THIS IS MARK TWAIN
If you’re not reading it already (and the chances of that seem almost as slim as those that you’re reading this), you should be checking out the University of California Press Blog’s “This is Mark Twain” feature. As I mentioned in my May review, a number of publishers are rolling out books this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the author’s death, but perhaps unmatched are the efforts of the UC Press. The jewel in the crown, as I see it, will be published this fall: the first of the three volumes of Twain’s autobiography, which he stipulated not be released until this year.
Anyway, in “This is Mark Twain,” the Press has been posting photos of Twain at work and at play, as well as images of his letters and other written work.
They’ve provided delightful photos such as this one:
Check it out.
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
The classic novel is approaching its 50th birthday (on July 11th). Events are planned, and several articles have come out about the book and its famously reclusive author in recent days. Here’s a blog post from Publishers Weekly about the publishing phenomenon the book represented:
“A first novel, a coming-of-age story set in the South. The author is utterly unknown, has no academic or media affiliations, no Web site, no blog, no Facebook page, no Twitter account. She is shy. What's a publisher and a publicist to do?
“In this case, the publisher is J.B. Lippincott. There's no record of the publicist. The novel is To Kill a Mockingbird. The author: Harper Lee. And 50 years ago the answer was: not much.”
And here’s the (exceedingly brief) interview with Lee and attending article from the Daily Mail, which has already made the internet rounds:“Thank you so much . . . You are most kind. We’re just going to feed the ducks but call me the next time you are here. We have a lot of history here. You will enjoy it.”
Finally, I’m going to share my favorite (and some of the opening) lines from the book—a book given to me by my grandmother, a book that may represent the first ‘real’ novel that I remember committing to, a book that led to a movie that ignited my seventh-grade crush on Gregory Peck. Here they are:“Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer's day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.”
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPERY!
I don’t count myself among the book’s fans, but happy 110th birthday to the author of Le Petit Prince!
Did you figure out the theme? Yes, it’s big hair! Or, um, collars.