An audiobook is a recording of a text being read. A reading of the complete text is described as "unabridged", while readings of a shorter version, or abridgement of the text are labeled as "abridged". Spoken audio has been available in schools and public libraries and to a lesser extent in music shops since the 1930s. Many spoken word albums were made prior to the age of cassette tapes, compact discs, downloadable audio of poetry and plays rather than books, it was not until the 1980s that the medium began to attract book retailers, book retailers started displaying audiobooks on bookshelves rather than in separate displays. The term "talking book" came into being in the 1930s with government programs designed for blind readers, while the term "audiobook" came into use during the 1970s when audiocassettes began to replace records. In 1994, the Audio Publishers Association established the term "audiobook" as the industry standard. Spoken word recordings first became possible with the invention of the phonograph by Thomas Edison in 1877.
"Phonographic books" were one of the original applications envisioned by Edison which would "speak to blind people without effort on their part." The initial words spoken into the phonograph were Edison's recital of "Mary Had a Little Lamb", the first instance of recorded verse. In 1878, a demonstration at the Royal Institution in Britain included "Hey Diddle Diddle, the Cat and the Fiddle" and a line of Tennyson's poetry thus establishing from the beginning of the technology its association with spoken literature. Many short, spoken word recordings were sold on cylinder in the late 1800s and early 1900s, however the round cylinders were limited to about 4 minutes each making books impractical. "One early listener complained that he would need a wheelbarrow to carry around talking books recorded on discs with such limited storage capacity." By the 1930s close-grooved records increased to 20 minutes making possible longer narrative. In 1931, the American Foundation for the Blind and Library of Congress Books for the Adult Blind Project established the "Talking Books Program", intended to provide reading material for veterans injured during World War I and other visually impaired adults.
The first test recordings in 1932 included a chapter from Helen Keller's Midstream and Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven". The organization received congressional approval for exemption from copyright and free postal distribution of talking books; the first recordings made for the Talking Books Program in 1934 included sections of the Bible. Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic was founded in 1948 by Anne T. Macdonald, a member of the New York Public Library's Women's Auxiliary, in response to an influx of inquiries from soldiers who had lost their sight in combat during World War II; the newly passed GI Bill of Rights guaranteed a college education to all veterans, but texts were inaccessible to the blinded veterans, who did not read Braille and had little access to live readers. Macdonald mobilized the women of the Auxiliary under the motto "Education is a right, not a privilege". Members of the Auxiliary transformed the attic of the New York Public Library into a studio, recording textbooks using state-of-the-art six-inch vinyl SoundScriber phonograph discs that played 12 minutes of material per side.
In 1952, Macdonald established recording studios in seven additional cities across the United States. Caedmon Records was a pioneer in the audiobook business, it was the first company dedicated to selling spoken work recordings to the public and has been called the "seed" of the audiobook industry. Caedmon was formed in New York in 1952 by college graduates Barbara Marianne Roney, their first release was a collection of poems by Dylan Thomas. The LP's B-side contained A Child's Christmas in Wales, added as an afterthought - the story was obscure and Thomas himself couldn't remember its title when asked what to use to fill up the B-side - but this recording went on to become one of his most loved works, launched Caedmon into a successful company; the original 1952 recording was a selection for the 2008 United States National Recording Registry, stating it is "credited with launching the audiobook industry in the United States". Caedmon used LP records, invented in 1948, which made longer recordings more affordable and practical, however most of their works were poems and other short works, not unabridged books due to the LP's limitation of about a 45-minute playing time.
Listening Library was a pioneering company, it was one of the first to distribute children's audiobooks to schools and other special markets, including VA hospitals. It was founded by his wife in 1955 in their Red Bank, New Jersey home. Another early pioneering company was Spoken Arts founded in 1956 by Arthur Luce Klein and his wife, they produced over 700 recordings and were best known for poetry and drama recordings used in schools and libraries. Like Caedemon, Listening Library and Spoken Arts benefited from the new technology of LPs, but increased governmental funding for schools and libraries beginning in the 1950s and 60s. Though spoken recordings were popular in 33⅓ vinyl record format for schools and libraries into the early 1970s, the beginning of the modern retail market for audiobooks can be traced to the wide adoption
Highway 61 Revisited
Highway 61 Revisited is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on August 30, 1965 by Columbia Records. Having until recorded acoustic music, Dylan used rock musicians as his backing band on every track of the album, except for the closing track, the 11-minute ballad "Desolation Row". Critics have focused on the innovative way Dylan combined driving, blues-based music with the subtlety of poetry to create songs that captured the political and cultural chaos of contemporary America. Author Michael Gray has argued. Leading with the hit single "Like a Rolling Stone", the album features songs that Dylan has continued to perform live over his long career, including "Ballad of a Thin Man" and the title track, he named the album after the major American highway which connected his birthplace of Duluth, Minnesota, to southern cities famed for their musical heritage, including St. Louis, New Orleans, the Delta blues area of Mississippi. Highway 61 Revisited peaked at No. 4 in the United Kingdom.
The album was ranked No. 4 on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". "Like a Rolling Stone" was a top-10 hit in several countries, was listed at No. 1 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. Two other songs, "Desolation Row" and "Highway 61 Revisited", were listed at No. 187 and No. 373 respectively. In his memoir Chronicles: Volume One, Dylan described the kinship he felt with the route that supplied the title of his sixth album: "Highway 61, the main thoroughfare of the country blues, begins about where I began. I always felt like I'd started on it, always had been on it and could go anywhere down in to the deep Delta country, it was the same road, full of the same contradictions, the same one-horse towns, the same spiritual ancestors... It was my place in the universe, always felt like it was in my blood."When he was growing up in the 1950s, Highway 61 stretched from Thunder Bay – north of the Canada–US border), through Duluth, where Dylan was born, from St. Paul, all the way down to New Orleans.
Along the way, the route passed near the birthplaces and homes of influential musicians such as Muddy Waters, Son House, Elvis Presley and Charley Patton. The "empress of the blues", Bessie Smith, died after sustaining serious injuries in an automobile accident on Highway 61. Critic Mark Polizzotti points out that blues legend Robert Johnson is alleged to have sold his soul to the devil at the highway's crossroads with Route 49; the highway had been the subject of several blues recordings, notably Roosevelt Sykes' "Highway 61 Blues" and Mississippi Fred McDowell's "61 Highway". Dylan has stated that he had to overcome considerable resistance at Columbia Records to give the album its title, he told biographer Robert Shelton: "I wanted to call that album Highway 61 Revisited. Nobody understood it. I had to go up the fucking ladder until the word came down and said:'Let him call it what he wants to call it'." Michael Gray has suggested that the title of the album represents Dylan's insistence that his songs are rooted in the traditions of the blues: "Indeed the album title Highway 61 Revisited announces that we are in for a long revisit, since it is such a long, blues-travelled highway.
Many bluesmen had been there before, all recording versions of a blues called'Highway 61'." In May 1965, Dylan returned from his tour of England feeling exhausted and dissatisfied with his material. He told journalist Nat Hentoff: "I was going to quit singing. I was drained." The singer added, "It's tiring having other people tell you how much they dig you if you yourself don't dig you."As a consequence of his dissatisfaction, Dylan wrote 20 pages of verse he described as a "long piece of vomit". He reduced this to a song with four verses and a chorus—"Like a Rolling Stone", he told Hentoff that writing and recording the song washed away his dissatisfaction, restored his enthusiasm for creating music. Describing the experience to Robert Hilburn in 2004, nearly 40 years Dylan said: "It's like a ghost is writing a song like that... You don't know what it means except the ghost picked me to write the song."Highway 61 Revisited was recorded in two blocks of recording sessions that took place in Studio A of Columbia Records, located in Midtown Manhattan.
The first block, June 15 and June 16, was produced by Tom Wilson and resulted in the single "Like a Rolling Stone". On July 25, Dylan performed his controversial electric set at the Newport Folk Festival, where some of the crowd booed his performance. Four days after Newport, Dylan returned to the recording studio. From July 29 to August 4, he and his band completed recording Highway 61 Revisited, but under the supervision of a new producer, Bob Johnston. Tom Wilson produced the initial recording sessions for Highway 61 Revisited on June 15–16, 1965. Dylan was backed by Bobby Gregg on drums, Joe Macho, Jr. on bass, Paul Griffin on piano, Frank Owens on guitar. For lead guitar, the singer recruited Michael Bloomfield of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band; the musicians began the June 15 session by recording a fast version of "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" and the song "Sitting on a Barbed Wire Fence", omitted from the Highway 61 album. Dylan and his band next attempted to record "Like a Rolling Stone".
"Barbed Wire Fence", the fast version of "It Takes a Lot to Laugh", an early take of "Like a Rolling Stone" were released on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 1961–1991. The musicians returned to Studio A the following day, when they devoted the entire session to
Dewey Decimal Classification
The Dewey Decimal Classification, colloquially the Dewey Decimal System, is a proprietary library classification system first published in the United States by Melvil Dewey in 1876. Described in a four-page pamphlet, it has been expanded to multiple volumes and revised through 23 major editions, the latest printed in 2011, it is available in an abridged version suitable for smaller libraries. OCLC, a non-profit cooperative that serves libraries maintains the system and licenses online access to WebDewey, a continuously updated version for catalogers; the Decimal Classification introduced the concepts of relative location and relative index which allow new books to be added to a library in their appropriate location based on subject. Libraries had given books permanent shelf locations that were related to the order of acquisition rather than topic; the classification's notation makes use of three-digit Arabic numerals for main classes, with fractional decimals allowing expansion for further detail.
Using Arabic numerals for symbols, it is flexible to the degree that numbers can be expanded in linear fashion to cover special aspects of general subjects. A library assigns a classification number that unambiguously locates a particular volume in a position relative to other books in the library, on the basis of its subject; the number makes it possible to find any book and to return it to its proper place on the library shelves. The classification system is used in 200,000 libraries in at least 135 countries. Melvil Dewey was self-declared reformer, he was a founding member of the American Library Association and can be credited with the promotion of card systems in libraries and business. He developed the ideas for his library classification system in 1873 while working at Amherst College library, he applied the classification to the books in that library, until in 1876 he had a first version of the classification. In 1876, he published the classification in pamphlet form with the title A Classification and Subject Index for Cataloguing and Arranging the Books and Pamphlets of a Library.
He used the pamphlet, published in more than one version during the year, to solicit comments from other librarians. It is not known who received copies or how many commented as only one copy with comments has survived, that of Ernest Cushing Richardson, his classification system was mentioned in an article in the first issue of the Library Journal and in an article by Dewey in the Department of Education publication "Public Libraries in America" in 1876. In March 1876, he applied for, received copyright on the first edition of the index; the edition was 44 pages in length, with 2,000 index entries, was printed in 200 copies. The second edition of the Dewey Decimal system, published in 1885 with the title Decimal Classification and Relativ Index for arranging and indexing public and private libraries and for pamflets, notes, scrap books, index rerums, etc. comprised 314 pages, with 10,000 index entries. Five hundred copies were produced. Editions 3–14, published between 1888 and 1942, used a variant of this same title.
Dewey modified and expanded his system for the second edition. In an introduction to that edition Dewey states that "nearly 100 persons hav contributed criticisms and suggestions". One of the innovations of the Dewey Decimal system was that of positioning books on the shelves in relation to other books on similar topics; when the system was first introduced, most libraries in the US used fixed positioning: each book was assigned a permanent shelf position based on the book's height and date of acquisition. Library stacks were closed to all but the most privileged patrons, so shelf browsing was not considered of importance; the use of the Dewey Decimal system increased during the early 20th century as librarians were convinced of the advantages of relative positioning and of open shelf access for patrons. New editions were readied as supplies of published editions were exhausted though some editions provided little change from the previous, as they were needed to fulfill demand. In the next decade, three editions followed on: the 3rd, 4th, 5th.
Editions 6 through 11 were published from 1899 to 1922. The 6th edition was published in a record 7,600 copies, although subsequent editions were much lower. During this time, the size of the volume grew, edition 12 swelled to 1243 pages, an increase of 25% over the previous edition. In response to the needs of smaller libraries which were finding the expanded classification schedules difficult to use, in 1894, the first abridged edition of the Dewey Decimal system was produced; the abridged edition parallels the full edition, has been developed for most full editions since that date. By popular request, in 1930, the Library of Congress began to print Dewey Classification numbers on nearly all of its cards, thus making the system available to all libraries making use of the Library of Congress card sets. Dewey's was not the only library classification available. Charles Ammi Cutter published the Expansive Classification in 1882, with initial encouragement from Melvil Dewey. Cutter's system was not adopted by many libraries, with one major exception: it was used as the basis for the Library of Congress Classification system.
In 1895, the International Institute of Bibliography, located in Belgium and led by Paul Otlet, contacted Dewey about the possibility of translating the classification into French, using the classification system for bibliographies. This would have
Masked and Anonymous
Masked and Anonymous is a 2003 drama film directed by Larry Charles. The film was written by Larry Charles and Bob Dylan, the latter under the pseudonym "Sergei Petrov", it stars Dylan alongside a star-heavy cast, including John Goodman, Jeff Bridges, Penélope Cruz, Val Kilmer, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Lange, Luke Wilson, Angela Bassett, Bruce Dern, Cheech Marin, Ed Harris, Chris Penn, Steven Bauer, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Paul Chan, Christian Slater and Fred Ward. An iconic rock legend, Jack Fate, is bailed out of prison to perform a one-man benefit concert for a decaying future North American society; the film touches on many subjects from the futility of politics, the confusion of loosely strung government conspiracies, the chaos created by both anarchy and Nineteen Eighty-Four-styled totalitarianism. It further reflects on life and God's place in a increasingly chaotic world. In some ways, the film is political: it describes how Fate sees the political landscape – people fighting for no reason, a nation without hope, governments that cannot be trusted – but at the same time Fate makes it clear that he "was always a singer and maybe no more than that".
He produces no solutions to any of the problems the film presents. Rather, he makes it clear that he "stopped trying to figure everything out a long time ago." Bob Dylan as Jack Fate Jeff Bridges as Tom Friend Penelope Cruz as Pagan Lace John Goodman as Uncle Sweetheart Jessica Lange as Nina Veronica Luke Wilson as Bobby Cupid Angela Bassett as Mistress Steven Bauer as Edgar Michael Paul Chan as Guard Bruce Dern as Editor Ed Harris as Oscar Vogel Val Kilmer as Animal Wrangler Cheech Marin as Prospero Chris Penn as Crew Guy #2 Giovanni Ribisi as Soldier Mickey Rourke as Edmund Richard C. Sarafian as President Christian Slater as Crew Guy #1 Susan Tyrrell as Ella the Fortune Teller Fred Ward as Drunk Robert Wisdom as Lucius The film was shot in twenty days and was funded by the BBC, it was distributed by a well-known distributor of independent productions. The soundtrack is composed entirely of covers of Bob Dylan songs ranging from his early 1960s-era material to work as recent as songs from his 1997 Grammy-award winning album Time Out of Mind.
Artists who perform the songs include Sertab Erener, Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia. Many of the film's actors worked for "scale" for a chance to appear alongside Dylan, including Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Bruce Dern, Jessica Lange, Penélope Cruz, Luke Wilson, Cheech Marin, Ed Harris, Chris Penn, Giovanni Ribisi, Christian Slater, Mickey Rourke, Angela Bassett. In addition to several other actors of note, the band of the lead character is played by Dylan's actual touring band of the time. Other stars in the film include Val Kilmer. Music from Dylan's entire career is presented in the movie, though his recent album Time Out Of Mind receives considerable play, with "Dirt Road Blues" and "Not Dark Yet" both used as background in scenes. Furthermore, a live performance of "Standing in the Doorway" was cut from the final edit, but included as a bonus on the DVD. Masked and Anonymous was given poor reviews upon release. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 25%, based on 80 reviews, an average rating of 4/10.
The website's critical consensus reads, "Unintelligible and self-indulgent Bob Dylan vehicle." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 32 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert gave the film a 1/2 star rating, deemed it "a vanity production beyond all reason." A number of reviewers commented on Dylan's acting, writing that he appeared "near-catatonic" and another that he stared "in mute incomprehension", "never speaking more than one line at a time" and only making remarks that "evoke the language and philosophy of Chinese fortune cookies." The film was panned by Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, The Village Voice and at least twenty other noteworthy periodicals. Amongst the positive reviewers was The Washington Post, stating that the film is a "fascinating, indulgent, pretentious, mesmerizing pop culture curio."Andrew Motion, former Poet Laureate of Great Britain, published an enthusiastic essay about the film which concluded: " is revelatory – in the paradoxical sense that it allows Dylan to say some important things out loud, to keep the silences, retain the elements of mystery, which are essential to his genius.
We should ask for nothing else."The film made the ten-best list of the Chicago Reader's Jonathan Rosenbaum and received positive reviews from The New Yorker and Art Forum. Additionally, the soundtrack was nominated for a Grammy. From 1999 to 2002, Dylan's touring band was joined by veteran guitarist Charlie Sexton. An accomplished unit, the band's new configuration was arguably one of Dylan's best touring groups ever. Highlighted by the interplay of Sexton and guitarist Larry Campbell, the group featured Dylan's longtime bassist Tony Garnier, as well as two drummers: David Kemper and George Receli. Dylan began filming Anonymous soon after Receli's arrival. Maske
A disc jockey abbreviated as DJ, is a person who plays existing recorded music for a live audience. Most common types of DJs include radio DJ, club DJ who performs at a nightclub or music festival and turntablist who uses record players turntables, to manipulate sounds on phonograph records; the disc in disc jockey referred to gramophone records, but now DJ is used as an all-encompassing term to describe someone who mixes recorded music from any source, including cassettes, CDs or digital audio files on a CDJ or laptop. The title DJ is used by DJs in front of their real names or adopted pseudonyms or stage names. In recent years it has become common for DJs to be featured as the credited artist on tracks they produced despite having a guest vocalist that performs the entire song: like for example Uptown Funk. DJs use audio equipment that can play at least two sources of recorded music and mix them together to create seamless transitions between recordings and develop unique mixes of songs; this involves aligning the beats of the music sources so their rhythms do not clash when played together or to enable a smooth transition from one song to another.
DJs use specialized DJ mixers, small audio mixers with crossfader and cue functions to blend or transition from one song to another. Mixers are used to pre-listen to sources of recorded music in headphones and adjust upcoming tracks to mix with playing music. DJ software can be used with a DJ controller device to mix audio files on a computer instead of a console mixer. DJs may use a microphone to speak to the audience; the "disc" in "disc jockey" referred to gramophone records, but now "DJ" is used as an all-encompassing term to describe someone who mixes recorded music from any source, including vinyl records, cassettes, CDs, or digital audio files stored on USB stick or laptop. DJs perform for a live audience in a nightclub or dance club or a TV, radio broadcast audience, or in the 2010s, an online radio audience. DJs create mixes and tracks that are recorded for sale and distribution. In hip hop music, DJs may create beats, using percussion breaks and other musical content sampled from pre-existing records.
In hip hop, rappers and MCs use. DJs use equipment that can play at least two sources of recorded music and mix them together; this allows the DJ to create seamless transitions between recordings and develop unique mixes of songs. This involves aligning the beats of the music sources so their rhythms do not clash when they are played together, either so two records can be played at the same time, or to enable the DJ to make a smooth transition from one song to another. An important tool for DJs is the specialized DJ mixer, a small audio mixer with a crossfader and cue functions; the crossfader enables the DJ to transition from one song to another. The cue knobs or switches allow the DJ to listen to a source of recorded music in headphones before playing it for the live club or broadcast audience. Previewing the music in headphones helps the DJ pick the next track they want to play, cue up the track to the desired starting location, align the two tracks' beats in traditional situations where auto sync technology is not being used.
This process ensures that the selected song will mix well with the playing music. DJs may use a microphone to speak to the audience; the title "DJ" is commonly used by DJs in front of their real names or adopted pseudonyms or stage names as a title to denote their profession. Some DJs focus on creating a good mix of songs for the club dancers or radio audience. Other DJs use turntablism techniques such as scratching, in which the DJ or turntablist manipulates the record player turntable to create new rhythms and sounds. DJs need to have a mixture of artistic and technical skills for their profession, because they have to understand both the creative aspects of making new musical beats and tracks, the technical aspects of using mixing consoles, professional audio equipment, and, in the 2010s, digital audio workstations and other computerized music gear. In many types of DJing, including club DJing and radio/TV DJing, a DJ has to have charisma and develop a good rapport with the audience. Professional DJs specialize in a specific genre of music, such as house music or hip hop music.
DJs have an extensive knowledge about the music they specialize in. Many DJs are avid music collectors of rare or obscure tracks and records. Radio DJs or radio personalities introduce and play music broadcast on AM, FM, digital or Internet radio stations. Club DJs referred as DJs in general, play music at musical events, such as parties at music venues or bars, music festivals and private events. Club DJs mix music recordings from two or more sources using different mixing techniques in order to produce non-stopping flow of music. One key technique used for seamlessly transitioning from one song to another is beatmatching. A DJ who plays and mixes one specific music genre is given the title of that genre; the quality of a DJ performance consists of two main features: technical skills, or how well can DJ operate the equipment and produce sm
National Book Critics Circle
The National Book Critics Circle is an American nonprofit organization with nearly 600 members. It is the professional association of American book review editors and critics, known for the National Book Critics Circle Awards, a set of literary awards presented every March; the organization was founded April 1974 in New York City by "John Leonard, Nona Balakian, Ivan Sandrof intending to extend the Algonquin round table to a national conversation". It was formally chartered October 1974 as a New York state non-profit corporation and the Advisory Board voted in November to establish annual literary awards. In the first newsletter three months President Ivan Sandrof proclaimed the primary purpose "to improve and maintain the standards of literary criticism in an era of diminishing and deteriorating values". At that time there were 140 members, with outreach to freelance critics planned for that year. NBCC first presented its Awards in January 1976 to books published during 1975 in four categories.
Only active review editors and reviewers may be voting members. A fifth award category for books was added for 1983 and divided in two for 2005. Since 2005 there are eight awards. Six National Book Critics Circle Awards recognize "best books" published in the United States during the preceding year in six categories: fiction, autobiography, biography and poetry. Annually "the most accomplished reviewer" among its members is recognized by the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing; the NBCC recognizes no more than one person or organization for "exceptional contributions to books" with the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. All eight awards are dated in the preceding year; as a professional association, NBCC works to improve the quality of reviews and provides services to its members. Official website How National Book Critics Circle Chooses Its Awards, by NBCC President Jane Ciabattari, The Daily Beast, January 22, 2011
Jonathan Allen Lethem is an American novelist and short story writer. His first novel, with Occasional Music, a genre work that mixed elements of science fiction and detective fiction, was published in 1994, it was followed by three more science fiction novels. In 1999, Lethem published Motherless Brooklyn, a National Book Critics Circle Award-winning novel that achieved mainstream success. In 2003, he published The Fortress of Solitude. In 2005, he received a MacArthur Fellowship. Lethem was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Judith Frank Lethem, a political activist, Richard Brown Lethem, an avant-garde painter, he was the eldest of three children. His father was Protestant and his mother was Jewish, from a family with roots in Germany and Russia, his brother Blake became an artist involved in the early New York hip hop scene, his sister Mara became a photographer and translator. The family lived in a commune in the pre-gentrified Brooklyn in the northern section of the neighborhood of Gowanus. Lethem's fourth grade teacher at P.
S. 29 in nearby Cobble Hill was future New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, whom he called the "perfect" teacher and dedicated his first novel, with Occasional Music to her. Despite the racial tensions and conflicts, he described his bohemian childhood as "thrilling" and culturally wide-reaching, he gained an encyclopedic knowledge of the music of Bob Dylan, saw Star Wars twenty-one times during its original theatrical release, read the complete works of the science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. Lethem said Dick's work was "as formative an influence as marijuana or punk rock—as responsible for beautifully fucking up my life, for bending it irreversibly along a course I still travel."His parents divorced when Lethem was young. When he was thirteen, his mother Judith died from a malignant brain tumor, an event which he has said haunted him and has affected his writing. In 2007, Lethem explained, "My books all have this giant, howling missing —language has disappeared, or someone has vanished, or memory has gone."Intending to become a visual artist like his father, Lethem attended the High School of Music & Art in New York, where he painted in a style he describes as "glib, show-offy cartoonish".
At Music & Art he produced The Literary Exchange, which featured artwork and writing. He created animated films and wrote a 125-page novel, still unpublished. After graduating from high school, Lethem entered Bennington College in Vermont in 1982 as a prospective art student. At Bennington, Lethem experienced an "overwhelming.... Collision with the realities of class—my parents' bohemian milieu had kept me from understanding a little, that we were poor.... at Bennington, all demolished by an encounter with the fact of real privilege." This, coupled with the realization that he was more interested in writing than art, led Lethem to drop out halfway through his sophomore year. He hitchhiked from Denver, Colorado to Berkeley, California in 1984, across "a thousand miles of desert and mountains through Wyoming and Nevada, with about 40 dollars in my pocket," describing it as "one of the stupidest and most memorable things I've done."Lethem lived in California for twelve years, working as a clerk in used bookstores, including Moe's and Pegasus & Pendragon Books, writing on his own time.
Lethem published several more in the early 1990s. Lethem's first novel, with Occasional Music, is a merging of science fiction and the Chandleresque detective story, which includes talking kangaroos, radical futuristic versions of the drug scene, cryogenic prisons; the novel was published in 1994 by Harcourt Brace, in what Lethem described as a "delirious" experience. "I'd pictured my first novels being published as paperback originals," he recalled, "and instead a prestigious house was doing the book in cloth.... I was in heaven." The novel was released to little initial fanfare, but an enthusiastic review in Newsweek, which declared Gun an "audaciously assured first novel", catapulted the book to wider commercial success. Gun, with Occasional Music was a finalist for the 1994 Nebula Award, placed first in the "Best First Novel" category of the 1995 Locus Magazine reader's poll. In the mid-1990s, film producer-director Alan J. Pakula optioned the novel's movie rights, which allowed Lethem to quit working in bookstores and devote his time to writing.
His next book was Amnesia Moon. Inspired by Lethem's experiences hitchhiking cross-country, this second novel uses a road narrative to explore a multi-post-apocalyptic future landscape rife with perception tricks. After publishing many of his early stories in a 1996 collection, The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the Eye, Lethem published his third novel, As She Climbed Across the Table, it starts with a physics researcher who falls in love with an artificially generated spatial anomaly called "Lack", for whom she spurns her previous partner. Her ex-partner's comic struggle with this rejection, with the anomaly, constitute the majority of the narrative. In 1996, Lethem moved from the San Francisco Bay Area back to Brooklyn, his next book, published after his return to Brooklyn, was Girl in Landscape. In the novel, a young girl must endure puberty while having to face a strange and new world populated by aliens known as Archbuilders. Lethem has said that Girl in Landscape's plot and characters, including the figures