Lagniappe

Artists

James Gulliver Hancock has produced a book, Artists, Writers, Thinkers, Dreamers: Portraits of Fifty Famous Folks & All Their Weird Stuff, composed almost exclusively of illustrations.  The unique thing is that the illustrations are full of interesting facts about their subjects.  The 50 subjects include Ernest Hemingway, Leo Tolstoy, Oscar Wilde, Bonnie & Clyde, Cleopatra, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  You can see three of the illustrations here.

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A biopic (biographical picture) about Ernest Hemingway is being filmed, in part, in Cuba where he lived for many years.  The filmmakers received an exemption from the U.S. government to travel to Cuba since the film is classified as a documentary.  Also, the Cuban government is fully cooperating with the filming.

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Drinkable Book

Slate has an article about a book that you will never see in a Kindle edition.  That’s because its pages are used to filter water in countries where clean water is scarce or nonexistent.  It’s called The Drinkable Book.  Be sure to watch the 2 minute video at the Slate site.

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Some books cry out “Read Me,” while others aren’t meant to be read.  This CBS Sunday Morning story explains the difference.

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Havisham

Loners can be scary, but they are also some of the most fascinating people in literature.  Here are some fictional loners you won’t forget.

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What do people do at libraries besides reading books?  Lots of things.  And the New York Public Library system, which is enduring severe funding cuts, is obviously trying to make sure that everyone sees how wide-ranging their activities are.

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Here’s a novel idea: A reading party at a bar.  If you go, it would be a good idea to bring your own reading light.

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Tom Sawyer Detective

We know that Mark Twain wrote a novel about Tom Sawyer and another about Huck Finn, but what is less well known is that Twain published two other books about Tom and Huck, and left three more novels about one or both of the scamps unfinished at the time of his death.  Mental Floss discusses Twain’s sequels and ten more little known sequels here.

Home School

To that list I would add Home School which is Charles Webb’s sequel to The Graduate.  The sequel takes place 11 years after Benjamin saved Elaine from a disastrous wedding.  By then they have two children who they are home schooling on the east coast – far, far away from the kids’ grandmother Mrs. Robinson.

Note: My wife and I recently watched the awesome 1962 film The Miracle Worker with our niece Jacqueline.  It’s interesting to see Anne Bancroft as Annie Sullivan the woman who finally got through to the deaf and blind Helen Keller, and then to consider that this same Anne Bancroft played Mrs. Robinson five years later in The Graduate.  Bancroft rightly won the Best Actress award for The Miracle Worker (which she and Patty Duke also did on Broadway from 1959 to 1961).  She was nominated for the same award for her work in The Graduate, but lost to Katharine Hepburn who won for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

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Day of the Jackal

BuzzFeed has published a list of 99 thrillers that are worth reading.

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Lost for Words

Lost for Words by Edward St. Aubyn – a satire of literary prizes – has just won a literary prize.  St. Aubyn was surprised.  “The only thing I was sure of when I was writing this satire on literary prizes was that it wouldn’t win any prizes. I was wrong. I had overlooked the one prize with a sense of humour.”  Book Forum’s review offers us both the positives and negatives of St. Aubyn’s novel.

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The next edition of the live author interview program In-Depth on Book TV (C-SPAN2) will air Sunday, June 1, 2014 from noon to 3:00 p.m. ET.  The featured guest will be author and columnist Amity Shlaes.  Her books include The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, Coolidge, and Germany: The Empire Within.

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A few weeks ago I was at our house in the country when I noticed that one of the front tires on my truck was almost flat.  I carry an electric tire pump in the truck (and my wife has one in her car) that can be plugged into a 12 volt DC outlet, so I had the tire up to full pressure in about ten minutes.  I headed back home making two quick stops to check the ailing tire, but had no further problems.  Even if I had been forced to add air along the way, that would have been a lot simpler than changing a tire.

I think about my experience every time I see someone changing a tire on the side of a busy highway.  Barring a major blowout, you can quickly get yourself out of a jam by simply repressurizing a low tire.  Why change it in a dangerous or inconvenient location?  And what if the spare tire is flat because you haven’t checked it in years?  For a modest price – and a few minutes of your time spent learning how to use it – you can buy a tire pump and turn a major problem into a minor inconvenience.

Think about it.  Then go buy a tire pump.

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I want to leave you with a smile on your face, so look at these photos of dogs caught in mid-bath.  I bet you can’t keep from smiling when you look at them.

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