Talking About Books . . .

I recently read a fascinating book entitled December 1941 by Craig Shirley.  Each chapter is about a different day during the month the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and declared war on the United States (in that order).  When you read about the reactions of the people to the attack, the confusion, the rumors, and the uncertainty concerning possible further attacks, you can’t help thinking about the similarities between the reactions then and our reactions after the attacks on September 11, 2001.  And if you have lived in Baton Rouge for long, you will find one paragraph in particular of interest.

“Another tragic Pearl Harbor death was that of Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, fifty-seven, the first flag officer to die in the Pacific.  Kidd had reported for duty on Oahu in February of 1940.  He was a chief of staff and an aide to the commander of a battleship group in Pearl Harbor, though the War Department did not release the name of the ship on which he lost his life on December 7.  It was later learned that Kidd was on the bridge of the Arizona where he assumed command, trying vainly to get it up to battle stations.  When the ship exploded, he was killed and his remains never recovered.  For years Kidd had warned to deaf ears to watch for the Japanese and was regarded in the navy as an expert on the emerging enemy.  His son Isaac C. Kidd Jr., was scheduled to graduate the following week from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, just as his father had in 1906.  Admiral “Captain Kidd” was later posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.”

The USS Kidd, which is now part of a memorial here in Baton Rouge, was commissioned in 1943 and named after Rear Admiral Kidd.  The fascinating story of the ship’s service during World War II and the Korean War as well as information about Kidd can be found here .  You’ll find it interesting.

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October marks the 50th anniversary of the release of Dr. No, the first of a seemingly endless parade of action movies featuring novelist Ian Fleming’s suave super spy James Bond.  So, what accounts for the longevity of 007 in both books and movies?  In part, we may owe the long life of James Bond to someone you’ve probably never heard of, Geoffrey Boothroyd.

In 1956, James Bond fan and firearms expert Geoffrey Boothroyd wrote to Ian Fleming with this to say about Bond’s choice of firearms: “I dislike a man who comes into contact with all sorts of formidable people using a .25 Beretta. This sort of gun is really a lady’s gun, and not a really nice lady at that.  If Mr. Bond has to use a light gun he would be better off with a .22 rim fire; the lead bullet would cause more shocking effect than the jacketed type of the .25.”  Fleming’s replied: “As Bond’s biographer I am most anxious to see that he lives as long as possible and I shall be most grateful for any further technical advice you might like me to pass on to him.”

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Each Monday and Wednesday during November Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will present movies based on novels from around the world.  The series, entitled “Great Adaptations,” will feature 92 movies in categories such as American Literature (including The Great Gatsby, Babbitt and All the King’s Men), Adventure Novels (including Call of the Wild, Lost Horizon and She), National Book Award Winners and Finalists (including From Here to Eternity and Lolita), Mystery and Suspense Novels (including The Maltese Falcon and In Cold Blood), Russian and French Literature (including Dr. Zhivago and Madame Bovary), and Southern Literature (including To Kill a Mockingbird and Gone with the Wind).  You can see the entire November schedule at on or after November 1.

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Flavorwire has compiled a list of 10 movies you didn’t know were based on books.  Or maybe you are smarter that they are and knew.

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The East Baton Rouge Parish Library has scheduled its next sale of recycled books, CDs, and DVDs for Saturday, October 27th at 234 Little John Street from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  For the best selections, be there when the door opens – or earlier.

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CBS Sunday Morning recently did a feature story on author Nora Roberts.  If you’re a fan of this extremely popular and prolific novelist, you can enjoy the segment by clicking here.

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I not only love books, I also love bookcases and bookshelves.  Check out 35 very creative avant-garde bookcases and bookshelves here.

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Before 1939 books were normally sold only in the 500 or so book stores that existed across the country – and they were always hardcovers.  But then Robert De Graff changed everything by starting a company called Pocket Books.  His idea was to sell paperback books for a mere 25 cents each in drug stores, grocery stores and anywhere else he could place them.  Also, they would be handled by magazine distributors rather than book sellers.  By 1944 Pocket Books were sold in 70,000 outlets across the United States.  And that was just the beginning.  You can read about the intriguing history of the paperback book here.

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In honor of the National Book Festival which took place in Washington D. C. recently, the Washington Post asked a number of authors to respond to various questions concerning writing.  The responses are both wide-ranging and revealing.

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The next edition of the live author interview program In-Depth on Book TV (C-SPAN2) will air Sunday, November 2nd from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. local time.  The featured author will be Clay Shirky.  He is a writer, consultant and teacher on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies.  His works include Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations and Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age.

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