It's a new week - albeit one that feels a lot like the last one, and the one before that, and the one before that - and I've got three new reads for you to devour, enjoy, and share (from a distance of course).
For some people, writing is a hobby; for others, it’s their work, their world, and they need other interests to pursue and get their mind off writing for a while. Let’s take a look at some of the coolest and craziest hobbies of five amazing authors!
1. Clark Thomas Carlton- Insect lover
The author of a truly amazing fantasy series is a huge fan of all things nature-related, and his wonderful fantasy books are inspired by ants! Clark got the idea for the series “during a trip to the Yucatan when he witnessed a battle for a Spanish peanut between two different kinds of ants. That night he dreamed of armies of tiny men on the backs of red and black ants. After doing years of research on insects and human social systems, Clark says that “the plot was revealed to me like a streaming, technicolor prophecy on the sixth night of Burning Man when the effigy goes up in flames.” His books are a wonderful homage to nature as well as a brilliant feat of world-building! Check out our interview with Clark and find out more about him below!
2. Sylvia Plath- Beekeeper
Poet and author Sylvia Plath, best known for her only novel The Bell Jar which carved out her place as one of the greatest writers of her generation, was a woman of many interests; among them beekeeping. A love of bees ran in the family, as her father Otto was “an entomologist who specialized in bees.” Plath described the donning of the beekeepers costume as ‘thrilling,’ in a letter to her mother. Her hobby inspired a series of poems featuring bees, which she wrote in the lead up to her death in 1963.
3. Madeleine L’Engle- Pianist
L’Engle is best known as the author of the beloved book A Wrinkle in Time, which was recently adapted for the big screen once more, starring Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling and Storm Reid. L’Engle revealed that playing the piano would relieve her of writer’s block, saying:
Playing the piano is for me a way of getting unstuck. If I’m stuck in life or in what I’m writing, if I can I sit down and play the piano. What it does is break the barrier that comes between the conscious and the subconscious mind.
4. Vladmir Nobakov- Lepidopterist
Lolita author Vladimir Nabokov’s interest in lepidoptary began when he was just seven years old, and he retained his love of insects throughout his life. The New Yorker states:
As a child, in 1909, he proposed a Latin name for a subspecies of poplar admiral that he had spotted near his family’s estate, only to be told by a famous entomologist that the subspecies had already been identified, in Bucovina, in 1897. As an adult, Nabokov had more luck. He named multiple species, most famously the Karner blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis), which he came across in upstate New York, in 1944.
5. Flannery O’Connor, the aviculturist
Short story connoisseur Flannery O’Connor’s love of bird rearing started early. At five years old, she and her chicken whom she had trained to walk backwards appeared on the news! As an adult, she raised peacocks and peahens on her farm in Georgia, even penning an essay in 1961 entitled “Living With a Peacock,” in which she describes her childhood news appearance:
When I was five, I had an experience that marked me for life. Pathé News sent a photographer from New York to Savannah to take a picture of a chicken of mine. This chicken, a buff Cochin Bantam, had the distinction of being able to walk either forward or backward. Her fame has spread through the press and by the time she reached the attention of Pathé News, I suppose there was nowhere left for her to go—forward or backward.
The practice of banning books is nothing new —political, religious, and social organizations have led protests against authors and books for centuries —yet the practice is ongoing and criticism of it remains all the more relevant today. The debate surrounding this controversial subject has yet to find a conclusion —some people see book banning as unethical, while others see it as necessary at times. Regardless of the stance surrounding the issue, one thing remains clear: book banning has wide effects, good or bad. Banning books has a profound effect on the public and no one knows that more than authors.
Here are the responses of ten authors to the practice of banning books:
1. Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried
It’s not fair censorship. Censorship is supposed to be imposed on the condition that vital secrets are being compromised…Writing is a vent or an outlet for human emotion and human experience, human understanding of the world, it’s always been that way. Human beings are able to speak and to write…People have the option of listening or not listening but if the government is saying you can’t do it no one has the option of listening or not listening. It’s imposed silence. —O’Brien, Knock Magazine, 2012
2. Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
There’s a part in the book where Charlie witnesses date rape and I always found it interesting because some watchdog groups always cite that passage. I always find it so strange that they do because so often in the past people would say that passage is meant to titillate.My response has always been rape is violence, not sex, so how can it possibly titillate anybody? If it does then that warrants a much larger discussion than a book. The entire book is a blueprint for survival. It’s for people who have been through terrible things and need hope and support. The idea of taking two pages out of context and creating an atmosphere as perverse is offensive to me — deeply offensive. —Chbosky, NBC CT, 2015
3. Stephen King, IT
When a book is banned, a whole set of thoughts is locked behind the assertion that there is only one valid set of values, one valid set of beliefs, one valid perception of the world. It’s a scary idea, especially in a society which has been built on the ideas of free choice and free thought. —King, The Bangor Daily News, 1992
4. John Green, Looking for Alaska
I don’t believe that books, even bad books, corrupt us. Instead, I believe books challenge and interrogate. They give us windows into the lives of others and give us mirrors so that we can better see ourselves. And ultimately, if you have a worldview that can be undone by a novel, let me submit that the problem is not with the novel. —Green, On the Banning of Looking for Alaska, 2016
5. Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
We have always liked banning. And Hitler and his cohorts started banning books and then to killing people. You have got to be very careful of banning. What you ban is not going to hurt anybody, usually. But the act of banning is. —L’Engle, PBS, 2000
Image Via The Wrap
6. Alice Walker, The Color Purple
I know what The Color Purple can mean to people, women and men, who have no voice. Who believe they have few choices in life. It can open to them, to their view, the full abundance of this amazing journey we are all on…And even were it not ‘great’ literature, it has the best interests of all of us humans at heart. That we grow, change, challenge, encourage, love fiercely in the awareness that real love can never be incorrect. —Walker, Guernica, 2012
7. Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass
[T]hey never learn. The inevitable result of trying to ban something—book, film, play, pop song, whatever—is that far more people want to get hold of it than would ever have done if it were left alone. Why don’t the censors realize this?” —Pullman, The Guardian, 2008
8. Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak
Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance. —Halse Anderson, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, 2013
9. Judy Blume, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
In this age of censorship, I mourn the loss of books that will never be written, I mourn the voices that will be silenced-writers’ voices, teachers’ voices, students’ voices – and all because of fear. —Blume, Places I Never Meant To Be: Original Stories by Censored Writers, 1999
10. Ellen Hopkins, Crank
A word to the unwise.
Torch every book.
Char every page.
Burn every word to ash.
Ideas are incombustible.
And therein lies your real fear.
—Hopkins, Manifesto, 2010
What is your response to book banning? What are your favorite responses from public figures and/or authors? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured Image Via PRH/Marina Waters
As a big reader, my favorite movies to go see are usually those that are adapted from books, especially books I love. That’s why I’m very excited to see the movie version of Madeleine L’Engle’s sci-fi novel A Wrinkle in Time.
Although this is not the first movie adaptation of the 1963 novel, this movie is bringing something different—and very special—to the movie.
A Wrinkle in Time follows the adventures of Meg Murray, her brother Charles Wallace, and her classmate Calvin O’Keefe as they are taken on a journey through space and time by their new, eccentric neighbors to find Meg and Charles Wallace’s father, who has been missing for two years.
Meg is depicted as a Caucasian girl, and the 2003 movie followed this depiction, casting Caucasian actor Katie Stuart in the role of Meg. However, the new movie, set to release next year, features African American actress Storm Reid playing Meg. Reid is by no means a stranger to the big screen, scoring roles in other movies such as 12 Years a Slave, and Sleight, but this role is very different. It’s not just that an African American actress is playing the role of a girl described as Caucasian, but that it’s rare to see young women of color playing a lead role in a big budget sci-fi movie.
Reid is thrilled to be playing Meg, because she wants to inspire other African American girls to believe in themselves. She talked about how much this role means her with Entertainment Weekly.
It means everything to be a girl of color and play Meg Murry…It’s just surreal because I get to empower other…African-American girls around the world and say that you can be a superhero and you rock and you can conquer the world and you are beautiful just the way you are and your flaws are nothing and you’re awesome. It feels really good to be able to inspire not only little girls [but] everyone.
Reid playing Meg is not the only rarity for this film. A Wrinkle in Time is being directed by Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay. DuVernay is the first woman of color to direct a live-action film with a budget of over $100 million. She told Entertainment Weekly earlier this year why she chose to cast Reid in the lead role.
The first image [I had in my head] was to place a brown girl in that role of Meg, a girl traveling to different planets and encountering beings and situations that I’d never seen a girl of color in…there aren’t any other black women who have been invited to imagine what other planets in the universe might look and feel like. I was interested in that and in a heroine that looked like the girls I grew up with.
Image Via Vulture
Whatever the case, I’m eager to see a big screen veteran in the role of Meg, a character who inspired me when I was a little girl reading A Wrinkle in Time. Fans of the book are excited a new version of the movie is coming out, and you can bet I’ll be first in line for the midnight premiere!
A Wrinkle in Time hits theaters March 9th, 2018. Along with Reid are actors Deric McCabe in the role of Charles Wallace and Levi Miller in the role of Calvin O’Keefe. The cast also features several Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, Chris Pine and Zach Galifianakis.
Featured Image Via The Hollywood Reporter
2018 is set to be a killer year for book adaptions for the big screen. We’re anticipating adaptations of everything from children’s classics to classic horror, and some of the biggest names in the business starring in them! Whether you’re a Beatrix Potter fan, an E.L James Stan, a YA lover, or a Vonnegut connoisseur, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten page-to-screen extravaganzas to look out for next year.
1. Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Image Courtesy of Bella Luna Toys
This classic tale follows the adventures of Potter’s most famous mischievous rabbit. Fans of the beautiful original illustrations will be interested to see how these translate to 3D animation when the film is released on February 9th. It will star James Corden voicing the titular role, alongside big names such as Daisy Ridley, Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie.
2. Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia
For those looking for something a little racier than Peter Rabbit, also coming out on February 9th is the final installment of E.L James’s hit Fifty Shades series, once again starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. This Danny Elfman scored flick follows Ana and Christian who are now married, and the outside forces threatening Ana’s life.
3. Maze Runner: The Death Cure by James Dashner
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia
The third installment of Dashner’s dystopian trilogy will be hitting screens on February 17th, a year later than planned after star Dylan O’Brien sustained injuries working on set in Vancouver. This story follows Thomas and the Gladers as they fight to find a cure for the disease which has wiped out most of the world’s population. Alongside O’Brien will star Kaya Scoldelario, Thomas Brody-Sangster and Aiden Gillen.
4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Image Courtesy of Amazon
Sci-Fi nuts will love this adaptation of L’Engle’s 1962 novel about life and death, good and evil, and time travel. The star-studded cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Mindy Kaling, and Oprah Winfrey, and you can expect to see all of their lovely faces on March 9th.
5. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia
Another one for Sci-Fi fans is this Spielberg adaptation of Cline’s 2011 novel. Coming out on March 30th, the movie starring Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance, and Olivia Cooke follows the struggle in the year 2044 to find an Easter Egg left behind by the head of an MMO, the finder of which will inherit a fortune.
6. The Invisible Man by H.G Wells
Image Courtesy of bookfiend.wordpress.com
This classic horror, set for release on April 13th, follows a mad scientist who makes himself invisible. It is not yet known if the upcoming movie, starring Johnny Depp, will stick more closely to the original novel than the 1933 version (which featured some major differences in plot), or if it will just be a modern remake. The Invisible Man is set to be the second installment of Universal Pictures’ Universal Monsters series, which began with The Mummy (2017) and will be followed by The Bride of Frankenstein (2019)
7. Meg by Steven Alten
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia
What’s a year in cinema without a killer shark movie? Steve Alten’s novel about a megalodon, a prehistoric shark and the largest sea predator to ever exist, will be chomping its way to a screen near you in August 2018. The story follows paleontologist Jonas Taylor, the survivor of a megalodon attack, and his attempts to prove the beast still exists. Ruby Rose and Jason Statham are set to star.
8. Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut
Image Courtesy of Goodreads
Calling all Vonnegut fans! You can expect to see his novel Bluebeard coming to the big screen on October 29th. Little else is known about this project as yet, but we’re super excited to see who will star as Vonnegut’s reclusive painter protagonist Rabo Karabekian!
9. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Image Courtesy of IMDB
The New York Times touted this YA book as perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park, and judging by how well TFIOS did at the box office, we’re guessing this tale of two teens helping each other through their respective problems will be a hit. Set to star Elle Fanning in the role of Violet, a teen struggling with the death of her sister, the film will be released on an undisclosed date in 2018.
10. Ophelia by Lisa Klein
Image Courtesy of Goodreads
Shakespeare fans can look forward to Klein’s retelling of the classic story of Hamlet from the point of view of Ophelia, which will hit screens on an as-yet unknown date in 2018. The cast includes Daisy Ridley, Naomi Watts, Clive Owen and Tom Felton as Shakespeare’s classic characters battling for love and revenge in the kingdom of Elisnore.
Featured Image Courtesy of Goodreads