Thursday, November 25, 2010

Literary Miscellany

Literary Miscellany: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Literature

Behind-the-book stories and facts about authors, publishing, and everything literary. Literary Miscellany is a breezy tour through the literature of today and yesterday, touching on many great classical literary works, movements, and trends. But don’t fear that it’s only for intellectuals—there’s plenty here for the contemporary pleasure reader as well. Alex Palmer offers something for everyone, including answers to the following questions:

What’s the original bestseller?

What authors introduced insults as a literary art form?

Who burned the first book?

Are writers more likely to be depressed than booksellers?

How does a book become a movie?

When did sex become part of literature?

Most people don’t know that the Bible gets credit for plenty of lines that were written by William Shakespeare or John Milton. In Literary Miscellany, learn how this happened. Also examine the more recent concept of “false memoirs,” with a list of who lied about what. And speaking of villains, was the devil the first bad guy in print? Did his appearance lead to the inevitable self-help book? Or was that Oprah?

This quirky work is filled with entertaining literary trivia for a unique perspective on writers’ lives and inspirations, from the drinks they imbibed to the books they penned. Delightfully illustrated, it will entertain casual readers and literary buffs alike.
My view:
I had much higher hopes for this volume. It wasn't bad, it just didn't quite have the substance I was looking for. This is more of a light, literature-trivia-for-dummies kind of read. Not that there's anything wrong with that, as long as you know that up front. This presents itself as a more serious work, and in my opinion, it's not. When Amazon says that it "touches on great works", they're not kidding. There isn't a truly in-depth discussion on anything. I did like the quotes and some of the trivia boxes scattered throughout, but it wasn't enough to make me LOVE this book.

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