We’ve had it for years, but I only just discovered the book ‘Behind the Bestsellers‘ this week. It’s a fascinating collection of the stories behind the stories – anecdotes and experiences that led to the creation of some of literature’s most famous places, characters and books.
Did you know that the tales that good friend Bertram Russel told Arthur Conan Doyle about ghostly demon dogs that roamed Dartmoor, were the basis for the creative return of Conan Doyle’s most famous character? Sherlock Holmes had been killed off in The Final Problem eight years earlier, but returned in The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Orwell’s 1984was a culmination of his life’s political beliefs and experiences. His work with the Indian Imperial police in Burma, his involvement with the Spanish Worker’s Party during their Civil War and producing BBC wartime propaganda moulded his hatred of ‘the man’ with it’s bureaucratic secrecy and hypocrisy.
Dan Brown’s father was a mathematician, creating codes, puzzles and cryptic clues as elaborate treasure hunts for his children on their birthdays and at Christmas. His college years in New England, surrounded by Masonic Lodges and ‘Founding Father’ clubs, piqued an interest in secret societies, and an incident at school when Secret Service agents arrived to detain a student culminated in his fascination of government agencies. All three put together form the basis of The Da Vinci Code.
I could go on all day, there’s the background to 50 books listed!
That sounds great, another fun little book is Writers Gone Wild, a collection of stories about the crazy and sometimes illegal lives of classic authors.