Books

50 of the Greatest Characters in Literature

One of the things literature does better than almost any other medium is allow us to experience another person’s quality of mind, and sometimes even inhabit it. It follows, then, that every avid reader has a favorite literary character — whether they’re beloved for dastardly deeds, tough-girl antics, sex appeal, or a high snark quotient — and that there are many impossibly good ones out there. After the jump, you’ll find 50 of the best. To be clear: a great character isn’t always one you like (just ask Claire Messud), but one that is somehow extraordinary, or evokes some kind of delicious story-feeling in the reader. As always, this list reflects the personal tastes and proclivities of its creator, and many great characters didn’t make the cut (Jo March, Huck Finn, Merusault, Anne Shirley, looking at you), so if your favorite isn’t on here, and them on in the comments. … Read More

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Why Is Jealousy So Boring in the Age of Clickbait?

In an article for Salon, Nathan Rabin — a journalist and author who’s worked for The A.V. Club and The Dissolve, while publishing four books ranging from a memoir to a Weird Al coffee table book — confesses that he has a raging case of jealousy regarding young adult superstar John Green. Ten years ago, Rabin and Green were knocking around Chicago at the same time, in the same dopey place in their lives, both occasionally appearing at a reading series called Funny Ha Ha. Green would, as Rabin noted, read the same essay about getting a colonoscopy, and once he was done reading, he’d sit right up front and laugh at everything Rabin would read, whether it was good or not. Green was generous. … Read More

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‘Underwater Puppies’ Are the Cutest Thing You’ll See Today

Photographer Seth Casteel has found himself a delightful, bestselling niche with his underwater animals series — even if it’s just dogs for now. His new book, Underwater Puppies (a sequel, naturally, to Underwater Dogs), is the cutest thing, with joyful photos of goofy, tiny puppies enjoying swimming for the first time, and Casteel capturing it all on film. It’s adorable, and we’ve got a sample below. … Read More

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National Book Awards Nonfiction Longlist Announced, But Is It Relevant?

All week the National Book Awards have been announcing its venerated longlists for its awards in various categories, including young… Read More

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‘Love Me Back’ by Merritt Tierce Is as Unsparing as the Best of Lana Del Rey

When it comes to enjoying the music of Lana Del Rey, I’ve never been happier to be an ex-music journalist. I don’t have to overthink her place in society, what it means that she was pitched as “indie” but turned out to have been a chancer going on ten years in the industry; maybe an industry puppet, maybe her own vision, maybe who knows (or cares). As a civilian, I get to enjoy the music of Lana Del Rey for what it offers: widescreen drama, with an unsparing, complicated and often submissive woman in the center of these sad songs. … Read More

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The Borges Library, Now in Wordsearch Form

In 1941, Jorge Luis Borges wrote his famous short story “The Library Of Babel,” in which every possible book… Read More

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25 Mountain Goats Songs That Could Be John Darnielle’s Next Novel

This week, John Darnielle will publish his first novel, the psychological thriller Wolf in White Van. This is of note because Darnielle has already released hundreds of narratives, but most in the form of songs with his band The Mountain Goats (he also previously penned a 33 1/3 book on Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality). The novel seems like an inevitability from the man whose music has always leaned literary, and got us thinking about some of the very best stories he has told within his music, and how the tales have become the backbone of one of the very best catalogs any songwriter in contemporary music has to offer. … Read More

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Edward Gorey’s Vintage Paperback Covers for Doubleday Anchor

Writer, illustrator, spooky legend of the macabre and noted cat lover Edward Gorey spent the 1950s as the art editor for Doubleday’s new editions of Anchor paperbacks concerning serious and academic novels. According to Goreyography, the artist was responsible for the total cover package with the lettering, typography, design layouts, and in some cases, the art (other artists also contributed illustrations for this series, including the likes of Milton Glaser and Andy Warhol). We first saw these covers via Austin Kleon’s website, and do check it out: there’s a wonderful collection of 90-plus Gorey-era Doubleday Anchor paperbacks on Flickr. See a small sampling below. … Read More

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