The Old Man and the Sea

The September 1, 1952 edition of Life magazine featured a story by Earnest Hemingway titled The Old Man and the Sea.  It featured black and white illustrations by Charles Tunnifcliffe and Raymond Sheppard–and sold five million copies in two days.

It’s the story of poor old Santiago, a down-on-his-luck fisherman who’s gone eighty-four days without catching a single fish. He remains undeterred, however–and sets out alone in search of the catch of his life. It’s the story of determination, friendship, and persistence.

The novel received the Pulitzer Prize the following year (May, 1953) and catapulted Hemingway to international success. A fitting end to the work published in his lifetime.

In 1999, Aleksandr Petrov wrote and directed a short oil-on-glass animation based on Hemingway’s tale. It went on to win 13 awards–including an Academy Award for Best Short Film, Animation. You can watch Petrov’s take on The Old Man and the Sea, here.


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You know it’s a slow news week when there’s a photo of dogs reading books. But really . . . look at those faces!

And Tuesday was National Dog Day, after all.

That’s pretty much all I’ve got.

Well, that and London food banks are beginning to add children’s books to parcels. It’s a splendid idea, if you ask me. And I suppose, if we have but one bit of bookish news, this is a good one to have.

With that, many of us are heading to a holiday weekend. I hope it’s safe, and incredibly happy, and may you find time for a good book or two . . .


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Here’s hoping you find the perfect spot to read this weekend!

In case you’re unaware, now through August 31st, The Paris Review is hosting a contest in celebration of their joint-subscription deal with the London Review of Books. Simply read one or the other, snap a picture doing so, and post to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with the appropriate handle + #ReadEverywhere hashtag. There are prizes.

In other bookish news . . .

How technology has changed crime fiction forever (the Huffington Post).

Lev Grossman on finding his voice: “I wrote fiction for 17 years before I found out I was a fantasy novelist” (The New Yorker).

And from Elle . . . 14 great female authors recommend their 41 favorite female authors.

Speaking of female authors, Italian author Elena Ferrante grants a rare interview to Vogue.

Chicago: reading the midwestern metropolis of American literature (The Guardian).

Looking to buy a remote little bookstore? Well, one just happens to be available in the UK . . .

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s memoir is finally set to be published–and “it’s certainly not the fantasized version we saw on ‘Little House on the Prairie’ the television show.” (abc news)

Remember last week when I wrote about the book art of Julia Strand? Well, this week I happened upon the ‘Book Surgeon.’ Perhaps you’re familiar. If not, do take a look . . .

Oh, and let’s not forget this little gem: To kill or not to kill all the lawyers, that is the question. (The Wall Street Journal)


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HowThingsWork7You can buy pieces such as this via Holy Stokes’ Etsy site

I’ll be the first to admit, book art tends to make me twitchy. It always seems a bit melancholy to take a knife to a book, even if it’s not your cup of tea. This week, however, I happened upon this post by CBC books, and suddenly I’m compelled to rethink my stance.  It features the book art of Julia Strand. She takes abandoned books–those no longer valued for their content–and, using the like of exacto knives, tweezers, and glue, makes intricate works of art. Since she incorporates the illustrations, framed by the cover, the book remains quite intact.

You might say she breathes new life to old books.

And I’m smitten.

Other than that, it was a quiet week on the bookish news front. I think perhaps everyone was either attending The Edinburgh International Book Festival, or they were just too sad with the week’s news. Completely understandable, both. Nonetheless, here are a couple things that caught my eye . . .

George R.R. Martin loves ‘writing about bastards.’ True story.

Podcast from the Edinburgh international book festival on the women behind literary greats.

Since it’s been a couple weeks since we’ve mentioned it, here’s an Orwellian turn in the whole hullabaloo between Amazon and Hatchett.

A little town in north-eastern India is quite proud of George Orwell (his picture hangs right next to that of Shakespeare). It’s Orwell’s place of birth, you see; and the family home is being made into a museum.


Happy Birthday to Alex Haley


Alexander Murray Palmer Haley was born August 11, 1921 in Ithaca, New York. To us, of course, he’s known as Alex Haley, the author of Roots. In honor of his big, a few words from the man of the hour . . .

‘I look at my books the way parents look at their children. The fact that one becomes more successful than the others doesn’t make me love the less successful one any less.’
In my writing, as much as I could, I tried to find the good, and praise it.’‘Roots is not just a saga of my family. It is the symbolic saga of a people.’
‘When you start about family, about lineage and ancestry, you are talking about every person on earth.’
‘My fondest hope is that ‘Roots’ may start black, white, brown, red, yellow people digging back for their own roots. Man, that would make me feel 90 feet tall.’
‘In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.’
‘Anytime you see a turtle up on top of a fence post, you know he had some help.’
‘Racism is taught in our society, it is not automatic. It is learned behavior toward persons with dissimilar physical characteristics.’
‘Either you deal with what is the reality, or you can be sure that the reality is going to deal with you.’