Tag: classics

Salinger Fans Unite For NYPL Exclusive Exhibition!

Great news for Salinger fans, as the New York Public Library presents an extremely rare glimpse into the life and work of author J.D. Salinger with a rather extensive exhibition, giving insight into the famous author’s life.

 

image via the independent

 

The exhibit includes a number of manuscripts, letters, photographs, books, and personal items that have been exclusively extracted from Salinger’s personal archive, the J.D Salinger Literary Trust, now run by his son Matt Salinger. This will be the first time these items—on loan from the J.D. Salinger Literary Trust—have ever been shared with the public.

 

image via nytimes

 

The exhibition is organized by Matt Salinger and his wife Colleen Salinger, along with Declan Kiely, Director of Special Collections and Exhibitions at The New York Public Library.

 

 

The great news is, the exhibition is free! Coinciding with J.D. Salinger’s birthday, the exhibition will be on display until January 19, 2020 in the Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Gallery at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

More than 200 items spanning Salinger’s life will be featured. This will include the original typescript of The Catcher in the Rye, revised by the author, along with the original typescripts of some of Salinger’s other shorter fiction work, including Franny and Zooey.

There is also an original pencil portrait by E. Michael Mitchell, who made the original cover design for The Catcher in the Rye, and a collection of family photographs from Salinger’s childhood, youth, and later life, including photos from his World War II service.

 

image via Smithsonian magazine

 

Some of the more personal items include; a bookcase from Salinger’s bedroom filled with books from his personal library, and items from Salinger’s childhood, including a bowl which he had made at summer camp when he was about 10 years old, notebooks, passports, honorable discharge papers from the army in which he identified his civilian occupation as “Playwright, Author, ” and personal artifacts such as his pipes, eyeglasses, wristwatch and the cup he drank coffee from every morning.

 

image via nypost

 

Among these items, his typewriter and his film projector, were also present.

 

image via the wall street journal

 

The exhibition also includes a description of J.D. Salinger’s life and profession written by Salinger himself, showcasing a rare glimpse into how the author viewed himself. The description was written as part of a 1982 legal document. The description reads, in part:

“I am a professional short-story writer and novelist. I write fiction and only fiction. For more than thirty years, I have lived and done my work in rural New Hampshire. I was married here and my two children were raised here. . . . I have been writing fiction rather passionately, singlemindedly, perhaps insatiably, since I was fifteen or so . . . I positively rejoice to imagine that, sooner or later, the finished product safely goes to the ideal private reader, alive or dead or yet unborn, male or female or possibly neither.” – J.D. Salinger

 

 

Please note, while the exhibition is free, there are no bags or cellphones allowed and of course no photographs. It’s absolutely worth the experience and the influence is staggering, to just be able to immerse yourself in a place where one of the most influential authors is put on display in all his glory.

featured image via afar

 


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Party at Wildfell Hall – BYOB

Party at wildfell hall

Ladies, lace up your corsets, leave your terrible husbands at home and get ready to party like it’s 1820. That’s right, today is Anne Brontë’s birthday and if there was ever an excuse to celebrate Anne and her achievements, her 200th birthday is definitely it.

Far from the ‘other Brontë’, Anne left an eternal mark on classic English literature. Under her pseudonym Acton Bell, she published a wide range of poems before her two novels Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. She has been widely acclaimed as a feminist author, having refused to write through the romantic lens that her sisters, Emily and Charlotte, preferred. Anne’s conviction in her own beliefs cost her a lot of readership and popularity at the time but today she is renowned and celebrated for exactly that.

Image via Britannica

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate Anne’s big day, there are actual events happening that you can attend. In Bradford, West Yorkshire, the Brontë Parsonage Museum is hosting a bicentenary party, full of good food, crafting and poetry. In Sydney, Australia, Cate Whittaker will be giving a reading at the Stanton library. Bonus points if you dress up.

You could even throw your own party. Anne Brontë was a big believer in going her own way so the party theme would be totally up to you. Gather your troupe of talented sisters, brew some tea and discuss how you’re going to diverge from social mores – it’s what Anne would want.

Image via bust

 

Sadly, Anne died in May 1849, at the age of 29. Like many young people at the time, she died of tuberculosis. Despite the fact that she is often cited as the ‘least popular Brontë sister’, her legacy has taken on a posthumous new life.

Happy Birthday, Anne. There are many things to celebrate today; Anne’s body of work, her fierce spirit and the amazing talent that was bred and nurtured in the Brontë home. Anne’s last words are reported as being “Take courage, Charlotte, take courage” and if that isn’t the energy to take with you into 2020, we don’t know what is.

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The Bell Jar’s Influence: Anniversary Edition

The first line in The Bell Jar is a hook: “It was a… sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.” The person speaking is Esther Greenwood, a smart, straight-A, dark-humored and, as the story goes on, depressed protagonist.

The book was published in London on January 14th, 1963 under a pseudonym Victoria Lucas, one month before the actual author, Sylvia Plath, committed suicide. People had to wait almost a decade for its publication in The United States. It is the only novel Plath ever wrote.

image via vintag.es

The story itself is a coming of age tale about a college girl who is figuring out what she wants and who she wants to be. She wins a contest to write for a “girl’s” magazine called Ladies’ Day in New York. She takes the opportunity and moves to New York for the summer along with a group of other young women, and they all live in a hotel/dormitory called the Amazon. This is where the book begins. The experience is less than Esther expected it to be. Her editors give her uninspiring pep talks, and her friends lead her into dangerous situations where she is almost, at one point, raped. She feels lonely most of the time. Upon getting stuck in a room where one of her friends, Doreen, is getting close with Lenny Shepherd, a man they met by happenstance one night on the town, Esther says:

“There’s something demoralizing about watching two people get more and more crazy about each other, especially when you are the only extra person in the room. It’s like watching Paris from an express caboose heading in the opposite direction – every second the city gets smaller and smaller, only you feel it’s really you getting smaller and smaller and lonelier and lonelier, rushing away from all those lights and that excitement at about a million miles an hour.”

It is with similes like this one where we get a deep look into Esther’s intelligence and ability to discern the truth about what it means to be young and still forging your identity.

 

A lot of the novel is about forging identity, but Esther’s identity is so tied up with her depression that she has trouble separating the one from the other. After New York, she heads back home to Boston and spirals downward until she finds a crawlspace to hide in, and tries to commit suicide. This lands her in a sanitarium. She is eventually sent to a private hospital in the countryside paid for by the woman who sponsored her scholarship, Philomena Guinea. It is there where Esther is really attended to for her illness. She is given insulin, analysis, freedom to go into town with improvement in mood, and is treated with electric shock therapy; all of it leads her back to wellness. How do we know she’s well? She says, just before her dismissal, “There ought, I thought, to be a ritual for being born twice – patched, retreaded and approved for the road.”

This novel also gave Sylvia Plath a way to confront sexism and convention. Throughout the pages, Esther mentions how many times her mother has at one point told her to learn shorthand. “The trouble was, I hated the idea of serving men in any way. I wanted to dictate my own thrilling letters.” Esther doesn’t know how to cook, either. She doesn’t know how to dance. She can’t sing a note. “The one thing I was good at was winning scholarships and prizes…” In other words, Esther succeeds at competing with men.

image via sylviaplathinfo.blogspot.com

Plath’s writing style can be interpreted as dark, but also as darkly comic, elegiac, honest, and nostalgic. “When I was nineteen, pureness was the great issue.” This is both a joke and an admittance. After Esther finds out Buddy Willard, her boyfriend, has already had sex, she is filled with resentment over the hypocrisy he embodies but also feels a competitive edge. She rejects his proposal. He is a fraud in her eyes now, and it brings her a step closer to knowing something about herself: she cannot succumb to promises of chastity until marriage. Esther ends up losing her virginity to some guy named Irwin she meets on the steps of the Harvard Library. It leads to a slight hemorrhaging mishap that lands her in the Emergency room; what she loses in blood she gains in experience and independence. She is even fitted for a diaphragm with the encouragement of her female doctor. “I was my own woman.”

 

Esther also ponders a life of wifely duties with children and husband as her primary purpose in life and she grows deeply afraid. “I knew that in spite of all the roses and kisses and restaurant dinners a man showered a woman before he married her, what he secretly wanted when the wedding service ended was for her to flatten out underneath his feet like Mrs. Willard’s kitchen mat.”  While this characterization of family life may be exaggerated, Plath is pointing out the inherent gender inequality and unfair expectations society has for women.

Image via Lagan Online

The bell jar itself symbolizes Esther’s mental illness in all its stifling, alienating inescapability: ”…wherever I sat—on the deck of a ship or a street café in Paris or Bangkok—I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.” The bell jar warps reality, but there isn’t much difference, at times, between the distortion and the truth, as Esther discovers. On the day she is due to leave the hospital, Belsize, where she lived during her hospital stay, she wonders “what was there about us, in Belsize, so different from the girls playing bridge and gossiping and studying in the college to which I would return? Those girls, too, sat under bell jars of a sort.”n

If you’re curious as to how closely this novel relates back to Sylvia Plath, she did indeed have a guest editorship at a magazine called Mademoiselle. Philomena Guinea is based on a real woman, her literary patron named Olivia Higgins Prout, and Plath did try to commit suicide, and was sent to a hospital as a result. She even had Electroconvulsive Therapy just like Esther.

 

In 1979, there was a film adaptation starring Marilyn Hassett and Julie Harris. It did not do well with audiences or critics. There is a Showtime tv series (originally slated to be a film) starring Dakota Fanning based on the book supposedly in the works.

image via storenvy

The response to the book was positive, but Sylvia’s mother didn’t want it to be published in the United States because of the comparisons people made between Esther’s family and her own. It finally made it here in 1971, and fans did hyper-focus on the autobiographical similarities, though the NY Times gave it a positive review. The New Yorker’s review was mixed. In the end, it became one of the most influential novels of the 20th century.

Featured image via Deskgram


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Books to Read Before They Become Movies

If you’re a book lover, then your favorite thing to say is probably “Oh, the book was SO much better than the movie!” and we don’t disagree, because it probably was! So before these awesome tales turn into movies in the new year, make sure you snag a few so you can spit out the same line when the adaptations come out!

 

p.s I still love you by jenny han

image via trending news buzz

This is the ever anticipated sequel to the famous YA book and later Netflix film, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by author Jenny Han, and it will be available to stream on February 12, just two days before Valentines Day! This story is said to focus on Lara Jean’s new relationship with Peter Kavinsky. But this is a high school romance movie, so it’s required to feature a love triangle, and you bet it does!

 

 

dune by frank herbert

Image Via Dread central

Frank Herbert’s sci-fi masterpiece Dune, is getting its long promised screen adaptation since David Lynch took on the challenging task in the ’80s. Arrival director Denis Villeneuve is the perfect fit to adapt the famous book, and the film stars highly notable actors such as Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides, alongside Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem, and fan favorite Zendaya.

 

 

the invisible man by h.g wells

image via geeky gadgets

The talented Elisabeth Moss stars in the modern adaptation of this classic H.G. Wells novel. This version, a psychological horror film written and directed by Leigh Whannell, is a loose take on the Wells book, as the story focuses on a woman who, after her ex supposedly dies by suicide, thinks she is being hunted by someone invisible. The movie is out on February 28, and we can’t wait for this thrill ride!

 

 

emma by jane austen

image via austenprose

Regardless of how the late Jane Austen might feel, fan-favorite Emma is hitting the theaters on February 21, so all Austen lovers can rejoice! The book was also adapted in 1996 in the Douglas McGrath directed film starring Gwyneth Patlrow, but it’s been 24 years since its release, so it’s time for a remake, right? The new version, directed by Autumn de Wilde, features Anya Taylor-Joy in the lead role as our favorite matchmaker and Bill Nighy stars as Mr. Woodhouse and Johnny Flynn is George Knightley.

 

 

the woman in the window by a.j finn

image via fox

Another great thriller on our list is The Woman In the Window by A.J Finn, coming to theaters in May 15 and starring Amy Adams, directed by Joe Wright. In this film, an agoraphobic woman drinks wine all day and spies on her neighbors. Nothing bad can happen from that, right? And if you’re like us and can’t wait until summer to find out, you could read the book right now – the choice is yours!

 

 

the secret garden by frances hodgson burnett

image via the silver petticoat

This classic tale from 1911 is about to become a feature film for the fourth time, and will be released on April 17, 2020! The film stars Colin Firth and Dixie Egerickx as the child protagonist, and is directed by Marc Munden. If you want, you can read the book, and watch all the adaptations before the latest movie comes to screen!

 

 

the voyages of dr. dolittle by hugh lofting

image via deadline

The second of the Doctor Dolittle novels has finally been adapted into a movie starring Robert Downey Jr. as the eccentric physician who finds out he can talk to animals. The film is simply called Dolittle and stars a number of prolific, diverse actors and comes out January 17, which gives us just about enough time to cram the book to judge if the movie does the famous book justice!

 

If this list doesn’t keep you up at night, I don’t know what will, because we here at Bookstr take film adaptations seriously and like to see for ourselves if the book actually was better than the film, or not!

 

Featured image via Bibliophile

 


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Let Thug Notes Help You With the Most Boring Books

Classical Literature. Original Gangster. 

 

Ever read books in the literary canon and think YAWN? Well, move over SparkNotes, there’s a new and improved way to get the gist of these novels without falling asleep. Whether for class or to be prepared for snooty dinner conversations, Thug Notes A.K.A. Sparky Sweets PhD will have you set to debate and engage in conversations and discussions about novels in the literary canon without having to turn a page.

 

 

What are the top 5 most boring works of classical literature? According to high school students these 5 books make the list and here are the Thug Notes to have you in the know and not have you catching zzzz’s.

 

 

5. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

 

 

Little surprise here that Lord of the Flies made the list. After the Hunger Games gave a strong showing in the box office there’s not much need for the old fogie version although still a great work of literature, just not always fun to plow through.

 

4. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

 

 

And if you haven’t read Perks of Being a Wallflower yet, might I recommend this in place of The Catcher in The Rye. Lots of similarities less Holden to get on your nerves.

 

 

 

3. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

 

Emma Stone did a pretty decent number in Easy A to give us the general idea but for a more comprehensive summary Thug Notes breaks down The Scarlet Letter to fill in any contemporary gaps.

 

2. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

 

 

For dry eyes, Great Expectations can really cause the blinks with its length and wordiness. But have no fear, Sparky Sweets will break down all 544 pages.

 

 

 

1.To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

 

 

Coming in at first place with its hearty racism and N-bombs, is To Kill A Mockingbird. We’ve all been subjected to studying this book in school and many of us get more out of the one unit on Brown vs. Board of Ed in Social Studies class. Ruby Bridges makes for a stronger protagonist anyway.

 

featured image via Sjuiceonline

 

 

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