Here’s a secret: a lot of famous authors are, well, kind of badass. That is, they’re even more badass than you assume, if you’re the kind of person who thinks it’s already fairly cool to be a great writer. Or maybe they just got caught in some really good light. Either way, here are some… Read More
Summertime is upon us: sticky subway rides, backyard barbecues, and a general lack of solid television. You should be outside anyway! I know, hilarious. But instead of binge-watching something old on Netflix, why not binge-read a great book series? You’ll get all the enjoyment of sticking with characters for hours and hours, through complicated, folding plots, and you can make it so Hugh Dancy plays every role (what do books look like in your mind?). Plus, you know, you can totally read these outside. Here are 25 awesome literary series to read this… Read More
Recently over at Slate, Gabriel Roth made a very good argument for the basic awfulness of Janette Sebring Lowrey’s The Poky Little Puppy, postulating that the only reason that book and books like it persist in our cultural consciousness is because of the nostalgia effect — my mom read this to me, so I’d better read it to my kids, etc. But there is another way! Why not replace some of those canonical (but actually boring, or lame, or morally questionable) kids’ books with some better ones, and stop the nostalgia cycle in its tracks? To that end, please find below a list of canonical children’s books that could be retired, and which books, new and old, to read… Read More
Earth Day is upon us, and you know what that means: time to pick up the trash in your neighborhood, or hug a tree, or at least think a little bit about your carbon footprint. Not exactly your cup of tea? Then how about reading one of these novels (er, and two short story collections and one children’s book), each guaranteed to turn you into some kind of environmentalist, whether by scare tactics (post-apocalyptic climate nightmare!) or straight wooing (look at all these pretty plants and things!). And, we promise, none of these is as boring as Walden. Celebrate Earth Day from the comfort of your couch this year, and next year… well, who knows?
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Everyone knows that princesses are really lame. That is, the typical pop culture princess — all baubles and fancy dresses and complete lack of agency — is really lame. But luckily, some princesses break the mold (or even break the bones of their enemies). This week, we’ve been hearing a lot about The Princess Who Saved Herself, a book that “reinvents the princess myth” for the modern girl, so it seemed like a good time to take a look at a few other badass princesses you might not have heard of (yet). Sound the royal trumpets and make way: here come ten princesses who are the opposite of lame — some fictional, some historical, all… Read More
Sometimes, it seems as though the arguments about genre — be it poetry vs. fiction, fiction vs. nonfiction, literary fiction vs. SF vs. fantasy vs. mystery vs. vs. vs. — will never end. So why not just take yourself off the board entirely? After all, marketing professionals aside, does anyone really care what genre they’re reading if the book is good? After the jump, 50 genre-bending novels guaranteed to enthrall you, whether you’re a literary fiction snob or a die-hard fantasy nerd. Enjoy without judgements!
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Not so much into March Madness? Well, perhaps you should look at it another way. March is the perfect month for reading books about madness — it is a transitional time, after all, possessed of both lion and lamb. Plus, you’ll have ample reading time, both outside and inside. The books herein, it should be noted, are those that deal with a kind of literary madness — obsession and absurdity and hallucination — not directly focusing on mental illness proper, whenever the two can be separated. So you won’t find The Bell Jar or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or The Yellow Wallpaper here, though those are all excellent… Read More
There’s never a bad time to read about historically badass ladies, but since March is Women’s History Month, now is a particularly perfect moment to bust out your library card and take in some stories of women who’ve changed art, culture, and history as we know it. Here you’ll find 50 great biographies and autobiographies of famous, fascinating, and inspiring women, from Frida Kahlo to Mina Loy to Marie… Read More
Chocolate! Flowers! Little beady-eyed bears holding plush hearts! No, put down your sugarcoated wallets: these are no gifts for the culture connoisseur you so ardently adore. Instead, why not earn your kisses with something a little more creative, a little more interesting, and (probably) a little more useful? Here’s a selection of romantic and culturally relevant V-Day gifts for your plugged-in sweetie. You’re… Read More
Everyone knows that, statistically at least, girls read more than boys. But the classic, canonical growing-up books, at least in American culture, tend to represent the male experience — I’m thinking On the Road, The Catcher in the Rye, everything ever written by Bret Easton Ellis or Michael Chabon — and while these are great books, suitable for boys or girls, the question remains: where are the books for girls to grow up on? Well, they’re definitely out there, if perhaps assigned less often in schools to readers of both genders. And so I propose a Girl Canon, populated by books not necessarily for girls but which investigate, address, or represent the female experience in some essential… Read More