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9 Authors Who Regretted The Success of Their Work

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These authors found that success wasn't all it was cracked up to be—and sometimes even regretted writing their books in the first place.

1. Lewis Carroll

In 1891, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass author Lewis Carroll—who was born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson—wrote a letter to his friend Anne Symonds about the pitfalls of fame. "All of that sort of publicity leads to strangers hearing of my real name in connection with the books, and to my being pointed out to and stared at by strangers and being treated as a ‘lion,’” he wrote. “And I hate all of that so intensely that sometimes I almost wish I had never written any books at all.” 

2. Alan Moore

Alan Moore has written some of the most influential and iconic comic books of all time, including V For Vendetta and Watchmen. The author is deeply opposed to seeing his comics adapted for the big screen, but because of their success, movie studios and filmmakers continue to turn to his work for future movies and television adaptations. He has gone as far as turning down millions of dollars and film credit just to keep his name out of the movie industry. "If we only see comics in relation to movies, then the best that they will ever be is films that do not move," he stated in the documentary The Mindscape of Alan Moore. "So in a sense, most of my work from the '80s onwards was designed to be un-filmable."

3. Annie Proulx

Annie Proulx wrote the short story "Brokeback Mountain" in 1997, and Ang Lee adapted it for the big screen in 2005. Although the film received a lot of positive attention from critics and general audiences alike, Proulx hated all the fan fiction she received over the years. "I wish I’d never written the story. It’s just been the cause of hassle and problems and irritation since the film came out. Before the film it was all right," she told The Paris Review in 2009. "[People] can’t bear the way it ends—they just can’t stand it. So they rewrite the story, including all kinds of boyfriends and new lovers and so forth after Jack is killed. And it just drives me wild. They can’t understand that the story isn’t about Jack and Ennis. It’s about homophobia; it’s about a social situation; it’s about a place and a particular mindset and morality. They just don’t get it."

4. Peter Benchley

Despite the commercial success of Jaws, its author, Peter Benchley, deeply regretted making the Great White Shark into a deadly villain; the novel and movie triggered a widespread fear and panic during the '70s. "Knowing what I know now," Benchley wrote in 2006, just before his death, "I could never write that book today. Sharks don't target human beings, and they certainly don't hold grudges." Later in life, Benchley became a shark conservationist and oceanographer. He wrote many books to dispel the myths about sharks, including Ocean Planet: Writings and Images of the Sea and Shark Life: True Stories About Sharks and the Sea. Unfortunately, the books were never as popular as Jaws

5. A.A. Milne

In the 1920s, British author and playwright A.A. Milne wrote the Winnie the Pooh stories for his son Christopher Robin Milne, who was a toddler at the time and the inspiration for the stuffed bear's owner. Although the success of Winnie the Pooh allowed Milne to become a writer, he regretted creating Pooh because he felt the character overshadowed his other stories and books aimed for adult readers.

Christopher Robin Milne also grew to resent the stories because he was always be associated with Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin. He claimed that his father “had got where he was by climbing on my infant shoulders, that he had filched from me my good name and left me nothing but empty fame."

The Milnes weren't the only ones who hated the bear: E.H. Shepard, the artist who illustrated Milne's stories, grew to hate Winnie the Pooh because it eclipsed his career as a political cartoonist.

6. Karl Ove Knausgård

In 2009, Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgård released the first volume of his autobiographical novel, My Struggle, which centered on his relationship with his family. Readers and critics loved the work and showered Knausgård with numerous accolades; Norwegian newspaper Morgenbladet named it Book of the Year, and Knausgård took home the Brage Prize for Literature for the book. But Knausgård hated the attention; some of his family and friends were deeply offended with how they were portrayed in the book series. Knausgård's ex-girlfriend of four years told the newspaper Bergens Tidende, “It was as if he said: Now I'm going to punch you in the face. I know it's going to hurt, and I will drive you to the hospital afterwards. But I'm going to do it anyway.”

As a result, Knausgård moved with his wife and children to a small rural village in Sweden to get away from the controversy and attention. “Nobody cares about literature around here,” he told the New Republic. “It fills me with sadness every time I talk about [my book's impact].”

7. William Powell

In 1971, William Powell wrote The Anarchist Cookbook, which details how to build explosives and make illegal drugs, as a way to protest the Vietnam War. Starting in 1976, the book has been connected to a number of school shootings and acts of terrorism.

Powell was just 19 when he wrote the book, and got most of the information for it from military manuals he read at the New York Public Library. He no longer advocates anything written in the book—after he converted to Christianity and became a philanthropist, he asked for the book to be taken out of print, but he doesn't own the copyright. Those who do have no plans to take the book out of circulation. "Over the years, I have come to understand that the basic premise behind the Cookbook is profoundly flawed," Powell wrote in The Guardian in 2013. “The central idea to the book was that violence is an acceptable means to bring about political change. I no longer agree with this.”

8. Octavia E. Butler

Science fiction author Octavia E. Butler despised her third novel Survivor because it featured some of the worst clichés of the genre. "When I was young, a lot of people wrote about going to another world and finding either little green men or little brown men, and they were always less in some way," she told Amazon.com. "They were a little sly, or a little like 'the natives' in a very bad, old movie. ... People ask me why I don't like Survivor, my third novel. And it's because it feels a little bit like that. Some humans go up to another world, and immediately begin mating with the aliens and having children with them. I think of it as my Star Trek novel."

After its initial edition, Butler refused to bring Survivor back into circulation.

9. Anthony Burgess

In 1985, Anthony Burgess wrote a biography about D.H. Lawrence where he described how much he hated A Clockwork Orange, mainly due to numerous misinterpretations of the book's themes that were worsened with the release of Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation. "The book I am best known for, or only known for, is a novel I am prepared to repudiate," Burgess wrote. "It became known as the raw material for a film which seemed to glorify sex and violence. The film made it easy for readers of the book to misunderstand what it was about, and the misunderstanding will pursue me until I die. I should not have written the book because of this danger of misinterpretation."

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5 Things We Know About Stranger Things Season 2
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Stranger Things seemed to come out of nowhere to become one of television's standout new series in 2016. Netflix's sometimes scary, sometimes funny, and always exciting homage to '80s pop culture was a binge-worthy phenomenon when it debuted in July 2016. Of course, the streaming giant wasn't going to wait long to bring more Stranger Things to audiences, and a second season was announced a little over a month after its debut—and Netflix just announced that we'll be getting it a few days earlier than expected. Here are five key things we know about the show's sophomore season, which kicks off on October 27.

1. WE'LL BE GETTING EVEN MORE EPISODES.

The first season of Stranger Things consisted of eight hour-long episodes, which proved to be a solid length for the story Matt and Ross Duffer wanted to tell. While season two won't increase in length dramatically, we will be getting at least one extra hour when the show returns in 2017 with nine episodes. Not much is known about any of these episodes, but we do know the titles:

"Madmax"
"The Boy Who Came Back To Life"
"The Pumpkin Patch"
"The Palace"
"The Storm"
"The Pollywog"
"The Secret Cabin"
"The Brain"
"The Lost Brother"

There's a lot of speculation about what each title means and, as usual with Stranger Things, there's probably a reason for each one.

2. THE KIDS ARE RETURNING (INCLUDING ELEVEN).

Stranger Things fans should gear up for plenty of new developments in season two, but that doesn't mean your favorite characters aren't returning. A November 4 photo sent out by the show's Twitter account revealed most of the kids from the first season will be back in 2017, including the enigmatic Eleven, played by Millie Bobby Brown (the #elevenisback hashtag used by series regular Finn Wolfhard should really drive the point home):

3. THE SHOW'S 1984 SETTING WILL LEAD TO A DARKER TONE.

A year will have passed between the first and second seasons of the show, allowing the Duffer brothers to catch up with a familiar cast of characters that has matured since we last saw them. With the story taking place in 1984, the brothers are looking at the pop culture zeitgeist at the time for inspiration—most notably the darker tone of blockbusters like Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

"I actually really love Temple of Doom, I love that it gets a little darker and weirder from Raiders, I like that it feels very different than Raiders did," Matt Duffer told IGN. "Even though it was probably slammed at the time—obviously now people look back on it fondly, but it messed up a lot of kids, and I love that about that film—that it really traumatized some children. Not saying that we want to traumatize children, just that we want to get a little darker and weirder."

4. IT'S NOT SO MUCH A CONTINUATION AS IT IS A SEQUEL.

When you watch something like The Americans season two, it's almost impossible to catch on unless you've seen the previous episodes. Stranger Things season two will differ from the modern TV approach by being more of a sequel than a continuation of the first year. That means a more self-contained plot that doesn't leave viewers hanging at the end of nine episodes.

"There are lingering questions, but the idea with Season 2 is there's a new tension and the goal is can the characters resolve that tension by the end," Ross Duffer told IGN. "So it's going to be its own sort of complete little movie, very much in the way that Season 1 is."

Don't worry about the two seasons of Stranger Things being too similar or too different from the original, though, because when speaking with Entertainment Weekly about the influences on the show, Matt Duffer said, "I guess a lot of this is James Cameron. But he’s brilliant. And I think one of the reasons his sequels are as successful as they are is he makes them feel very different without losing what we loved about the original. So I think we kinda looked to him and what he does and tried to capture a little bit of the magic of his work.”

5. THE PREMIERE WILL TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF HAWKINS.

Everything about the new Stranger Things episodes will be kept secret until they finally debut later this year, but we do know one thing about the premiere: It won't take place entirely in the familiar town of Hawkins, Indiana. “We will venture a little bit outside of Hawkins,” Matt Duffer told Entertainment Weekly. “I will say the opening scene [of the premiere] does not take place in Hawkins.”

So, should we take "a little bit outside" as literally as it sounds? You certainly can, but in that same interview, the brothers also said they're both eager to explore the Upside Down, the alternate dimension from the first season. Whether the season kicks off just a few miles away, or a few worlds away, you'll get your answer when Stranger Things's second season debuts next month.

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Everything That’s Leaving Netflix in October
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NBC - © 2012 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Netflix subscribers are already counting down the days until the premiere of the new season of Stranger Things. But, as always, in order to make room for the near-90 new titles making their way to the streaming site, some of your favorite titles—including all of 30 Rock, The Wonder Years, and Malcolm in the Middle—must go. Here’s everything that’s leaving Netflix in October ... binge ‘em while you can!

October 1

30 Rock (Seasons 1-7)

A Love in Times of Selfies

Across the Universe

Barton Fink

Bella

Big Daddy

Carousel

Cradle 2 the Grave

Crafting a Nation

Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest

Daddy’s Little Girls

Dark Was the Night

David Attenborough’s Rise of the Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates (Season 1)

Day of the Kamikaze

Death Beach

Dowry Law

Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief

Friday Night Lights (Seasons 1-5)

Happy Feet

Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison

Hellboy

Kagemusha

Laura

Love Actually

Malcolm in the Middle (Seasons 1-7)

Max Dugan Returns

Millennium 

Million Dollar Baby

Mortal Combat

Mr. 3000

Mulholland Dr.

My Father the Hero

My Name Is Earl (Seasons 1-4)

One Tree Hill (Seasons 1-9)

Patton

Picture This

Prison Break (Seasons 1-4)

The Bernie Mac Show (Seasons 1-5)

The Shining

The Wonder Years (Seasons 1-6)

Titanic

October 19

The Cleveland Show (Seasons 1-4)

October 21

Bones (Seasons 5-11)

October 27

Lie to Me (Seasons 2-3)

Louie (Seasons 1-5)

Hot Transylvania 2

October 29

Family Guy (Seasons 9-14)

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