The Top 10 Bookstores in the US

[Editor's note: For the next two Fridays, Flavorwire will be counting down our 20 most popular features of 2010. This post, which originally ran on September 2, 2010, comes in at position number 11.] Bookstores are dying. They’re dying because of jerks who are too cheap to buy a hardcover, or even a paperback, and too lazy to get a library card. Guys like the one from Julie Bosman‘s NY Times article, and this guy, and this guy. Even before we break into the eBooks discussion, think about everything else that reading is supposed to contend with these days — movies, video games, television, and the internet. And now that there’s competition even within the “book” medium, it’s no wonder that Barnes and Noble is closing a four-level shop (for those of you in New York, the Union Square Megastore is safe) and Borders agonizes through round after round of layoffs and store closings.

After the jump, please shed a tear, observe a moment of silence, then head to one of the top bookstores in the United States, and buy something fer chrissakes. … Read More

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From Stage to Screen: 10 Plays Turned Movies

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut, Jack Goes Boating, arrives in theaters tomorrow. Hoffman joins John Ortiz and Daphne Rubin-Vega in the film as he did on stage — all three reprising their roles from Bob Glaudini’s original play. Though Beth Cole played Connie in the stage version, Amy Ryan is a great substitute on the screen capturing several of the film’s darkest, sweetest, and most hilarious moments.

Jack Goes Boating is a success for Hoffman, and we think he’ll continue excelling both in front of and behind the camera. This got us thinking about the other play-to-movie jumps, their varying degrees of success, and the actors who’ve benefited from a little time under the stage lights. Come with us now as we look back on 10 of our favorite musicals and plays turned movies. … Read More

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8 Must-Visit Author Memorials and Museums

We found out last week that the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library will open this fall in the author’s native Indianapolis. Vonnegut suffered several brain injuries that ultimately led to his death on April 11, 2007. It is fitting that his memorial be a library, as the AP article points out, because he so loved to be surrounded by books. His three children were quick to approve the plans and help celebrate their father’s immense body of work.

Among the library’s artifacts are Vonnegut’s Purple Heart, a replica of his writing space (complete with typewriter), and a set of rejection letters that are bound to embarrass their writers to death. There’s a dearth of author dedicated libraries and museums, so here are eight others collected for your enjoyment. Missed your hometown hero or favorite writer? Add your tips to the comments. … Read More

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A Chronological Look at 13 Classic Comic Heroines

Shannon Donnelly over at the The Daily Beast recently put together a list of the greatest female action heroes of the small screen. As these women all owe something to comic book heroines who’ve been fighting both physical and political battles on the page since Fletcher Hanks’ Fantomah was born back in 1940, we’ve decided to round up 12 essential characters who’ve contributed the most to the cause.

A brief disclaimer: Please consider that when many of these comics were created, they were exclusively aimed at men. Boys. Teenage boys. So yeah, grain of salt. And if we missed your favorite heroine, add to our list in the comments. … Read More

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Required Reading: Modern Political Memoirs

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has finally done it. Every cent — or pence as it were — of the nearly £5 million he received as an advance (and any resulting royalties) for his memoir A Journey: My Political Life will go to the Royal British Legion, a charity dedicated to the welfare of past and current UK servicemen and women. Though the book isn’t released until September 1 in the UK (September 2, stateside), The Guardian reports that Blair is already climbing the bestseller charts.

Political memoirs have always been popular. Time magazine has a list of the Top Ten Political Memoirs, which while historically sweeping, is not nearly as entertaining as the Washington Post‘s nominees for the “Least Accurate Memoirs.” Recently, with publishers leaning on celebrity authors for assured sales, there’s been a glut of this once honored format. Here, we walk you through a few of the biggies. … Read More

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12 Style Icons for Fashionable Nerds

Nerds tend to overdress — probably the result of being fussed over by mothers who they were always making “so proud.” That overdressing, though well-intentioned, frequently gets out of hand. Yesterday the New York TimesBits blog spoke with Kristen Slowe, a designer who’s trying to make style simpler for the geekier males among us with her new line Saboteur. Inspired by the impending fashion revolution, we decided to comb through style site Nerd Boyfriend, and came up with this list of heroes who’ve made their nerdy fashions into classics. … Read More

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What the Book You’re Reading in Public Says About You

It happens all the time — subways, buses, trains, parks, coffee shops. It could be happening right next to you. People are reading. You can’t stop them, but you can judge them. What others enjoy reading is a window into their mind. After the jump, we’ll take you through some helpful tips on what your oh-so-literate neighbor’s book actually says about them. Feel free to add to our sweeping generalizations in the comments. … Read More

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15 Writers Who’ve Graced the Cover of Time

The cover of this week’s Time Magazine features writer Jonathan Franzen, whose new novel, Freedom, publishes at the end of August. As the New York Times points out, he’ll be the first living writer on the cover in ten years. To get there, an author must brew the perfect combination of sales, publicity, and cultural impact. (Only a small fraction of the authors on Time’s 100 Novels list ever made the cut for a spot on the cover.) After the jump, we’ll take you through the last 15 Time covers featuring a living writer, and explain what landed them there. … Read More

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What to Do When You Think You’ve Found a Banksy

Mike Holtzman and Sabrina Fitzwilliams, who run the website Barebones Detroit, were the first to spot an alleged Banksy mural of a yellow bird in a cage before it was mysteriously removed from Detroits’ Packard Plant and ended up on eBay. Though the auction page says it’s authentic, we think “authentic” is a better description, as the claim has yet to be confirmed, and Banksy’s frequently copied work is notoriously difficult to verify. That said, we’ve put together a few steps we suggest you follow should you spot what you think might be the work of Bristol’s son. … Read More

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The Greatest Novellas, Or The Best Two Hours of Your Weekend

Last week we were glad to hear that the novella is making a comeback. It’s also nice to know that people other than Ian McEwan are still writing them (On Chesil Beach is a heartbreaking and beautiful example of what he himself continues to do). But while Daily Beast fiction critic Taylor Antrim focused his lens on more recent examples of the form, we’ve decided to take a look at some classics. This is a short list about short books, so don’t get upset if your favorite isn’t here. Just add a mention in the comments. … Read More

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