Books

25 Vintage, International Book Covers for H. G. Wells’ ‘The War of the Worlds’

Happy birthday to English author H. G. Wells, one of the fathers of science fiction. His 1898 novel The War of the Worlds, about a devastating alien invasion on Earth, has been published continuously for over 100 years. Orson Welles resurrected the frightening story for his 1938 radio broadcast, narrated by the director as a news bulletin, which led to widespread panic as listeners thought the Martian invasion was real. The War of the Worlds has been adapted dozens of times, most popularly by Steven Spielberg in a 2005 film starring Tom Cruise. But the book itself lives on in the imaginations of readers everywhere. After spotting a stunning collection of War of the Worlds book covers, we selected several vintage covers that span the globe. These images represent the influence of Wells’ story throughout the decades and demonstrate how different countries absorbed the intense, interplanetary tale into the collective consciousness. … Read More

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The Comprehensive New Bill Cosby Biography Is Missing One Big Story

The facts are these: In January of 2005, a woman accused Bill Cosby of inviting her to his Pennsylvania home a year earlier, drugging her, and molesting her. In the months that followed, 12 more women accused Cosby of similar assaults, both anonymously and in television and magazine interviews, dating from 2005 to as recently as this year. The initial accuser hit the comedian and actor with a civil lawsuit; it was settled out of court in 2006 for an undisclosed sum. Those are the facts, in a single paragraph. And that’s one paragraph more than you’ll find on the matter in the entire 468-page text of Cosby, a new biography by Mark Whitaker that comes billed as “the first major biography of an American icon.” “Major,” perhaps; exhaustive, certainly, based on the hours of interviews detailed in its 29 pages of endnotes. And yet, thanks to that exclusion, Cosby certainly isn’t complete. … Read More

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‘Fart of Darkness': Sara Drake’s Hilarious Book Covers for Slightly Altered Classics

If you like literature, puns, and bathroom humor, then Sara Drake’s Recovered Classics series is sure to put a smile on your face. The Chicago-based Art Institute grad, who describes herself as a storyteller and educator, illustrated this very funny set of book covers for classics with slightly altered titles. I’m not so… Read More

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What Do This Year’s Wildly Disparate National Book Award Longlists Mean?

If you like awards, this week has been super-fun, between the MacArthur “Genius” Grants (shout out Alison Bechdel!) and the National Book Awards’ longlists in the young adult fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and fiction categories. … Read More

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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. Click through to find 50 of the… 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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