Image Gallery: Optimism Is Underrated

Cynicism has become the lingua franca of our increasingly disaffected pop culture. We criticize, question, doubt, parody, and roll our collective eyes at any display of sincere sentiment as though the mere expression of well-intentioned enthusiasm is some kind of affront to the contrivances of coolness. Fortunately, Everything Is Going To Be OK offers a much-needed respite from this competition for jadedness. Conveying messages of optimism through billboards, traditional letter press, and even piled leaves, the artists in this anthology present a refreshingly upbeat outlook on life — from the everyday to the existential. Check out this gallery of images from the book for a dose of overdue positivity. … Read More

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Meet the Artists of the Artadia Biennial

In a sea of grants, scholarships, and arts-inclined non-profits, Artadia stands apart as a a national fund that fosters both the visual arts and creative dialogue. Showcasing the work of 41 artists working in five US cities, the organization’s first print publication presents an overview of the organization’s 2008-2009 biennial work through images of the projects themselves as well as questions directed at the artists about their work. Ranging from video to sculpture, painting, and multimedia installations, here are some of our favorite pieces (and artist quotes) from this pitch-perfect overview of contemporary creativity. … Read More

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Famous Authors and Their Animal Counterparts

The release of Quirk Classics’ The Meowmorphosis reimagines Franz Kafka’s classic tale with a Lolcat friendly kitten instead of the original insect. Although Kafka isn’t known to have been particularly cute or cuddly in either his life or work (though skittish, yes), we couldn’t help but ponder which animals do match up with famous authors. It’s an imprecise science,  sure, but here are our bids for cross-species author/animal pairings. … Read More

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10 Anonymous Works of Fiction That Changed Society

The anonymous author of O: A Presidential Novel was recently outed as former John McCain aide Mark Salter, a claim that has yet to be confirmed or denied by the author in question. Although there are many stories whose writers have been forgotten by history, countless political pamphlets whose authors declined to be identified, and many more that were safely published behind a pen name, there’s an unrivaled level of intrigue that accompanies deliberately anonymous novels and poetry. Here are ten more works of anonymously published fiction that ignited cultural curiosity and social reaction. … Read More

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Fiction Excerpt: The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals

If you’re like us, Rae Bryant‘s skin-crawling (make that gnawing) story “Intolerable Impositions” will make you simultaneously laugh and cringe at the squeamish awkwardness of one-night stand intimacies — and the sacrifices we’re willing to make to avoid them. Set to be included in her upcoming short story collection The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals, from Brooklyn indie publishers Patasola Press, this witty piece of flash fiction is at once strangely fantastical and familiar. Click through to check it out.

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Five Fonts We Never Want to Read Again

If a new study by Princeton psychologists is any indication, we’ll be seeing a surge in ugly typefaces within the near future. After switching out straightforward text book fonts for “disfluent” ones like Comic Sans and Haettenschweiler, the team of researchers found that students’ reading retention “significantly improved in naturalistic settings by presenting reading material in a format that is slightly harder to read.” Given the potential educational application of this evidence — as well as its inevitably misapplied implications — here’s a preemptive field guide to five of the most reviled typefaces we’ll regrettably be seeing more of soon. … Read More

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New Books About Old Favorites

We’ve already reviewed the spate of unconventional literary autobiographies released last year, but 2011 is quickly shaping up to also be a year of fresh books by and about beloved bygone writers. Encompassing speeches, letter correspondences, essays, unpublished stories, and posthumous investigations, these upcoming books offer new insights into the intellects, imaginations, and lives of dearly departed cultural icons. … Read More

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Required Reading: True Crime Classics

Last week we heard that George Clooney had signed on to play the author and crime-hunting hero of The Monster of Florence in a film adaptation. Written by Italian reporter Mario Spezi and thriller author Douglas Preston, the nonfiction bestseller is a gripping account of their investigation into the unsolved murders of 16 young couples between 1968 and 1985. It’s a shining example of the true crime genre, which, as Joyce Carol Oates once noted in an article about the media flurry encircling the JonBenet Ramsey murder, “mirror[s] our collective anxiety about the very definition of justice, let alone its realization.” Straddling cutting edge journalism and edge-of-your-seat mystery, these ten true crime classics satiate that collective anxiety by balancing heady social scrutiny with fast-paced entertainment. … Read More

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Our Most Beloved Childhood Authors Revisited

If you, like us, picked through boxes of tattered paperback books while home over the holidays, you’re probably still feeling as nostalgic as we are. Our dog-eared copies of beloved series and flashlight favorites brought back memories of those carefree days when you had all the time in the world to get lost in a book. Although we’ve grown into busier schedules and wider literary tastes as adults, nothing beats the familiar comfort of a beloved childhood author. Here’s a look back at some of the seminal writers who defined our early reading careers, and an update on what they’ve been doing in the meantime. Help jog our memory with other forgotten favorites in the comments section. … Read More

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10 New Books to Kick Off the New Year

Poised at the edge of a shiny new year, we’re readying ourselves for this season’s spate of hotly anticipated new titles. In its always-reliable season preview, The Millions noted that this “may be a year of new discoveries,” and, true to this prediction, we’re particularly excited to check out 2011’s roster of fresh talent. Here’s a peek at upcoming debut books by new authors, as well as new titles by established names — all ten of which will get tongues wagging and pages turning in the months ahead. … Read More

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