openculture.comA 26-Hour Playlist Featuring Music from Haruki Murakami’s Latest Novel, Killing CommendatoreWe know well the role music plays in the work of prolific Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami. We’ve previously featured his passion for jazz, his first love. He began as a jazz club owner in Tokyo, and he has written two collections of essays titled Portrait in Jazz and Portrait in Jazz 2.
openculture.comSci-Fi Author J.G. Ballard Predicts the Rise of Social Media (1977)Say you were a fan of Steven Spielberg’s moving coming-of-age drama Empire of the Sun, set in a Japanese internment camp during World War II and starring a young Christian Bale. Say you read the autobiographical novel on which that film is based, written by one J.G. Ballard.
openculture.comWhy You Should Read One Hundred Years of Solitude: An Animated Video Makes the CaseMaybe we read some celebrated literary works the way we eat kale or quinoa—you don’t exactly love it but they say it’s, like, a superfood. Not so Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. When I first started reading the novel, I couldn’t stop.
openculture.comGustave Doré’s Exquisite Engravings of Cervantes’ Don QuixoteGustave Doré created illustrations for many great works, including The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Paradise Lost, The Divine Comedy, Poe’s The Raven, and many other famous works of literature. But his Don Quixote may be the literary commission for which he’s best remembered.
openculture.comDonald Duck Wants You to Pay Your Taxes (1943)During World War II, some of the greatest living filmmakers put aside their commercial aspirations and directed propaganda films for the Allies. Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, John Ford, John Huston – they all made a cinematic contribution to the war effort.
openculture.comStephen King’s 20 Rules for WritersImage by the USO, via Flickr Commons In one of my favorite Stephen King interviews, for The Atlantic, he talks at length about the vital importance of a good opening line. “There are all sorts of theories,” he says, “it’s a tricky thing.” “But there’s one thing” he’s sure about: “An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story.
openculture.comNapoleon’s Kindle: See the Miniaturized Traveling Library He Took on Military CampaignsEvery piece of technology has a precedent. Most have several different types of precedents. You've probably used (and may well own) an eBook reader, for instance, but what would have afforded you a selection of reading material two or three centuries ago?
openculture.com“Tsundoku,” the Japanese Word for the New Books That Pile Up on Our Shelves, Should Enter the English LanguageThere are some words out there that are brilliantly evocative and at the same time impossible to fully translate. Yiddish has the word shlimazl, which basically means a perpetually unlucky person. German has the word Backpfeifengesicht, which roughly means a face that is badly in need of a fist.6
openculture.comWhat Makes Us Human?: Chomsky, Locke & Marx Introduced by New Animated Videos from the BBCWhen Plato defined humans as two-legged animals without feathers, I suspect he was only half serious. Or if he was as humorless as some suppose, his antagonist Diogenes the Cynic certainly picked up on the joke, pointing out that the description sounds pretty much like a plucked chicken.1