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Of the ambiguous ending, Flynn writes, “When people tell me how much they hated the ending--and they do this often and remorselessly!--I ask what they wanted to happen (I’m a glutton for punishment). The usual answer is something like ‘I wanted justice!’ What about this book would possibly make you believe there would be justice? I always like an open ending anyway--it encourages unease and it encourages imagination. And so, Amy style, that is my last word on the subject. (Or is it?)”
In Gladwell’s recent annotation of his 2000 big-think best seller, he admits he hadn’t read the book in more than 15 years--and he’s rather appalled by some of the dated references. Of tobacco companies, he now writes, “We vastly overestimated the psychological power of Big Tobacco. They marketed a powerful drug. But they weren’t all that clever.”
Through her annotations, Egan brings readers deep into the creative process for her award-winning multimedia novel. Of the final chapter, she writes, “I wrote this chapter fairly early, and struggled mightily with it, thinking it would have to come first in the book. When I realized it was the last chapter, I knew for the first time, for sure, that I had a book.”
Hosseini is often critical of his work, writing of a particular scene, “Again, heavy-handed.” He also includes lovely little line drawings throughout.
Says Roth: “On my re-reading ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’ at 80, I am shocked and pleased--shocked that I could have been so reckless, pleased that I should have been so reckless...” Cue explicit masturbation scene.
It seems Lahiri didn’t want to revisit the text in English. Instead, she crosses out various passages and rewrites them in Italian (in which she’s apparently fluent).
Is there anyone cooler than Patti Smith? To this first-edition book she adds “a handful of thoughts, some poems and three [annotated] pictures.” She also leaves a note for the book’s future owner. (How badly does that make you want to place a bid?)
Eric Carle on the cover: “If I had to change anything, I would make my name bigger.” Bless.
For a true bibliophile, nothing is more special than a first-edition copy of a beloved book. (Totally fine if that book is Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls.)
The only thing that’s slightly better? A first-edition book that’s annotated by the author.
Enter First Editions, Second Thoughts, a collaboration between the PEN American Center and Christie’s to auction off first-edition books that have been lovingly reread and annotated by their writers. Think a copy of The Tipping Point in which Malcolm Gladwell points out all of his outdated references and a 1977 Bridge to Terabithia in which you get to see Katherine Paterson’s take on the editing process.
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