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url 2014-03-19 06:07
San Francisco Chronicle: The Literary City

An interactive map of San Francisco Bay Area literary references, history, and places.

 

I wonder if there are similar maps for other major cities, like Chicago or New York or London.  Though some of them might get a bit crowded, given all the possible content.

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review 2013-05-23 00:00
Literary Hoaxes: An Eye-Opening History of Famous Frauds - Melissa Katsoulis This seems to be a different edition of [b:Telling Tales: A History Of Literary Hoaxes|6763621|Telling Tales A History Of Literary Hoaxes|Melissa Katsoulis|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347420450s/6763621.jpg|6961460], from a different publisher.

I'm not exactly sure why I'm so fascinated by literary hoaxes. Well, hoaxes of all stripes, really. Obviously, I'm not the only one. Look at how many there are on Wikipedia! So this was a must-read book for me. Fortunately for Katsoulis, her subject matter is going to keep me riveted no matter what, because the writing honestly wasn't that great. That said, I'd still recommend this book, because it's just so interesting. Sure, you could probably get much of the same information off of Wikipedia, but there's actually more detail in most of the entries in the book than in the corresponding Wikipedia articles.

Each entry is roughly ten pages long, some longer and some shorter, and give a fairly complete idea of the work in question, how and why it was written, and how the hoax came to light. Not every literary hoax in the world is included, by far, and most of the ones that Katsoulis chose are particularly interesting examples. The most fun hoax was definitely I, Libertine, a collective prank by the host and listeners of a radio show that eventually became reality. And the prize for sheer chutzpah goes to Clifford Irving, who claimed to have helped Howard Hughes write his autobiography while Hughes was still alive.

This was just so much fun for me to read. There's a wide range of motives and reactions on display, from Irving's sheer greed to pranks to motives that are harder to explain and understand. A few of the stories might not be, strictly speaking, hoaxes. I'm not sure if Mark Twain intended for anyone to buy those absurd news stories, and Fern Gravel is a fairly straightforward example of an author using a pen name to for writing outside his normal work. Those, and a few others like them, probably don't belong in the book. But I can't protest too much, because I really enjoyed reading them.
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review 2013-05-16 00:00
Famous Drownings in Literary History: Essays on 21st-Century Jewishness
Famous Drownings in Literary History: Essays on 21st-Century Jewishness - Kevin Haworth Another great offering from CCLaP!I'm a curious girl. It's one of the reasons why I love to read. Information please! Besides the fact that this is wonderfully written it also satisfied my WANT TO KNOW ALL THE THINGS personality. When I find myself researching the topics brought up in a book I know it's a winner. While reading this I whipped out my phone and started hunting for more information about the Dreyfus Affair. Not long after that I was reading all that I could find on the Hawks Nest Tunnel Disaster.Famous Drawings in Literary History is intelligent, moving, and humorous. An admirable collection of essays, this is a book that I highly recommend.
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review 2013-01-14 00:00
Lady Godiva: A Literary History of the Legend - Daniel Donoghue Very detailed look at the development of the legend. The book includes not only an analysis of the legend, but also a look at women during pre and post Conquest England.
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review 2012-06-10 00:00
Budapest: A Cultural and Literary History (Cities of the Imagination)
Budapest: A Cultural and Literary History (Cities of the Imagination) - Dent;Bob This is a fantastic first book to read if preparing a visit to Budapest. It is a mix between a guidebook and an introduction to the history and literary traditions of Hungary. From this book one can proceed on the one hand onto a proper guidebook for further practicalities of the places one has decided to visit. And on the other to more complete historical accounts and literary works.It has chapters on its Baths, its Food, its Music (classical and folk), its Cafés, but also on its Topography, Heroes, and overall Identity.Although Dent has to remain on somewhat a superficial level on his account of the History of the city, he has a good grasp of the myth-making ability of the Magyars regarding their past. His discussion on how the Jews were treated somewhat differently, at first, during Nazi times, I found particularly fascinating. The Jewish population had assimilated to a much greater degree than in other central European countries because the Magyar minority needed a weightier representation versus the other, more oppressed, minorities such as the Romanians, Croatians etc…. The migrant Jews, with their abilities to organize urban centers, and who became very nationalistic, were a very welcome community for the more agrarian Hungarians. After the frontiers were redrawn with the Trianon Treaty in 1920, their presence became more suspect and nastiness followed.I have also discovered more writers that I should explore, such as Magda Denes (I plan to read Castles Burning: A Child's Life in War), Tibor Déry etc. I also enjoyed hearing more on its classical music scene, with not only Béla Bartok but also Zoltán Kodály (Bela Bartok and Turn-Of-The-Century Budapest is another book for my TR list).Anyway, this was exciting reading, and I have now an exciting trip ahead of me.
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