Books

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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Nothing Is Embarrassing: On Kim Kardashian’s Strangely Liberating Book of Selfies

Selfish, Kim Kardashian’s new 445-page book of selfies, is a bit of a party trick. Pull out the compact, three-pound art book at a social function, and people clamor to flip through the hundreds of near-identical selfies that chart Kim’s evolution both as a human and as a brand (is there a difference?). Some took a meta selfie with the book, Kim’s damp bosom and dewy face overshadowing their own smiles in the foreground. … Read More

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Why Do We Re-Read Our Favorite Books as Kids, and Why Do We Stop When We Get Older?

As an avid young reader, I tore through every Nancy Drew book — both the originals and the cheap paperback updates — twice, experiencing my favorites up to five or six times. Even more sacred was my semi-annual ritual of re-experiencing all of L.M. Montgomery’s major novels, including the entire eight-book Anne of Green Gables series, alternating with my personal favorite, Emily of New Moon, and its two sequels. For weeks I would go back to Prince Edward Island and dwell with those characters. This journey was supplemented by a solemn re-reading of The Lord of the Rings every four or five years, an experience so intense that my dreams would begin to look like Peter Jackson’s set designs, even before those designs existed. As I got older, I switched out some of these childhood classics for adult ones, going back through the “Austen six” again and again, while also making a point of re-watching my favorite Austen miniseries and the Lord of the Rings films in marathon fashion. … Read More

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