World’s Strangest

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10 Famous Literary Characters Based on Real People

“Write what you know,” they say. So it makes sense that many authors take a good look around at friends and family when creating characters for their books. 1. Mark Twain once admitted that he wasn’t terribly creative in creating Huckleberry Finn – he based the character almost precisely on his childhood friend Tom Blankenship. From [...]

Famous Novelists on Symbolism in Their Work and Whether It Was Intentional

It was 1963, and 16-year-old Bruce McAllister was sick of symbol-hunting in English class. Rather than quarrel with his teacher, he went straight to the source: McAllister mailed a crude, four-question survey to 150 novelists, asking if they intentionally planted symbolism in their work. Seventy-five authors responded. Here’s what 12 of them had to [...]

Meet the Beats

The following article is from the book Uncle John’s Heavy Duty Bathroom Reader. The Beats were America’s first hipsters. But what were they, like, really about, man? THE OTHER SIDE OF AMERICA One night in 1948, two students at new York’s Columbia University, John Clellon Holmes and Jack Kerouac, were hanging out talking about what they thought was [...]

Try, Try Again: Rejection Letters Received by Bestselling Authors

For writers, getting rejected can seem like a pastime. But don’t take my word for it, even though I’ve gotten my share of no-thank-yous. These best-selling authors were rejected, too, and some not very kindly. Editors, publishers and agents have made big errors in judgment, as evidenced by the list of unkind (and sometimes needlessly [...]

6 Famous Novels Penned in Under a Month

It’s National Novel Writing Month! Some people criticize the concept, claiming that novels written in under a month aren’t going to be worth the paper they’re printed on. But there are plenty of examples to prove the naysayers wrong. In fact, many classic, bestselling novels were penned within this time frame. While these authors completed [...]

The Early (Not-So-Literary) Jobs of 10 Great Authors

It’s not unusual for professors and journalists to end up as influential writers—just look at Toni Morrison, Ezra Pound, and John Updike. But sometimes our wordslinging heroes take a longer, less direct route to greatness. Oftentimes, those experiences will end up in the author’s work. Other times, it’s just an odd footnote. Here are ten [...]

11 Famous Roommates From the World of Sports

Most of us remember our college roommates as partners in crime who ate all our Easy Mac. Some famous athletes may remember their roommates as “that four-time Super Bowl winner who slept on the bottom bunk,” though. Here’s a look at 11 famous roommate pairings from the world of sports: 1. Tony Dungy and Flip Saunders The [...]