Take a good look at this cover, click on it for a larger size, and ask yourself…

“Inspiration for the Major Motion Picture”???  That’s this one.  In 3D.  By the producers of “Night at the Museum.”  Starring Jack Black.

But, you know… one trumps the other.  Kind of like in a century’s time high schools will be having students read the second book here:

I don’t know.  They might already be reading the Zombie version.

The latest in a string of fabricated memoirs.

Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, recently admitted on 60 Minutes that his memoir about how he built hundreds of schools in rural Afghanistan and Pakistan is indeed falsified and exaggerated.

The “Million Little Pieces” author, James Frey, had his drug experiences, embellished it because your drug experiences are a dime a dozen, wrote the fiction as memoir because as it reads better to the mind if you think it’s real than if you know it’s fake.

My suspicion is that any number of non-fiction books we’ve taken for granted are largely fabricated.  Take, for instance — John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley.:

The area was the scene of one of the most dubious moments in Travels With Charley. Steinbeck wrote that he and his French poodle, Charley, camped overnight somewhere “near Alice” by the Maple River, where he just happened to meet an itinerant Shakespearean actor who also just happened to be camping in the middle of the middle of nowhere. According to Steinbeck, the two hit it off and had a long, five-page discussion about the joys of the theater and the acting talents of John Gielgud.

Bumping into a sophisticated actor in the boondocks near Alice would have been an amazing bit of good luck for the great writer. And it could have really happened on October 12, 1960. But like a dozen other improbable encounters that Steinbeck said he had on his 11-week road trip from Long Island to Maine to Chicago to Seattle to California to Texas to New Orleans and back to New York City, it almost certainly didn’t.

It’s possible Steinbeck and Charley stopped to have lunch by the Maple River on October 12 as they raced across North Dakota. But unless the author was able to be at both ends of the state at the same time—or able to push his pickup truck/camper shell “Rocinante” to supersonic speeds—Steinbeck didn’t camp overnight anywhere near Alice 50 years ago. In the real world, the nonfiction world, Steinbeck spent that night 326 miles farther west, in the Badlands, staying in a motel in the town of Beach, taking a hot bath. We know this is true because Steinbeck wrote about the motel in a letter dated October 12 that he sent from Beach to his wife, Elaine, in New York.

The Steinbeck book probably works well as fiction, and would read horribly if Steinbeck had kept to the facts.  One can go off course any number of directions:

Non fiction, right?  As real as Judith Miller and Steinbeck.

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