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This Week: Open Letters to Punctuation Marks, Jane Austen’s Fight Club & More

By JK Evanczuk on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - View Comments

Open letters to punctuation marks.

Ships that pass is a Tumblr of “fake, imagined, and literary missed connections posted to Craigslist and then re-posted here with real and actual responses to fake, imagined, and literary missed connections.”

Alex Epstein’s 3 micro stories over at The Outlet are worth a read.

“This is Just to Say That I’m Tired of Sharing an Apartment With William Carlos Williams.”

An interesting note on who reads bestsellers from The Rumpus:

“A lot of the people who read a bestselling novel, for example, do not read much other fiction. By contrast, the audience for an obscure novel is largely composed of people who read a lot. That means the least popular books are judged by people who have the highest standards, while the most popular are judged by people who literally do not know any better. An American who read just one book this year was disproportionately likely to have read The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown. He almost certainly liked it.”

The Nervous Breakdown talks experimental fiction.

Aaaand because this is so SCRUMPTIOUS that I have no choice but to share, here is…Jane Austen’s Fight Club: Read more »

Robot and Juliet

By JK Evanczuk on Thursday, March 4, 2010 - Comments Off

I was inspired by Jacket Copy’s classic literature web movie and so put together one of my own using the simple (and free) online animated moviemaking tool xtranormal. Below is a video featuring part of a scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet–with the titular characters as robots. Xtranormal only has sterile, computer-generated voices to provide the dialogue, but in this context I’m thinking it kind of works.

After the jump, watch Jacket Copy’s Pride and Prejudice web video. Read more »

Mrs. Darcy vs The Aliens

By JK Evanczuk on Thursday, February 18, 2010 - Comments Off

This whole classic-literature-meets-monsters trend keeps getting weirder and weirder. The latest mashup is Mrs. Darcy vs The Aliens, which author Jonathan Pinnock describes as:

Mrs Darcy vs The Aliens is a slightly demented sequel to Pride and Prejudice, although it has been described more accurately as “not so much Pride and Prejudice‘s sequel as its bastard offspring following a drunken one-night stand with the X-Files.”

Mostly, I like this idea because of the book trailer the author put together. It has Colin Firth in it, it’s in French, and it’s one of the weirdest book trailers I’ve ever seen.

If I could speak with one person dead or alive, I would want to chat with Jane Austen just so I could get her reaction to all these mashups. Given that she was apparently pretty risque and controversial in her day, I have a feeling she would think it all was a very good joke–what do you think?

More: Books, Reviews

Are Zombies Bringing Austen Back to Her Roots?

By Tracy Marchini on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - Comments Off

Laura Miller’s piece in Salon last week touched upon our continued interest in reinventing Jane Austen into what most pleases ourselves. Given the ridiculous success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and multiple vampire books*, there’s been much talk about whether Jane Austen herself would be rolling in her grave, or perhaps amused to see her stories with “ultra violent zombie mayhem.”


I can’t help but wonder though, if we’ve unconsciously brought Jane Austen full-circle. Though Austen never wrote about zombies, her juvenilia is full of scandal — carriage chases, divorce, murder and other mayhem, without always punishing the offending character. (Though this may not sound very scandalous to us, but in Victorian England this was extremely shocking, and to protect her reputation, Austen’s juvenilia was not published by the family until over 100 years later.)

But much like the spirit behind Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Austen’s humor is tongue-in-cheek, and at 14 she’s already noticed the inordinate number of women who faint in the novels of her time. In Love and Freindship[sic], written when Austen was still a teenager, she writes, Read more »

More: Books

This Week: Banished Words, Banned Books, and Typewriters in the Classroom

By JK Evanczuk on Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - Comments Off


Which words would you banish?

Ben Okri is writing a poem celebrating 2010 on Twitter, to last all of January.

Avahontas. Pocohontar.

Enough with the Jane Austen mashups already.

Books have been banned from all flights by airline Transport Canada in the wake of the foiled Christmas Day attack.

100 years of literary noughtiness.

Book blurb of the week: “…the most pestilential book ever vomited, I think, from the jaws of hell.”

Once again, there is hope yet for the written word.

And to help get you through the first full week of 2010: Student brings a typewriter to class, professor asks him, “Can you mute the sound?” Read more »

This Week: Palin Poetry, Word Nerdery & Maya Angelou Is “As Fine As Wine in the Summertime”

By JK Evanczuk on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - Comments Off

The "Great" GatsbyNewsflash: being shifty-eyed can boost your creativity. Excellent.

Palin poetry.

Computer says Jane Austen and Charles Dickens are not good writers at all. Computer says no.

A Portrait of the “Artist” as a Young Man, The “Great” Gatsby, and other great works of literature made sarcastic by quotation marks. [Thanks, Courtney!]

Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the AK-47 assault rifle–beloved by violent guerilla troops around the world–secretly always wanted to be a poet.

Read more »

This Week: Jane Austen’s Emma Goes Bollywood, Maurice Sendak Tells Concerned Parents to “Go to Hell”

By JK Evanczuk on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 - Comments Off

Bollywooood!This is your brain on books.

Jane Austen’s Emma comes to the big screen…in Bollywood. I am very excited to see Emma and Mr. Knightley dance and sing. For reals.

O helo thar: a good old fashioned book burnin’ at a Baptist Church in North Carolina. Books to be burned include such “heretical works” as Rick Warren, Mother Theresa, and, uh, the Bible. Book burning: ur doin it rong.

Maurice Sendak says he does “not tolerate” the opinion that Where the Wild Things Are is too scary for children, and concerned parents should “go to hell.”

The question is asked, again: is Twitter ruining literacy? We say, again: nope.

Boys like zombies because they’re both “dumb, brutal, ugly, and mindlessly violent.” Girls like vampires because they’re a proxy for the gay men they secretly want to date. Okay.

Read more »

Midweek Pick-Me-Up

By JK Evanczuk on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - Comments Off

p>Mark TwainThis week: writers say the darndest things, Americans buy the darndest books, and also some zombies. Read more »

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