Astronaut Scott Kelly Credits Tom Wolfe For His Success

Photo of Scott J. Kelly by NASA, via Wikimedia Commons

Editor's Note:

Also in the news: Audiobooks on vinyl? Spring break canceled in schools that went on strike? The Daily Blunt is here with all the details.

There’s nothing like the right book at the right time to jostle a young mind into action. Apparently this was the case with astronaut Scott Kelly, who has given credit to Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff for shaking him out of a spiral of bad grades and general purposelessness. “It inspired me to become a fighter pilot in the Navy and, later, a test pilot, and, after that, an astronaut,” he said in an interview. As the article points out, in 2016 Kelly became the first American astronaut to spend 12 consecutive months in orbit. He hopes his story will combat the misconception that you have to be a super-genius to get involved in the sciences: “I am here to tell you that that is not the case.”

If you fantasize about designing book covers for a living, you’ll be mesmerized (and perhaps a bit traumatized) by Kimberly Glyder’s account of re-imagining the jacket of a Gone With the Wind edition. How do you appeal to brand new readers, while still honoring the iteration that fans fell in love with decades ago? How many rounds of revisions can your ego handle? And the million dollar question: will the author’s estate approve your interpretation? In Glyder’s case, the finished result is indescribably beautiful and stylish in a way that ought to hold up for many years.

Filed under “there is no free lunch”: it turns out that students at the West Virginia schools which successfully participated in this month’s strike for teacher’s wages may have lost their Spring Break in the bargain, due to the time schools spent closed. But before anyone panics, keep in mind that “Students will be given excused absences if parents take them out of school for vacation,” which means the decision will be basically outsourced to parents on an individual basis. However, once kids hear about the state of our country’s most popular beaches – they are currently awash in fecal bacteria – they might beg to stay in school.

If the new series of audiobooks on vinyl by Hachette Audio and Wax Audio sound too good to be true, that’s because they sort of are: books that are too long to fit on one or two LPs will be accompanied by a digital download containing the remainder of the story. Electric Literature has a bit of fun with this, imagining what kind of skewed take on the classics you’d end up with as a purist who only listens to audiobooks on vinyl. For example, The Grapes of Wrath: “An intrepid turtles struggles, but ultimately succeeds, to cross the road.” Also, The Hobbit is basically about some dwarves wrecking a guy’s house. Maybe they should just skip the digital supplement, label these titles as “abridged” and call it a day.