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  • Madina Papadopoulos 5:00 pm on 2017/12/07 Permalink
    Tags: beans: a history, bee wilson, consider the fork: a history of how we cook and eat, danny meyer, how carrots won the trojan war: curious (but true) stories of common vegetables, hungry for history, ken albala, mark kurlansky, paul freedman, Random Weird and Wonderful, rebecca rupp, , ten restaurants that changed america   

    5 Food Books for History Buffs 

    Food falls under the category of both need and a want, a necessity and a pleasure, an essential part of human existence and a delight. This duality gives it depth, and beyond warming a hungry belly or enticing an experienced palate, it shapes and is shaped by society, economics, politics, and simply put, history. Whether enjoying your desk lunch or savoring a long brunch, learn a bit about the history of food through these five satiating books.

    Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, by Bee Wilson
    When foodies discuss their favorite dishes and chefs, they tend to forget the silent guest at every meal: the eating utensil. But food writer Bee Wilson is here to remind us in beautifully detailed descriptions and history just how important forks are. Looking at how humans first began to use utensils, how those tools evolved, and in turn, how they affected food, Wilson takes an in-depth look at metal forks, wooden spoons, chopsticks, and their friends. After reading Consider the Fork, eaters might find a newfound appreciation when loading the dishwasher.

    Salt: A World History, by Mark Kurlansky
    As a journalist, children’s author, translator, and writer of both fiction and non-fiction, one wonders if Mark Kurlansky makes time to eat, or just to write about food and win James Beard awards. In his book, Salt: A World History, Kurlansky awes readers by delineating how this rock has had an immeasurable effect on how humans consume food. The writing style is as captivating as the content, and bibliophiles trapped in the pages of this book will be unwilling to “pass the salt” till they’ve read it cover to cover.

    Beans: A History, by Ken Albala
    Eminent food historian and Professor of History at University of the Pacific, Ken Albala, has written copious amounts of texts on the subject of culinary history. With a plant-based movement taking root in the food world, it is intriguing to take a look at the history of the bean. Looking at societies and change through the lens of this food, Albala tells captivating tales of cuisines and culture.

    How Carrots Won the Trojan War: Curious (but True) Stories of Common Vegetables, by Rebecca Rupp
    For those looking for a grab-and-go food history text, look no further than How Carrots Won the Trojan War: Curious (but True) Stories of Common Vegetables, by Rebecca Rupp. Rupp’s portfolio ranges from historical non-fiction to children’s fiction, which gives her writing style a fun and accessible voice. In this book, Rupp looks at different periods in history, sharing anecdotes of how a single food had an interesting role to play, like why Boston is nicknamed “Bean Town” or as the title states, carrots’ fascinating role in the outcome of the Trojan War.

    Ten Restaurants That Changed America, by Paul Freedman
    Yale Professor Paul Freedman’s 2016 book, Ten Restaurants That Changed America, takes an analytical yet entertaining look at restaurant history and culture in the United States. America has long been called a melting pot, and that metaphor works particularly well when describing its cuisine. The book bounces around different regions and time periods, like soul food from Sylvia’s in Harlem (1962), French-Creole gastronomy by Antoine’s in New Orleans (1840), and the California cuisine of Chez Panisse in San Francisco (1971). Through examining ten eateries, Freedman delineates how restaurant culture has impacted not only the way American people eat, but also how they affect society, economy, culture, and politics.

    What are your favorite food history books?

    The post 5 Food Books for History Buffs appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 3:00 pm on 2017/10/04 Permalink
    Tags: , , answered prayers, , anthony trollope, , , , , , , , , , j. g. ballard, , joan weigall, , , , , , , Random Weird and Wonderful, , the adventures of huckleberry finn, the macdermots of ballycloran, , , , , through the looking glass, , why I want to f*ck ronald reagan   

    15 of the Most Infamous Deleted Chapters in History 

    Revision is a vital aspect of creation; all authors delete, re-write, and occasionally burn entire manuscripts with tears streaming down their faces. Most of the time, deleted chapters occur so early in the writing process that they’re not relevant—or interesting. They’re just the cost of doing literary business. Sometimes, though, the story behind excised material is almost as interesting as the finished version of the book it comes from. The fifteen chapters listed here didn’t make it into the published version of the book—but that hasn’t stopped them from being part of the conversation.

    Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
    Heller’s classic 1961 novel, one of the funniest, darkest, and most complex ever written, took about eight years to write—and remains the defining work of Heller’s career. Put simply, if you’re discussing Joseph Heller, you’re discussing Catch-22, and even Heller seemed to accept this towards the end of his life. Much of his late output was directly connected to his first novel, and in 2003 he published the collection Catch as Catch Can which contained two deleted chapters from Catch-22: “Love, Dad” and “Yossarian Survives” (both of which had been previously published). The chapters provide some background on Nately and Yossarian while offering some of Heller’s most savage mockery of the military—and both chapters work perfectly well as standalone stories, making them perhaps the rare examples of chapters deleted from books because they were too good.

    Dracula, by Bram Stoker
    Stoker’s novel is one of the most influential in all of history, but it originally ended a bit differently from the version you’re familiar with. A deleted chapter detailed Dracula’s castle literally falling apart as he dies. It’s not very long—a grace note, really—and there are several theories as to why Stoker excised it very close to its publication. Some people think he might have been envisioning a sequel and wanted to hedge his bets. Others think he might have worried about being accused of stealing the concept from Edgar Allan Poe. Whatever the reason, reading the chapter does change the tone of the novel just enough to make it significant.

    The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
    Wilde’s only novel originally contained a great deal of homosexual imagery, sexual allusions, and other edgy stuff that made his publisher’s head explode. So his editor forced him to cut a great deal of this “objectionable” material. Even so, the book created a stir upon publication, as it still contained passages that outraged a lot of people, and so Wilde revised the book a second time in an effort to make it acceptable. Wilde’s reward was a novel everyone is still reading and, of course, a few years in jail simply for being a homosexual. In 2011 the uncensored version of the book was finally published with the deleted chapters restored, so you can now read the book in all its dirty glory.

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl
    In the early versions of Dahl’s beloved book there were actually eight kids brought into Wonka’s factory, and they had some different adventures—including the original chapter 5, which brings the children and their parents into the Vanilla Fudge Room, where a literal mountain of fudge is worked on by Wonka’s servants with picks and hammers, sending boulders of fudge down to the floor where they’re grabbed by cranes and sent on wagons into a hole in the wall. Sounds delightful until two of the kids and their parents ignore Wonka’s warnings and ride the wagons to what they think will be fudge heaven. Instead, Wonka reveals that the fudge is tipped out of the wagons into a machine that pounds it thin then chops it up. Dahl’s publisher thought this was a bit too nasty for kids, and so the chapter was deleted and didn’t see the light of day until 2014.

    The Martian, by Andy Weir
    The Martian by Andy Weir went through a lot of revision. The original version posted on Weir’s website—still available online if you know where to look—is very different from the final version. A few years ago Weir went on Reddit for an unannounced, secret “Ask Me Anything” session and revealed the original epilogue of the story, which featured Mark Watney cursing at a child who asks him if he’d return to Mars if they asked him. It’s actually kind of a delightful ending, and one we wish they would have included in the movie.

    Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
    The original ending of Dickens’ famous novel was kind of dark and sad: Pip and Estella meet years after the events of the novel, but instead of a bittersweet moment implying a future for the two, both are simply bitter, and they part on savage terms. Dickens liked this ending because he thought it was unexpected and original, but his Beta Readers disagreed, so he changed the chapter to the version we’re all familiar with. After publication he went back and revised the final line, coming up with the perfect “I saw no shadow of another parting from her.”

    Why I Want to F*ck Ronald Reagan, by J. G. Ballard
    In the late 1960s, Ronald Reagan was something new: one of the first “media politicians” who knew that how you said something was more important than what you said, as well as one of the first “far right” politicians in mainstream politics. Although a decade and a half from the presidency, he made an impact that J.G. Ballard found interesting, and he wrote a short work styled as an academic paper describing bizarre experiments to measure Reagan’s sexual appeal. It was meant to be challenging and confrontational—and it sure was. It was originally included in Ballard’s collection The Atrocity Exhibition, but the American publisher of the book actually destroyed the entire printing rather than let it loose on the country. Let that sink in: the publisher destroyed every copy of the book rather than publish this. If there’s a better reason to read it, we’re unaware.

    A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
    It’s well-known that the last chapter of Burgess’ novel was deleted before it was published in the United States; the publisher thought the “softer” ending in which Alex starts to mature and see that his behavior in the earlier portions of the book was wrong would turn off American readers. Indeed, many still prefer the way the book ended in the truncated version, which is also the beat Stanley Kubrick’s classic film version ends on: Alex dreaming of violence, thinking “I was cured all right.”

    The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
    Wells’ novel about a man who invents a time machine established not just one of the sturdiest sci-fi tropes of all time, but a template for the modern speculative novel. Wells’ publisher insisted he add a section showing mankind’s ultimate evolutionary fate, and Wells obliged under protest, writing a chapter in which the time traveler escapes the Morlocks by traveling into the distant future, where he encounters small mammals which he determines are the descendants of humanity. Wells never liked it and had it removed as soon as he was able, and while the story, which you can read under the standalone title “The Grey Man,” is interesting, the book is much better without it.

    Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll
    Lewis Carroll’s sequel to Alice in Wonderland is more Alice than Alice in many ways. The illustrator working on the book sent Carroll a note saying he wasn’t inspired by the “wasp chapter”, and suggested none-too-subtly that if Carroll were looking to cut the book down a bit, the Wasp part would be the place to start. No one knew what he was referring to, however—until 1976 when the missing “Wasp in a Wig” chapter was put up for auction. One problem, however: no one has ever been able to verify that this was actually written by Carroll. Reading it, the reason people have doubts is pretty clear: it’s awful. Either Carroll cut the one example of bad writing he ever managed…or he didn’t write it.

    Picnic at Hanging Rock, by Joan Weigall
    Weigall’s 1967 novel was a sensation at the time, despite the fact that it literally had no ending. The story of college students who disappear while visiting Hanging Rock in Australia was originally ended with a pretty crazy explanation of everything that happened, but Weigall’s publisher suggested the book might do better without the, um, crazy part and so the final chapter was deleted (you can read it here if you want), meaning that the story just stops, and no explanation is offered at all for the mystery. This actually fueled the book’s success, making it into a “must read” at the time. If the Internet had existed in 1967, this book would have broken it.

    The MacDermots of Ballycloran, by Anthony Trollope
    Trollope had very low expectations for his first novel, and these were borne out when it didn’t do very well. Although the novel has gained in reputation since its initial lackluster publication, you have to be careful to get the original 1847 version, because Trollope later hacked his book to death in an effort to…improve it, we guess? He deleted three chapters and changed a great deal of what makes the original novel interesting (mainly the Irish dialects, politics, and the character flaws). The revised version isn’t nearly as good, and the three missing chapters are, ironically, some of the best writing in the book.

    Answered Prayers, by Truman Capote
    Capote’s transformation from brilliant writer to alcoholic gadfly took about twenty years, and in that time he continuously accepted advances and signed contracts for Answered Prayers, a novel he never got around to finishing. Four chapters were published in magazines (the first, “La Côte Basque 1965,” was so obviously based on his real-life friends and acquaintances Capote pretty much lost every friend he had) and they’re pretty hefty, amounting to a novel’s worth of text if put together. But several other chapters have been referenced in Capote’s correspondence—and he claimed he’d written the final chapter first so he’d know where he was going—that have yet to turn up anywhere.

    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
    Twain, never one to be typical, wasn’t satisfied to delete a mere chapter, instead opting to delete 665 manuscript pages, essentially an entire shadow version of his all-time classic novel. Twain paused work on the book for three years, and scholars have long argued over where exactly he broke off and what he changed when he returned to the book. The deleted chapters contain plenty of material not present in the final book, and have proved invaluable in trying to determine Twain’s intentions and process.

    Persuasion, by Jane Austen
    Austen was one of the most meticulous writers of all time, and put a lot of effort into revising her novels. Persuasion is one of the few in which we can compare early drafts to see how the novel developed, and Austen’s deleted chapters show a ruthless approach to improving the pacing of the plot and the creation of her characters. Assembling earlier versions of the novel show what her original inspiration was, how her ideas changed as she worked, and cast some light on the sausage-making underneath the charming and compelling narratives Austen created.

    Did we miss any famous deleted chapters?

    The post 15 of the Most Infamous Deleted Chapters in History appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Brian Boone 4:00 pm on 2017/01/13 Permalink
    Tags: Random Weird and Wonderful   

    Lesser-Known Series by 5 Authors Best Known For Hugely Popular Series 

    While there are have been plenty of hugely popular series in recent years—Fifty Shades of Grey, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Divergent come to mindthe series is also a hallmark of literary history. Sherlock Holmes! Nancy Drew! The Hardy Boys! Jeeves and Wooster! Readers just can’t get enough of the same good characters in new situations. Some authors are masters creating the kinds of expansive worlds and characters that can fill an entire series…and many have done it more than once. These five writers have achieved enormous fame thanks to one series in particular—but fans of that particular series should definitely check out their lesser-known but still terrific works.

    The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis
    Lewis is already known for two separate but similar literary tracks: He wrote the epic, all-time classic, seven-part fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia. But as that was an influential and pioneering work in the genre that would one day include everything from The Lord of the Rings to the Game of Thrones novels, it was also laced with religious allusions; Lewis was deeply religious. To that end, he also wrote apologetics, or academic arguments in favor of the tenets of his Christian faith, including Mere Christianity and The Problem of Pain. But Lewis also had another series that didn’t have much religious content at all. In the 1930s and 1940s, Lewis wrote “The Space Trilogy”: rip-roaring science fiction novels set mostly on other planets. Out of the Silent Planet is about earthling Dr. Elwin Ransom’s trip to Mars, where he learns that there’s life elsewhere in the Solar System, and they’re allied together (against Earth it would seem). Lewis followed it up with Perelandra, in which Ransom explores the wilds of Venus, and That Hideous Strength. It was written in 1945, so you’ll have to forgive the fearful, World War II-era allegory which is a little too on the nose: it’s about the good people of Earth trying to resist the evil beings planning to conquer and destroy the planet.

    The Secret Circle, by L.J. Smith
    While it’s had its moments of overwhelming cultural dominance, vampire fiction has been popular for more than a century. Before the most recent vampire craze, Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight, the major bloodsucker books for young readers came from the mind of L.J. Smith. In 1991 and 1992, Smith published four novels in The Vampire Diaries series, focusing on the love between a human girl named Elena and a vampire guy named Stefan. It was the basis for The Vampire Diaries TV series, which premiered on the CW in 2009, the same year Smith began publishing a second, sequel trilogy of novels called The Return. Both the original books and Vampire Diaries TV series spurred renewed interest in other Smith projects. Immediately after writing the first three Vampire novels, Smith started writing a series called The Secret Circle. The books were titled The Initiation, The Captive, and The Power. In these, Smith swapped out the teenage vampires for an exploration of the lives of teenage witches. A TV adaptation aired during the 2011-12 season.

    The Underland Chronicles, by Suzanne Collins
    Collins is best known for The Hunger Games, a trilogy of massively popular books set in a future American dystopia in which children from around the country fight to the death to atone for the sins of revolutionaries past. But this series was not Collins’ first foray into writing. She’s a former TV writer, who penned scripts for Clarissa Explains It All and Wow! Wow! Wubbzy, along with some other YA sci-fi titles. Published in the 2000s just a few years before The Hunger Games, Collins wrote five entries in The Underland Chronicles. These wildly imaginative sci-fi/fantasy novels are about an 11-year-boy named Gregor who has adventures in a centuries-old subterranean wonderland…that sits below New York City.

    The Blandings Castle Saga, by P.G. Wodehouse
    Wodehouse was an incredibly prolific author. Between 1915 and 1974 (a stunningly long period of time), he wrote 35 short stories and 11 novels starring his most famous creations: Jeeves and Wooster, the brilliant and crafty butler who oversees the life of his dim-witted and wealthy charge, respectively. They’re classics of comic prose, in that most humor narratives are influenced by Jeeves and Wooster, whether their authors are aware of it or not, as Wodehouse was a master of the form. Somehow, he found time for other work. In addition to scores of crime fiction, Wodehouse created the series of loosely connected characters and situations known as the Blandings Castle Saga. The adventures of the various residents, caretakers, and visitors to the sprawling and silly estate in the Shropshire countryside are recounted in nine short stories and 11 novels. The castle is crumbling, its residents fools—classic Wodehouse, in other words.

    Modern Faerie Tales, by Holly Black
    Amidst the boom of well-written magical fantasy novels for young readers that happened in the wake of the Harry Potter phenomenon was the The Spiderwick Chronicles. Written by Holly Black with art by Toni DiTerlizzi, the five-book series concerns three kids who move into the crumbling Spiderwick Estate in rural Maine…and all of the magical creatures they meet in the house and surrounding wilderness, some good, some evil. But Black is just meant to tell multiple-part epic tales of wonder and whimsy, because she’s written several other series. Just before the first book of The Spiderwick Chronicles was published in 2003, Black began work on Tithe, the first of her Modern Faerie Tales trilogy, what she’s called a “suburban fantasy” about faeries and changelings. Valiant and Ironside soon followed.

    How many of these lesser-known series have you read?

    The post Lesser-Known Series by 5 Authors Best Known For Hugely Popular Series appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Brian Boone 3:00 pm on 2016/11/14 Permalink
    Tags: Random Weird and Wonderful, truth and fiction   

    6 of the Best Cameos by Real People in Works of Fiction 

    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

    Fiction is fiction and nonfiction is nonfiction, and in case you get those mixed up, fiction is the “not real one” and nonfiction is “the real one.” Those lines can get blurred, however, when a real-life person from the real world shows up for a little while in what is otherwise a not-true story. It’s just like when an actor unexpectedly shows up for a second in a movie or a TV show! Here are some novels in which actual people made memorable cameos.

    Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, by Helen Fielding
    Fielding’s hugely successful Bridget Jones’ s Diary tapped into the very real feelings of a lot of people—perhaps most keenly in how its title character had a huge crush on actor Colin Firth based on his role as Mr. Darcy in the BBC’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. That crush definitely influences Bridget’s meeting and falling in love with a man named Mark Darcy. In the film adaptation of Bridget Jones’s Diary, Mark Darcy was portrayed by…Colin Firth. Things get a bit more complicated in the next book in the series, The Edge of Reason, wherein Jones, a writer lands an interview with…Colin Firth.

    Gump and Co., by Winston Groom
    The sequel to the 1985 novel Forrest Gump continues where the last one left off, with Forrest still accidentally creating or being witness to major events in world history. In Gump and Co., he invents New Coke, crashes the Exxon Valdez, and meets lots of real people, including would-be presidential assassin John Hinckley, Jr., Ivan Boesky, Bill Clinton, and a young actor filming a movie in new York City called Big. That’s Tom Hanks, of course, who portrayed Forrest Gump in the 1994 adaptation of Forrest Gump.

    Funny Girl, by Nick Hornby
    Hornsby’s latest novel is set in the world of 1960s British television. Barbara Parker wins a beauty contest in her dreary hometown, but what she really wants to be is a comic actress. A devotee of Lucille Ball, she changes her name to Sophie Straw and becomes a star after starring in a sitcom about a newlywed couple. At one point, she gets to meet Ball. And while the saying goes that one should never meet their idols, it goes well for Parker/Straw—Ball is a fan.

    The Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientists, by Gideon Defoe
    Defoe’s series of The Pirates! novellas are ostensibly children’s books (and were the basis of the 2012 stop-motion animation film The Pirates! Band of Misfits), but have enough naughty material in them (they are about pirates after all) that they are just as suited to silly adults. As is the case with the books’ many historical and cultural references. Each of Defoe’s five Pirates! books features a crew of inept pirates stumbling into interactions with real historical figures. The adventures they get into with these actual people are fictional, however. Well, probably. For example, Charles Dickens was likely never thrown out of London by his scientific rival and needed the assistance of pirates to help him and his companion Mister Bobo (a super-intelligent chimpanzee) return to everyone’s good graces.

    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon
    This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Michael Chabon is an epic tale of adventure about the Golden Age of comic books, and the influence of European immigrants on this most definitive of American art forms. While there are many stand-ins for real-life comic book industry and entertainment figures, a couple of actual historical figures do appear under their real names. One of them, however randomly, is 20th century surrealist artist Salvador Dali. Josef Kavalier actually meets him, and saves the artist from asphyxiation when he puts on a diving suit at a fancy New York City party.

    Crash, by J.G. Ballard
    While an author of tremendous and varied talents—he wrote the World War II epic Empire of the Sun, the bizarre sci-fi tale Super-Cannes, and the dark site High-RiseBallard is probably most famous for his 1973 novel Crash. It’s about a group of people who become sexually aroused by both setting up and participating in car accidents. The book is notable for two cameos. The first is the author himself. The narrator is “James Ballard,” and he tells of his interactions with a creepy guy named Robert Vaughan (who is a former TV star, but not the Robert Vaughn who starred on The Man from U.N.C.L.E.). Vaughn is the leader of a group that loves to re-enact famous car crashes that killed celebrities. Vaughan’s personal sexual fantasy is to die in a collision with a car carrying Elizabeth Taylor. (Spoiler alert: Vaughan gets his wish, but only partially—days after watching Taylor film a car crash sequence in a movie, he tries to crash his car into her limousine, but misses and hits a bus instead.)

    What’s your favorite cameo by a real person in a fictional work?

    The post 6 of the Best Cameos by Real People in Works of Fiction appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Ginni Chen 2:00 pm on 2016/06/28 Permalink
    Tags: , odd author proclivities, Random Weird and Wonderful, scribble scribble   

    10 Surprising Surfaces Famous Writers Have Written On 

    Summer’s the time to step away from your computer and step outdoors, but that doesn’t mean your writerly pursuits need to be put on hold. Just because you’re unplugged doesn’t mean you’re unproductive or unprepared when literary inspiration strikes. In fact, inspiration is far more likely to strike if you unplug, head outdoors, and try something new.

    In the spirit of summer and unplugging from your computer, we took a look at all the interesting ways that writers have scribbled down their thoughts while away from their desk. These days, everyone has their phone on them, but once upon a time, you had to improvise whenever a thought popped into your head.

    Here are some unexpected objects that famous writers have written on. Take a look and get inspired to work on your magnum opus using anything and everything!

    1. An Airplane Motion Sickness Bag
    I bet you never thought you could compose your novel during takeoff and landing! J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, said that she once wrote on an (empty) airplane sick bag. She generally prefers writing with a black pen on a notepad, but hey, if you’re stuck in the air with your tray table up, you need to get creative!

    2. Index Cards
    Vladimir Nabokov famously wrote his novels on index cards so that he could easily move them around in whatever order he pleased. He kept empty cards under his pillow for nocturnal moments of inspiration and he found them great for traveling too. In fact, Nabokov wrote Lolita on index cards during road trips across the U.S. with his wife and son.

    3. Cardboard and Crayon
    Irish post-modern writer James Joyce had some unusual writerly habits, largely because of his poor eyesight. For much of his later works, including parts of Finnegan’s Wake, Joyce scrawled on large pieces of cardboard in bright red crayon so that he could more easily see his own writing.

    4. Scrap paper
    Pulitzer-prize winning poet Wallace Stevens liked to compose his poems while out on long walks in the morning or during his lunch hour. While walking, Stevens would jot down lines on scraps of paper in his pockets. Upon arriving at his office, he would hand the bits of paper to his secretary to type up.

    5. Scrolls
    Edgar Allan Poe apparently had a taste for theatrical flair, not just in his stories but in his writing process. His habit was to create large scrolls by affixing individual sheets of paper together, end to end, with sealing wax.

    6. Book Margins
    Mark Twain liked to write in the margins of great literary works that were part of his own personal library. He scratched his literary edits into books whenever he thought they could be better written, and his notes were often hilariously scathing. Sure, Twain wasn’t composing literature so much as critiquing it, but it just goes to show that you can’t stop a writer from writing on anything.

    7. Butcher Paper
    It’s cheap, it’s abundant, and it never seems to run out! Butcher paper seems like the ideal way to lay out your novel when you’re in the writing zone. Science fiction writer Ray Bradbury got an early start to his literary career by writing on butcher paper when he was eleven years old.

    8. Napkins
    When all else fails, you can always find a cocktail napkin to write on! While drinking at the Algonquin Hotel, Ernest Hemingway bet his literary friends that he could write a story with a beginning, a middle and an end in just six words. He scribbled onto a napkin, “For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn,” passed it around the table, and took home his winnings.

    9. The Back of a Receipt
    They say that you should always keep your receipts, but I’ve never actually found a good use for them until now. Comedian, actor, and writer W.C. Fields once scribbled down a plot idea on the back of a grocery bill in a pinch. He subsequently sold the story to Universal Studios for a hefty $25,000. Think of all the writing you could do on back of your CVS receipt and what that might be worth one day!

    10. The Walls
    If you’ve completely run out of any paper materials at all, you can take a page out of William Faulkner and write on the walls. Faulkner wrote the outline for A Fable on the walls of his home in Mississippi. His wife was none too pleased, so keep that in mind before you try scribbling on the walls.

    What odd objects have you used to jot down ideas on the fly?

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