Books

17 Unrepentantly Trashy Beach Reads for 2015

According to the National Ocean Service, almost 40 percent of the American population lives in a county located directly on a shoreline. If you then imagine America as a giant sanitation vehicle, and if you also figure that most Americans can read, then you arrive at a simple conclusion: we are all, in one way or another, human literary trashcans destined for the beach. With this in mind, here is a selection of the most interesting literary trash of 2015 so… Read More

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22 Thrilling, Imaginative, and Twisted Genre Books By Women

Potboilers, fantasy lands, murders, noir triumphs, supernatural creatures, and the twisted, thrilling, and dark imaginations that devise them are hardly a male-only literary province. Since Mary Shelley imagined Frankenstein on a night in Switzerland, women have been creating genre fiction alongside men, playing with vampires, dragons, detectives, unreliable narrators, and denizens of outer space. So pack some of these classic genre novels by women in your canvas tote and enjoy reading them this summer at the beach, the pool, or just snuggled up to your air conditioning… Read More

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Stirring Images from the First Ever Illustrated Version of Toni Morrison’s ‘Beloved’

Toni Morrison’s Beloved is widely considered the greatest of all American novels published in last quarter of the 20th century, but, until now, it has never been released as an illustrated edition — this despite the effortless magic with which Morrison invokes (or provokes) her images of postbellum black life. Thankfully, The Folio Society has now released a moving, brilliantly illustrated version of Beloved, complete with an introduction by Russell Banks. Morrison chose Banks to write about the novel, and she also selected the novel’s gifted illustrator, Joe Morse, whose work you can see below. Flavorwire talked with Mr. Morse about his approach illustrating Morrison’s masterpiece. … Read More

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HBO Announces August Debut for David Simon’s All-Star Mini-Series, ‘Show Me a Hero’

The Wire creator David Simon has teamed up with Crash director Paul Haggis for an all-star six-part HBO mini-series adaptation of Lisa Belkin’s 1988… Read More

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Shakespeare’s Real Face Is Finally Discovered! (And It’s Probably a Hoax)

Conspiracy theories concerning the identity of William Shakespeare bring together even the most disparate human beings. For example: what traits are shared between filmmakers Roland Emmerich and Jim Jarmusch other than their mutual suspicion that William Shakespeare was not, in fact, William Shakespeare? And blinding white hair? … Read More

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The Man Booker International Prize for Literature Goes to Hungarian Master László Krasznahorkai

The Hungarian master László Krasznahorkai has won the prestigious Man Booker International Prize. Author of several prizewinning novels —… Read More

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New BBC One Drama Will Capture the “Tragedy and Passion” of the Brontë Sisters

The tragically short lives of all three Brontë sisters (Charlotte, Emily and Anne) — and their alcohol and drug-addicted brother,… Read More

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Will Our Robot Overlords Be Freer Than Us? A Philosophical Investigation

Give the British a perfectly normal story about robots, and they will turn it into a disquisition on freedom. In the recent posthumanist film Ex Machina, director Alex Garland does just that: when a brilliant programmer builds an artificially intelligent creature named Ava, it isn’t long before she kills everyone and flees headlong from captivity. But when she exits the compound, is she truly free? … Read More

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In Defense of “Indulgent” Art

Recently, I watched Lost in Translation for the first time. (I know, I know.) Lying in my dark bedroom afterwards, flooded with emotion, I pawed through the Internet for more conversation. A couple years ago, on the tenth anniversary of the film’s release, The Daily Beast interviewed Sofia Coppola. The interviewer asked about Lost in Translation’s cult following, and Coppola — who had based the film on her own visits to Tokyo in her 20s — said, “I was just writing these little notes about stuff that happened to me, or what I thought, and I didn’t think anyone was going to be interested, so it’s really a surprise to me that that many people have seen it and that it did as well as it did. I felt like it was really indulgent, so yeah, it was a surprise. And it’s still surprising to me.”

I started thinking about that word, indulgent, which — along with self-indulgent — has come to represent something very, very bad where art is concerned. Why is it, I started to wonder, that we think indulgence, and indulgent art, are worthy of such… Read More

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Literature as a Chain Letter Among Friends: On the Fantasy of Critical Distance

Over the weekend, New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan lightly chided the editorial staff of the paper’s book review for a perceived imbalance in the way it chooses its reviewers. At issue is a question of intimacy or closeness. “How Close Is Too Close?” the article’s title asks (mirroring the oppressively Socratic form of the Review’s Bookends column). When a reviewer knows the book’s author, does this constitute a conflict of interest? … Read More

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