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What 10 Classic Books Were Almost Called

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Remember when your high school summer reading list included Atticus, Fiesta, and The Last Man in Europe? You will once you see what these books were renamed before they hit bookshelves.

1. The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald went through quite a few titles for his most well-known book before deciding on The Great Gatsby. If he hadn’t arrived at that title, high school kids would be pondering the themes of Trimalchio in West Egg; Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires; On the Road to West Egg; Under the Red, White, and Blue; Gold-Hatted Gatsby; or The High-Bouncing Lover.

2. 1984

George Orwell’s publisher didn’t feel the title to his novel The Last Man in Europe was terribly commercial and recommended using the other title he had been kicking around—1984.

3. Atlas Shrugged

Ayn Rand referred to her magnum opus as The Strikefor quite some time. In 1956, a year before the book was released, she decided the title gave away too much plot detail. Her husband suggested Atlas Shrugged, and it stuck.

4. Dracula

The title of Bram Stoker’s famous Gothic novel sounded more like a spoof before he landed on Dracula—one of the names Stoker considered was The Dead Un-Dead.

5. The Sun Also Rises

Ernest Hemingway’s original title for The Sun Also RisesFiesta—was used for foreign-language editions. But he changed the American English version to The Sun Also Rises at the behest of his publisher.

6. Catch-22

It’s because of Frank Sinatra that we use the phrase “catch-22” today. Well, sort of. Author Joseph Heller tried out Catch-11, but because the original Ocean’s Eleven movie was newly in theaters, it was scrapped to avoid confusion. He also wanted Catch-18, but, again, the recent publication of Leon Uris’ Mila 18 made him switch titles to avoid confusion. The number 22 was finally chosen because it was 11 doubled.

7. To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird was simply Atticus before Harper Lee decided the title focused too narrowly on one character.

8. Pride and Prejudice

An apt precursor to the title Jane Austen finally decided on for her most beloved novel was First Impressions.

9. The Secret Garden

"Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?" Secretly, apparently. Mistress Mary, taken from the classic nursery rhyme, was the working title for Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden.

10. Dubliners

Originally called Ulysses in Dublin, James Joyce’s book of short stories, Dubliners, featured characters that would later appear in his epic Ulysses a few years later.
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TASCHEN
Everything You Need to Know About Food in One Book
TASCHEN
TASCHEN

If you find yourself mixing up nigiri and sashimi at sushi restaurants or don’t know which fruits are in season, then this is the book for you. Food & Drink Infographics, published by TASCHEN, is a colorful and comprehensive guide to all things food and drink.

The book combines tips and tricks with historical context about the ways in which different civilizations illustrated and documented the foods they ate, as well as how humans went from hunter-gatherers to modern-day epicureans. As for the infographics, there’s a helpful graphic explaining the number of servings provided by different cake sizes, a heat index of various chilies, a chart of cheeses, and a guide to Italian cold cuts, among other delectable charts.

The 480-page coffee table book, which can be purchased on Amazon for $56, is written in three languages: English, French, and German. The infographics themselves come from various sources, and the text is provided by Simone Klabin, a New York City-based writer and lecturer on film, art, culture, and children’s media.

Keep scrolling to see a few of the infographics featured in the book.

An infographic about cheese
TASCHEN

An infographic about cakes
Courtesy of TASCHEN

An infographic about fruits in season
Courtesy of TASCHEN
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YouTube/Great Big Story
See the Secret Paintings Hidden in Gilded Books
YouTube/Great Big Story
YouTube/Great Big Story

The art of vanishing fore-edge painting—hiding delicate images on the front edges of gilded books—dates back to about 1660. Today, British artist Martin Frost is the last remaining commercial fore-edge painter in the world. He works primarily on antique books, crafting scenes from nature, domestic life, mythology, and Harry Potter. Great Big Story recently caught up with him in his studio to learn more about his disappearing art. Learn more in the video below.

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