print the story it initially turned down. But Hemingway’s estate now turned down their offer, as Paul Bignell explains.

Michael Katakis of the Hemingway Estate, told The Independent on Sunday: “We’re very careful with unpublished material. The question is: ‘If Hemingway were alive, would he want it published in a magazine like Vanity Fair, or would he want it relegated to a scholarly examination of how a writer was developing? […] “I’m not a great fan of Vanity Fair. It’s a sort of luxury thinker’s magazine – for people who get their satisfaction out of driving a Jaguar instead of a Mini.”

Vanity Fair snoozed, lost, and now it’s snoozing again, as according to Entertainment Weekly, Harper’s got the go ahead to publish the story.

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New JD Salinger Books On the Way

The famed Catcher in the Rye author, JD Salinger, passed away in 2010, and was famously known not to have published much of anything after the 1960s. But that latter fact may soon change.

According to The Huffington Post, the two men who recently co-wrote a biography about the author — entitled Salinger — have revealed that a series of posthumous Salinger releases are set for 2015-2020. Authors David Shields and Shane Salerno spend nine years working on the biography about Salinger. Their book will be released September 3rd.

In that book, they credit two independent and separate sources that say previously unpublished Salinger material will be released. One of the books includes the Catcher protagonist Holden Caulfield. Another publication would feature the Glass family from Franny and Zooey.

The new biography Salinger is 700 pages, and has a lot of other information about the famous author, as Hillel Italie explains.

The book is structured as an oral history, featuring hundreds of new and old interviews, excerpts from newspaper accounts and previous biographies and commentary from Shields and Salerno. Those quoted range from Salinger’s children to authors Tom Wolfe and Gore Vidal to Mark David Chapman, who cited “Catcher” as a reason he murdered John Lennon in 1980.

It’s still unclear exactly how much material will be published over the course of the five years, but the real question is: will it live up to JD Salinger’s previous publications?

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‘Mockingbird’ Author Harper Lee Takes Copyright to Court

Well folks, it looks like Atticus Finch is returning to the courtroom. Sort of.

According to Deadline, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Harper Lee is suing for the copyright of her 1960 classic To Kill A Mockingbird. She alleges that after her former agent got sick 10 years ago, his son-in-law assigned the copyright to himself and a firm he manages. The 87-year-old author claims he took advantage of her poor eyesight and hearing.

Now she’s suing to get her copyright back as well as money for damages.

With a book like Mockingbird, it makes sense that she’d want to hold on to that copyright. After all, between the Oscar-winning movie and the book, which is still read in most high school classrooms, I imagine a copyright like that would bring in a lot of money.

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NSA Scandal to Blame for ‘1984’ Sales Boost?

Is the NSA scandal to blame for the big sales boost of the classic novel 1984 this week?

That’s what the writers for Vulture seem to believe. According to them, sales of the 1949 classic novel rose 5,771 percent on Amazon this week. The book is set in the future 1984 and tells the story of a society that’s watched closely by its government and referred to as Big Brother. With the news of the cell phone surveillance, it all kind of sounds familiar, huh?

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