LeVar Burton raised a million dollars in 12 hours and can now bring Reading Rainbow back

May 29, 2014 | 1 comment

Yesterday, LeVar Burton and Reading Rainbow launched a kickstarter to fund a new version of the show, updated for today’s children — free and online.

If you visited the fundraising page yesterday, you could watch the number of backers and the total donations climbing in real time…and they were climbing fast.

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Stephen King didn’t get paid for “The Shawshank Redemption”…because he used the check for a joke

May 27, 2014 | 1 comment

When The Shawshank Redemption came out in 1994, it was not an immediate smash hit. Its legendary status came with time. And even the movie’s creators couldn’t have predicted it.

Shawshank Redemption - 02

Years before, when the movie was simply an idea, the influence and prominence that it would achieve was all but unimaginable to the then-unknown filmmaker Frank Darabont — who would later direct the movie — and Stephen King, whose book the movie was based on. Their unawareness of the story’s cinematic potential is hinted at by the fact that King optioned the movie rights to Darabont for a mere $5,000.

Stephen King and Frank Darabont

Or maybe King knew exactly what he was doing…

The uber-famous author has a history of offering the rights to his books to aspiring, unknown filmmakers for a pittance, so perhaps he had some inkling that The Shawshank Redemption would be a massive hit and simply chose to not get rich from it.

His lack of interest in making money from the project was later proven by a package he sent to Darabont.

It turns out he didn’t even cash the $5,000 check that Darabont had given him in 1987. Instead, years later after the movie came out and was a huge success, King framed it and sent it back to Darabont with a note…

In case you ever need bail money. Love, Steve.

Does every book about Africa have the same cover?

May 13, 2014 | No comments

Doctoral candidate in international history Simon Stevens was reading Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun when he realized it looked kind of familiar. He did some looking around on Good Reads and discovered something intriguing about books related to Africa…

An inordinate number get “the acacia tree sunset treatment”…

Book designs and Africa

The site Africa Is a Country, whose ironic flair you can guess from their name, summarizes their analysis of this cover collection…

In short, the covers of most novels “about Africa” seem to have been designed by someone whose principal idea of the continent comes from The Lion King.

Read more at Quartz.

NPR’s simple but brilliant April Fools prank on overconfident, hypocritical “readers”

April 4, 2014 | 3 comments

NPR’s prank this past Tuesday took a creative mind to come up with, but it was so simple it probably only took about 10 minutes to execute. They simply wrote an article titled “Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore.” You may have seen it floating around Facebook.

But here’s the twist: It wasn’t a real article…

NPR April Fools Day Comments - 03

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Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” and more reimagined as classic children’s books [9 pics]

March 26, 2014 | No comments

Artist Jerry Puryear combines his appreciation for literary fiction with his familiarity as a father with children’s books by reimagining the former as the latter. And so we have the likes of Cormac McCarthy, Donna Tartt, Michael Chabon, and Jonathan Franzen imaginarily republished in the styles of Richard Scarry, Syd Hoff, and H. A. Rey…

The Road, Cormac McCarthy

Literary Fiction as Children's Book - 01

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