Book Sellers Who Refuse to Go Digital – The End of the Digital Apocalypse?

The Digital Apocalypse, Delayed

BY JIM NAURECKAS via FAIR.org

The New York Times (9/22/15) reports slowing e-book sales as the “digital apocalypse” that didn’t happen. “Five years ago, the book world was seized by collective panic over the uncertain future of print,” reporter Alexandra Alter writes. “Publishers and authors feared that cheaper e-books would cannibalize their business.”
But the metaphorical cannibal apocalypse has failed to materialize, as “digital sales have instead slowed sharply.” What’s the explanation for the “surprising resilience of print”? Consumer preference, is the main story the Times tells: “Young readers who are digital natives still prefer reading on paper” and “e-reading devices fell out of fashion.” Thank goodness for people’s undeniable love of good old-fashioned real books, is the underlying tone.
Then, three-quarters of the way through the lengthy piece, the real economics of the publishing industry appear:
Higher e-book prices may also be driving readers back to paper.
As publishers renegotiated new terms with Amazon in the past year and demanded the ability to set their own e-book prices, many have started charging more. With little difference in price between a $13 e-book and a paperback, some consumers may be opting for the print version.
On Amazon, the paperback editions of some popular titles, like The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, are several dollars cheaper than their digital counterparts. Paperback sales rose by 8.4 percent in the first five months of this year, the Association of American Publishers reported.

Read More on FAIR

Being Fiction, Instead of Writing It

  A great article on the struggle of writing: “Here’s the thing about inner conflict: it’s the heart of everything. It’s the recognition that you are your best friend and your worst enemy.”

Over the last few years, I’ve written blog post after blog post about making changes with a mind towards writing. I quit paid work. I quit volunteering. I set up my study, surrounded by books, many of them about writing. I am supported by the people in my life. I talk about writing. I read […]

http://thegreenstudy.com/2015/09/16/being-fiction-instead-of-writing-it/

Author Quote – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou on the Power of Imagination

Quote by Maya Angelou

Photo: Kent Smith

Photo: Kent Smith

Maya Angelou was born as Marguerite Johnson on April 4th, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri and raised in St. Louis and Stamps, Arkansas. She became one of the most renowned and influential voices of our time. With over 50 honorary doctorate degrees Dr. Maya Angelou became a celebrated poet, memoirist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist.

She died on May 28, 2014, in North Carolina.

“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.” -Maya Angelou (The Heart of a Woman)

The A to Z of Writing Science Fiction

How to Write Science Fiction A to ZHow to Write a Science Fiction Novel: Start with 26 Key Elements

Science fiction allows authors greater freedom than perhaps any other genre. But the complexity needed for science fiction and fantasy writing can be daunting and leave even the most experienced writers exhausted.  Author P. Wish presents a 26-point checklist for plausible and authentic science fiction — an A to Z guide for how to write sci-fi.

planet

A- Attack Start with a bang. Every story needs a strong opening.
B- Blow it up Science fiction usually consists of blown up situations. Whether is is aliens taking over the Earth, or black holes or a dystopian novel, they contain situations that are blown up versions of reality.
C- Characters Characters are the backbone of any story. Create realistic, fleshed out characters. Take time to know your characters before you begin writing. Many science fiction stories ignore characters.
D- Danger An element of danger will keep the readers turning pages. Science fiction thrives on danger. A sense of impending doom is essential to add flesh to the story.
E- Elements The five elements- air, water, fire, earth and space make up your science fiction universe. These directly influence the world that our characters live in. Science fiction usually plays around with these.
F- Futuristic Science fiction is synonymous with ‘future’. Science fiction relies on futuristic technology. Many of the gadgets we see today were written about in science fiction novels. Make sure you include a ‘futuristic’ element in your story.
G- Genius Put a unique spin on the tale. Black holes, time travel, futuristic gadgets and dystopian governments have been done to death. Take an idea and put a unique spin on it.
H- Hell This is where we introduce the bad guys. Make your hero’s life a living hell. This is the motivation to change. No pain, no gain.

red rocket
I- Innovation Innovation is the backbone of all science fiction. What if teleportation was a mode of travel? That would save lot of time, traffic jams, fuel, metals and money. ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’. Find a problem and solve it in an innovative way.
J- Jungle Chaos is the way of things. In effect, your characters are stuck in an imaginary jungle. There are known and unknown forces at work. Expose the story layer by layer.
K- Kremlin Kremlin refers to a Fortress in Russian. Fortress is a place of refuge or support. Create a fortress where your character can recoup and re-energize. This is the source of your character’s strength. This is where he/she goes to retreat when they are wounded. This is what they would protect with their life. Every story needs one.
L- Last Science Fiction has a love affair with lasts. The last of the human race, the last contestant remaining, the last straw- science fiction is a series of lasts. Having a ‘last’ in your story creates a sense of urgency.
M- Miracle Readers love miracles. They offer a sense of renewed hope. In science fiction stories where the future is a bleak and depressing place, miracles are what keep people going.
N- Nemesis Remember Hell? Nemesis takes ‘hell’ to a whole new level. A nemesis becomes a part of the hero’s DNA. It is what the hero lives to defeat. Make the nemesis a force to reckon with.
O- Opportunity All successes are a result of the right opportunity. Give the hero opportunities to change and defeat.
P- Parallel Action These are the invisible forces that are at work behind the scenes. Plot a parallel stream of events. Then, expose them one by one.
Q- Question Finding an answer is all about asking the right questions. Make sure you make your readers ask the right question. This is important to keep the plot moving in the right direction.
R- Re-Birth Science fiction is a tale of transformation. Without re-birth, any story falls flat on the face. Let your hero rise from the ashes. Change the premise. Re-awaken an old spirit. Re-birth adds the third dimension to your plot.
S- Science There can be no science fiction without science. Make sure the scientific elements of your story are believable (or it’s not science fiction, it’s fantasy.)
T- Time period In what time period is your story set? Is it set in a future where the human race faces extinction? Is it set in technologically advanced Japan?

Sci-Fi Astronaut
U- Universe  Ultimately, all actions influence the universe we live in. How does your hero interact with the universe the characters live in?
V- Vacillate  A vacillating story that wanders without any sense of direction is not what you are aiming for.
W- Waterfall This is the point in the story when everything comes gushing at full speed. A strong climax makes a strong story.
X- X-Ray Examine the inner dynamics of the story and characters.
Y- Yield The story must ultimately yield to the expectations of readers and the characters. Twist endings are fine but make sure you give a heads up to readers.
Z- Zen  A state of Zen will do wonders for your imagination. It is also the state you will be in when you finish your story.

Read More from P. Wish

My Life in 3 Colours by P. Wish

Author P. WishP. Wish is an author and blogger. She graduated with an honors degree in Law from the University of Manchester, UK. She self published her first book in May, 2015. Her next book releases on 28th October, 2015. She spends most of her time writing, designing for her blog and making book trailers. When she’s not writing, she likes to paint, dance, meditate, research, watch movies and nourish her sweet tooth. She loves to read about a wide variety of topics like business, psychology, marketing, singing, pop science and self help.

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National Punctuation Day Personality Quiz

What Kind of Punctuation are You?Find Out if You’re a Semicolon or a Comma with a Punctuation Personality Quiz

September 24th is National Punctuation Day in the United States…yes, there is such a thing! Why celebrate punctuation? Without proper use of commas, periods and semicolons, writers would have difficulty communicating. Use the wrong punctuation and the sentence becomes ambiguous (or even meaningless). For example:

Comma Mistake Changes Meaning of Sentence

The dog does look a bit worried! he would probably feel a whole lot better if there were some commas in that headline. Like this:

Comma in Headline

Choosing the right words is critical; choosing the right punctuation is just as important.

Which punctuation mark are you?

Curious about which punctuation mark aligns with your personality? Take Oxford’s Punctuation Personality Quiz and find out if you’re a staid period, a high-strung exclamation point or a warmhearted parentheses. Our results are below.

personality quiz semicolon

The 12 Best New Yorker Cartoons on Writing and Literature

The 10 Best New Yorker Magazine Cartoons on Writing and Literature12 of the Best Cartoons from the Best Literary Magazine Ever

The New Yorker Magazine has been publishing reportage, fiction, satire, poetry and current events since 1925, and over the past 90 years has become an American icon and beacon for new writing, ground-breaking editorial and reporting, and timely satire. The magazine has launched the careers of countless writers and published contributions from the likes of Roald Dahl, Joan Didion, Margaret Atwood, E. L. Doctorow, Chang-Rae Lee, Phillip Roth, Dorothy Parker, Ogden Nash, and Sylvia Plath.

Based in New York, the magazine’s reviews and event listings usually focus on the cultural life of its home city, but The New Yorker has a broad audience outside of New York. Over its nearly 100 year history it has become perhaps best known for its illustrated and often humorous covers, its commentaries on American pop culture, and the single-panel cartoons that are included in each issue. Reading the New Yorker cartoons and sometimes trying to figure out what they mean is a ritual that many fans of the magazine begin with: before reading the content, true fans go through an entire issue to look at the cartoons.

New Yorker Magazine’s Best Cartoons on Writing, Books and Reading

Below are 12 of the best-ever New Yorker cartoons on reading, writing, literature and on books. If you have trouble figuring any of them out, don’t be shy about saying so in the comments section – deciphering the meaning of New Yorker cartoons is best done with help from others!  For more great New Yorker cartoons, see the links to the New Yorker Magazine cartoons books, at the bottom of the page.

New Yorker Cartoon on Writing Kanin

New Yorker Cartoon about Writers by Barsotti

New Yorker Cartoon on Books Twohy

New Yorker Cartoon on Books Crawford

New Yorker Cartoon on publishing Sipress

New Yorker Cartoon Sartre Cookbook Chast

New Yorker Cartoon on Book Promotion Leo Cullum

New Yorker Cartoon on Self-Publishing by Mick Stevens

New Yorker Cartoon Writers Block by Henry Martin

New Yorker Cartoon book signing by Donnelly

New Yorker Cartoon Sky Writers Block by Matthew Diffee

New Yorker Cartoon Charles Dickens Publisher by Handelsman


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Why Authors Shouldn’t Write Four Books a Year

Book Marketing and Self Publishing  How much to write
Book Marketing for Self-Published Authors – Quality or Quantity?

By Lorraine Devon Wilke via The Huffington Post

Lorraine Devon Wilke, who is an experienced author of three novels, emphasizes the importance of bucking the trend of churning out book after book at breakneck speed. Instead, she exhorts self-published authors to think about quality, rather than quantity.

No matter what experts tell you, no matter what trends, conventional wisdom, social media chatter or your friends in the Facebook writers group insist upon, do NOT write four books a year. I mean it. Don’t.

Unless they’re four gorgeously written, painstakingly molded, amazingly rendered and undeniably memorable books. If you can pull off four of those a year, more power to you. But most can’t. I’d go so far as to say no one can, the qualifier being good books.

Beyond the fact that the marketplace is glutted with an overwhelming number of books already (many of dubious quality), writing good books simply takes time, lots of it. There’s no getting around that time. It involves learned skills, unhurried imagination, fastidious drafting, diligent editing, even the time to step away, then step back, to go over it all again. And, unless you’re a hack (and we know there are plenty of those out there), isn’t the whole point of this exercise to write good books?

What is your point as an author?
Our most highly esteemed, widely applauded, prodigiously awarded, read and revered authors know this to be true. Donna Tartt, last year’ s Pulitzer Prize winner for The Goldfinch, took eleven years to deliver that masterpiece. This year’s winner, Anthony Doerr, had written only four books in his entire career before penning All The Light We Cannot See, wisely taking years to craft his stunning tale. The cultishly-beloved Harper Lee had only To Kill A Mockingbird in her catalogue before this year’s controversial release of Go Set A Watchman (which some are convinced was not of her doing). Even others amongst our best, who do put out work on a more regular basis, do so with focus appropriately attuned to the quality of the book, not the depth of their catalogue or the flash-speed with which they crank out product.

But, you say, I’m not interested in writing Pulitzer Prize winners; I don’t need to be on The New York Times bestseller list; I just wanna see my name up at Amazon and sell a few books to family and friends, and, hey, if I go viral, all the better! They say write to the market, so I gotta write to the market. I mean, look at E.L. James…she’s hardly Chaucer and look what’s happened to her!!

Point taken. Which actually brings us to the point: what is your point?

What’s your point as a creative, an artist; an author? A purveyor of the written word? Why are you here, what is your purpose, your goal as a writer? What do you hope to achieve? Is it fame and fortune at any cost, quality be damned? Or is it about finely crafted work? It’s important to know, to decide, because those principles will guide and mandate every decision you make from there on out.

I bring all this up because I experienced a snap the other day, one triggered by an article from Self Published Author by Bowker titled, Discovery: Another Buzzword We’re Wrestling to Understand. In it, the writer lists many of the familiar instructions toward procuring success as an indie writer — social media, book reviews, networking, etc. — but her very first suggestion to self-published authors looking to get “discovered” was this:

Publish. A Lot: For those of you who have spent 10 years writing your last book I have news for you. You have ten days to write your next one. Okay, I’m sort of kidding with the ten days but, candidly, the most successful authors are pushing out tons of content: meaning books, not blog posts.

In most categories, readers are hungry for new reads, new books, and willing to discover new authors. You’ll have a better time getting found if you continually push new books out there. How many should you do? At a recent writers conference some authors said they publish four books a year. Yes, that’s right, four. [Emphasis mine.]

Wow.

So, her first piece of advice to self-publishing authors wasn’t to put more focus on fine-tuning one’s craft, it wasn’t about taking time to mull and ponder what stories, what narratives, most inspire you to put “pen to paper”; it wasn’t even a suggestion to be relentless about working with professional content/copy editors and cover designers to create the best possible version of your work. No, it was the insanely insane advice to pump out at least four books a year.

And people wonder why there are stigmas attached to self-publishing.

First of all, in looking at her point of reference, I suppose it depends on what you define as a “successful author.” I have a distinct feeling this may be where the disparities lie. Perhaps my own definition is a different one.

When I self-published my first book, After The Sucker Punch, in April of 2014, I had, by then, put years into it, doing all those many things I itemized above. Because I not only wanted to publish a novel, I wanted that novel to be a work of art, a book of depth and merit, one that would not only tell a compelling story but would meet standards of publishing that authors of the highest regard are held to. I wanted it to be a book that would favorably compare with anything put out by a traditional publisher. My choice to self-publish was a result of not having engaged a publisher by the time my book was done and I was ready to market it. It was not based on the notion of joining the “second tier club” where one is unbound from the stricter, more demanding standards of traditional publishing.

“Second tier club”? Yes. As insulting as that sounds, particularly in relation to self-publishing, there is no question that there are two tiers operating in the culture of the book industry. Take a moment to think about it: based on what advice is given to self-published writers, some of which I shared above; based on the”free/bargain” pricing paradigms of most book sellers hawking those writers; based on the corner (quality)-cutting measures required to pump out endless product to meet the purportedly endless demand of those sites and their bargain-hunting readers, “second tier club” is no misnomer.

Where the best of traditional publishers set their sights not only on commercial viability but award-quality work, nurturing authors with enduring skills and profound stories to tell, in a climate that is selective (perhaps too selective) and based on the notion that that level of quality and commercial appeal is a rare and valued commodity, self-published authors are advised to, “Crank out loads of books. if you have to write little teeny short ones to get your catalogue pumped up, do that! Don’t worry about covers; your readers don’t give a hoot about artwork. It’s all about genre, easy reads, and low, low prices! And speaking of low prices, don’t even think about selling your books for more than a dollar or two, because readers who do bother with self-published books are too accustomed to bargain-basement prices to spend any more than that. This is the 99¢ Bargain Circus Book Store, where we push quantity over quality every day of the week!! CRANK OUT THAT PRODUCT!!”

I’ll bet good money Donna Tartt, Anthony Doerr, and other quality writers aren’t getting that same message from their publishers. First tier, baby.

Read More on The Huffington Post

The Self-Publishing Juggling Act: How Write AND Market Your Book

Using Creativity to Write and Market a BookWhy Indie Authors Need to Learn to be Jacks of All Trades

Publish a novel and you may think your work is done. But for most authors, the hard work is just beginning. Author Francis Powell published a collection of short stories in April. He shares how he learned to promote his book in creative ways, using some old skills and strategies and a variety of new ones.

I jumped on the book marketing band wagon last May.  Since then I have been learning all manner of news skills, as well as tapping into skills I previously had.  I have been using a lot of my “photo shop” skills, developing images, that are inserted into blog articles or adverts that I have posted on Twitter.  People often remind you, tweets work much better with an image. I am fortunate in that my book is a book of short stories  which include  22 illustrations, that go with the stories, which I also spent many hours laboring over.  I am generally promoting one of my short stories, with adverts/illustrations hoping it will catch someone’s eye and they will buy my book.  The illustrations in my book are all black and white (the cover’s full color) so the adverts I have done are equipped with color, as well as bright eye catching slogans.  I get the impression  that other authors use agencies or stock photos for their images…so I am hoping my original images help my cause.  Other authors seem to go for “slick” images  whereas I am going for artistic… I have had some positive feedback concerning my art work.0334736_l
Being a musician has also been of help. As soon as my book was ready for publishing, my publisher sent me a Book Trailer, he’d pre-prepared…Unfortunately he chose some music, that simply didn’t go with the atmosphere I have created in my book…imagine funky music, for a book that is Dark Fiction. I immediately sent an e mail in protest, and fortunately he immediately agreed that I could send my own music for the Book Trailer.  I sent him a dark gothic sounding piece of music, much more in keeping with my book.

Juggling Act

I have also embarked on a project working with other musicians, getting them to write music inspired by my book.  I have my own YouTube channel, and have also got authors to make videos and talk about their work. It is no good just posting a Book Trailer and hoping for views,  it is a good idea to set up a channel and draw as many viewers into the channel, by constantly adding new content.  Being a video maker is also quite a useful tool.
Since my book has been published, I have written many articles for blogs and not always about my book.  I have written about a news story that has captured my attention. For example recently  there was a dentist who captured the world’s attention, by killing a lion…I put an article about this on my blog, to get new readers and followers. It seemed to be a subject that caught the imagination of many.  New authors have to be strategic, thinking of ways of gaining attention.  Thinking out of the box can be a good idea.

row of balls
Many authors, I imagine, think an author’s life revolves around writing, but I have found  that some of my creative skills have been invaluable in terms of promoting my book.  Rather than using “stock music” for a book trailer or “stock images” for advertising your book or kitting out your blog or website, it is great to use original artistic creations.


Flight of Destiny by Francis Powell

About Francis H. Powell

Author Francis PowellBorn in 1961, in Reading, England Francis Powell attended Art Schools. In 1995, Powell moved to Austria, teaching English while pursuing his varied artistic interests adding music and writing. He currently lives in Paris, writing both prose and poetry.

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Guest Post


Featured Book: Baudelaire’s Revenge, by Bob Van Laerhoven

Baudelaire's Revenge by Bob Van Laerhoven Book ReviewAtmospheric Historical Mystery Tells the Story of Darkness, Debauchery and a Depraved Serial Killer

1870. Paris, France is a city under siege, both literally and figuratively. In the midst of the Franco-Prussian war, it has not yet been invaded by the Prussian army, but as Paris readies itself for the inevitable onslaught, its citizens indulge every imaginable debauchery. Police commissioner Paul Lefevre, who is no stranger to self-indulgence himself, is on the hunt for an uncommonly brutal and inventive serial killer — a killer who leaves scraps of poetry with the corpses of his victims. It is three years after the death of the scandalous poet Charles Baudelaire, yet the very people who tormented him during his lifetime are the ones being murdered. And after each brutal killing, the murderer leaves behind a verse from Baudelaire’s “Les Fleurs du Mal,” all of which deal with themes of evil, eroticism and decadence. Is the killer exacting revenge? Is the controversial poet somehow directing the killings from beyond the grave?

In this sometimes gruesome, always fascinating and uncommonly well-crafted novel of 19th century Paris, author Van Laerhoven does a masterful job of evoking the dark atmosphere and mores of an era. Themes of dissolution, loss of hope, class warfare and the scars that past traumas leave behind make Baudelaire’s Revenge more than just an engrossing mystery. They allow the reader to feel the oppressive atmosphere of the time and to experience the violence and hopelessness of Paris during the mid-19th century. Baudelaire’s Revenge is the winner of the Hercule Poirot Prize for Best Crime Novel and of the USA Best Book Award, and it is not hard to see why. Van Laerhoven manages to weave the stories of real historical figures into a fictional tale that reveals much about the mores and ethos of an era while taking the reader on a fascinating, albeit dark, hunt for a killer.

Baudelaire's Revenge on Amazon

About the Author

Bob Van LaerhovenBob van Laerhoven was born on August 8th 1953 in the sandy soil of Antwerp’s Kempen, where according to the cliché ‘pig-headed clodhoppers’ live. This perhaps explains why he started to write stories at a particularly young age. A number of his stories, set in the future but focusing on social trends and dangers instead of science, were published in English, French, German, Spanish and Slovenian.

Van Laerhoven made his debut as a novelist in 1985 with Night Game.  He quickly became known for his ‘un-Flemish’ style: he writes colorful, kaleidoscopic novels in which the fate of the individual is closely related to broad social transformations. His style slowly evolved in his later novels to embrace more personal themes while continuing to branch out into the world at large. International flair has become his trademark.

During the Bosnian war, Van Laerhoven spent part of 1992 in the besieged city of Sarajevo. Three years later he was working for MSF – Doctors without frontiers – in the Bosnian city of Tuzla during the NATO bombings. At that moment the refugees arrived from the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica. Van Laerhoven was the first writer from the Low Countries to be given the chance to speak to the refugees. His conversations resulted in a travel book Screbrenica. Testimony to a Mass Murder. The book denounces the rape and torture of the Muslim population of this Bosnian-Serbian enclave and is based on first-hand testimonies. He also concludes that mass murders took place, an idea that was questioned at the time but later proven accurate.

Bob van Laerhoven is also a prize-winning author:  in 2007 he won the Hercule Poirot Prize for best suspense novel of the year with his novel Baudelaire’s Revenge. In 2013, the French translation La Vengeance de Baudelaire was published in France and in Canada. Baudelaire’s Revenge won the USA Best Book Award 2014 in the category “mystery/suspense“. Currently, the English translation of another novel – Return to Hiroshima – is finished. and his latest novel The Shadow of the Mole is being translated in English.

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10 Obscure Literary Facts for Book Lovers

Literary Trivia about Famous Books and Authors

Ten Things You Don’t Know About Your Favorite Books and Authors

via Thought Catalog

1. Vladimir Nabokov’s classic novel Lolita was turned down by 5 publishers. So controversial was the subject matter (in which an adult man falls obsessively in love with a tween girl) that Nabokov himself planned to publish it under a pseudonym. But the name on the front cover, it turned out, was the least of Nabokov’s problems. Though publishers Viking, Simon & Schuster, New Directions, Farrar, Straus, and Doubleday all agreed the manuscript for Lolita had the makings of a masterpiece, none were brave enough to take on the public uproar that might ensue once readers got a look at the finished book.
lolita

Nabokov finally convinced a French publisher of dubious reputation, Olympia Press, to print his tragicomic ode to American mores, inappropriate love, and obsession. When it first appeared in 1955, Lolita met with little public condemnation and, by 1958, became the first novel since Gone with the Wind to sell 100,000 copies in its first three weeks. It is now widely considered one of the greatest books of all time and appears on “best of” lists like Time Magazine’s 10 Greatest Books of All Time, and Modern Library’s 100 Greatest Novels.

2. Leonard Cohen’s best known song, “Alexandra Leaving” is directly adapted from a poem written in Greek. C.P. Cavafy’s 1911 poem, “The God Abandons Anthony.” It’s about the ancient Roman general Marc Antony’s final moments in the city of Alexandria, which he had conquered and ruled and which he is about to lose. As he comes to the realization that his life is ending, he also realizes that his favorite god, Bacchus, has left him. Cohen adapted the poem by turning Alexandria, Egypt into a woman named Alexandra who is leaving her lover.

Many of the themes and lines in Cohen’s song are either associative with the poem or taken directly from it. Cohen’s line “As someone long prepared for this to happen, Go firmly to the window. Drink it in.” comes from the poem’s lines “approach the window with firm step, and with emotion, but not with the entreaties and complaints of the coward”. The overall mood of both the poem and song is one of bravery and resignation at a great loss.

3. Ray Bradbury, best known for science fiction novels, wrote the 1956 screenplay for the movie version of Moby Dick. Bradbury was not generally a fan of writing screenplays, but he WAS a fan of the film’s director, moby_dick_belgian_movie_poster_2aJohn Huston and so agreed to give the script for one of the great American novels a shot. Bradbury spent 8 months working on it in Ireland, watched by the notoriously difficult Huston. At some point he found himself so immersed in the story that he felt as though he was author Herman Mellville. As Bradbury tells it: “I got out of bed one morning in London, looked in the mirror, and said, ‘I am Herman Melville!’ I sat down at the typewriter, and in eight hours of passionate, red-hot writing, I finished the screenplay of Moby Dick, and I ran across London, I threw the script in John Huston’s lap, and said, ‘There! It’s done!’ He read it and said, ‘My god, what happened?’ I said, ‘behold: Herman Melville.” The Bradbury Script was recently made available for sale in bookstores and on Amazon.

4. Beloved children’s author Roald Dahl not only wrote James and the Giant Peach and Matilda, but he wrote the screenplay for a James Bond movie. Believe it or not, Dahl took over from screenwriter Harold Jack Bloom and finished the script for 1967’s You Only Live Twice. Dahl also made an attempt at scripting the movie version of his own Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but had difficulty meeting deadlines. The movie was eventually given to a different writer and produced as Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

5. The Best-selling novel of all time is Cervantes’ Don Quixote. The early 17th-century classic has sold over 500,000 copies…and counting. A Tale of don-quixote-picassoTwo Cities, by Charles Dickens, comes in as the second best-selling novel of all time, with somewhere over 200,000 copies sold. In the non-novel category (some call them fiction, some call them truth and I’m not touching that argument), The Bible, The Qur’an, and Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung are bestsellers.

READ THE OTHER 5 ON THOUGHT CATALOG