Books

National Book Awards Go to Louise Glück, Phil Klay, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Jacqueline Woodson

On Wednesday evening, Louise Glück, Phil Klay, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Jacqueline Woodson took home the National Book Award, one of… Read More

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50 Great Dark Books for the Dark Days of Winter

We’ve reached the time of year when the days seem impossibly short and the nights never ending. Good if you’re a vampire or like to go to sleep early, less exciting for the rest of us. So what is one to do with all this extra darkness? Well, read some dark books, of course. Because there’s nothing better to cut through the literal gloom than to curl up with some intellectual doom. All you need is a tiny light to see your book by. Read on for 50 gloriously dark novels to read during these dark days. After a while, you may even stop wishing for the light to… Read More

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Watch Toni Morrison Be Delightful, Wise, Everything Great on the ‘Colbert Report’

Toni Morrison, Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author of Song of SolomonBeloved, The Bluest Eye, and so much more, appeared on… Read More

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Is Amanda Palmer’s ‘The Art of Asking’ Good For Artists?

The idea of reading Amanda Palmer’s book The Art of Asking: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help sounded faintly ridiculous — could I, too, learn the art of asking, just like Palmer, and maybe reach $1 million for my Kickstarter project? But as it turns out, Palmer’s book, an offshoot of her popular TED talk, “The Art of Asking,” isn’t really a how-to; it’s more along the lines of a memoir. Palmer figured out a strategy that works for her as an artist, and despite the fact that she’s undeniably divisive as a public persona, there is some wisdom in her ideas for artists and, arguably, women. … Read More

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‘Frank’ Screenwriter Peter Straughan to Pen ‘The Goldfinch’ Screenplay

Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch was a shoo-in for a movie adaptation. It’s got art theft, it’s got terrorism, it’s got drugs, it’s got… Read More

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What ‘Mockingjay–Part 1′ Misses by Glossing Over Katniss’ Trauma

Throughout much of Mockingjay, the third novel in the Hunger Games series, the unraveling of Katniss Everdeen’s mind takes over the page. Even from the beginning, she strokes a pearl that Peeta found in the arena in Catching Fire and often repeats variations of her mantra: “My name is Katniss Everdeen. I am seventeen years old. My home is District 12. I was in The Hunger Games. I escaped. The Capitol hates me. Peeta was taken prisoner. He is thought to be dead. Most likely is dead. It is probably best if he is dead.” Later in the book, she plays a game with the recovered but mentally unstable Peeta, “real or not real?,” as his mind comes back from the brink. … Read More

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A Love Letter to the Modern World: On Emily St. John Mandel’s ‘Station Eleven’

Historically, prestigious prizes like the National Book Award are reserved for realist fiction, or at least historical fiction from a realist angle; and, for many of us, these books can make for dull reading. Thankfully, it appears that the tide is turning towards a wider variety of voices, settings — and genres. Most indicative of this turn is the recent success of Canadian author Emily St. John Mandel’s post-apocalyptic novel Station Eleven, which was shortlisted for the National Book Award in October. The winner will be announced on November 19. … Read More

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8 Books That Illuminate the Crisis in Mexico

“Mexico is on the brink,” the LA Times wrote last week, “and America is largely oblivious.” On November 7th, after more than a month of confusion over what became of the 43 missing students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School in Guerrero, Mexico, Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam announced that they had been executed and incinerated in the municipal dump of Cocula. The news, according to Francisco Goldman at the New Yorker, only deepens the feelings of “horror, indignation, sadness, disgust, and fear” for Mexicans, who are left wondering why anyone would murder so many innocents, who were apparently stopping in the city to get gas for a trip. … Read More

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Progressive, Tea Party, or Anarchist: Whose Side Is Katniss Really On?

Since I began turning its pages, I assumed The Hunger Games was a rallying cry for like-minded progressives and radicals. This was thanks to its pretty upfront indictment of state-inflicted violence and, in particular, of hunger caused by gross economic inequality. Occupy Panem! I thought. Redistribute the wealth! … Read More

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Celebrate Margaret Atwood’s 75th Birthday With Her Best Writing Advice

Margaret Atwood can do anything. The legendary Canadian writer has left her mark in a plurality of forms and genres. Best known for her brilliant novels, she can write horrifying, prophetic speculative fiction (The Handmaid’s Tale), show us the complicated truth about female friendships (Alias Grace), and even reflect humanity’s trajectory right back at us (the Oryx and Crake trilogy). … Read More

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