World’s Strangest

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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 [...]

What 10 Classic Books Were Almost Called

Remember when your high school summer reading list included Atticus, Fiesta, and The Last Man in Europe? You will once you see what these books were renamed before they hit bookshelves. 1. F. Scott Fitzgerald went through quite a few titles for his most well-known book before deciding on The Great Gatsby. If he hadn’t [...]

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 [...]

The Quick 10: 10 Film Set Tragedies

If you’ve seen the movie based on Stephen King’s Pet Sematary Two, you probably remember the horrifying scene at the beginning when the actress is electrocuted on set while her son (Edward Furlong, back in his dreamy days) looks on. While that particular incident comes to us courtesy of Mr. King, film set tragedies aren’t [...]

Vonnegut Reads “Breakfast of Champions,” 3 Years Before Publication

Now this is a find. The 92nd Street Y Podcast (iTunes link) presents a variety of interesting lectures that have taken place at, you guessed it, the 92nd Street Y in New York. (Note that the Y is not a YMCA — read more). Anyway, my point is they have this brilliant piece by Kurt [...]