Armed Services Editions (ASEs) of an array of novels were published for as little as ten cents each and distributed to the troops. Choices ranged from Mark Twain to Zane Grey to Virginia Woolf (highly collectible). The most popular title? A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I'm thinking Edna St. Vincent Millay, not so much.
• Poet Amy Lowell (a woman of means) rented five rooms in any hotel she stayed at to create quiet above, below, and on both sides (and I thought I was noise averse!! Too bad they didn't have noise-cancelling earphones; she could have been listening to some Mozart and all would have been well with the world).
• The shortest poem in the English language is purported to be "Fleas": Adam / Had 'em.
• The Brontë family patriarch Patrick was actually born a Prunty, in County Down, Northern Ireland. After moving to England, he morphed his patronymic to Bronte because uprisings in his native land were making the Irish unpopular in England. He added an umlaut at the end to further muddy the waters.
|Peter & Wendy|
• J.M. Barrie invented the name "Wendy."
• Prolific novelist Anthony Trollope had a short fuse, and he particularly loathed brass bands and barrel organs. He died of a heart attack, possibly brought on by screaming at same out of a hotel window. (Sounds like a plot for Agatha Christie!)
• Bulgari jewelers paid one of my favorite writers, British novelist Fay Weldon, ₤18,000 to recast The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, with product placements strewn about. "When asked how she, shortlisted for the Booker Prize, could sell out this way, she replied that the buggers had never actually given her the prize."
• Now test your literary acumen by guessing the ultimate names of these provisionally titled novels: First Impressions, Hearts Insurgent, The Last Man in Europe, According to Cocker, The Man of Feeling, The Sisters, Tote the Weary Load.
|Out with first impressions; in with alliteration.|
Speaking of toting a weary load, a survey taken in 2007 established the following "must read" books as ones people were least likely to finish: Crime & Punishment, Vernon God Little, Ulysses, Captain Corelli's Violin, Cloud Atlas (wonder if they'll see the movie), War and Peace, The Alchemist, The Satanic Verses (ouch! Take that, three Booker Prizes!), The God of Small Things.
Vindication anyone? I must admit I left off Arundhati Roy's book, and it keeps staring at me accusingly.