“It’s About Connecting With the Darkness”: Thriller Authors Elizabeth Little and Abigail Haas on Writing Complicated Women

In the wake of Gillian Flynn’s success with Gone Girl, the bestselling book that will soon be a David Fincher movie, a slew of smart, satisfying thrillers have appeared that focus on complicated women. Two excellent examples include the recent Dear Daughter, by Elizabeth Little, and Abigail Haas‘ two young adult thrillers, the new-in-paperback Dangerous Girls and the just-released Dangerous Boys. Little and Haas feel like thriller sisters under the flesh. Both came to the genre after publishing other kinds of books — two nonfiction books about linguistics in Little’s case (Biting the Wax Tadpole and Trip of the Tongue), and young adult romance for Haas (she is the author of several books for Candewick under the name Abby McDonald, and also works as a successful romance writer under the name Melody Grace). … Read More

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Where Is Today’s Literary Brat Pack?

Thirty years ago today, Vintage Books published Bright Lights, Big City, a semi-autobiographical, cocaine-fueled journey through ‘80s New York written by a 29-year-old Jay McInerney. Three years later, McInerney was famously anointed (or condemned) by the Village Voice as part of the “literary brat pack,” alongside Bret Easton Ellis and Tama Janowitz and a selection of other orbiting talents. … Read More

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Haruki Murakami’s ‘Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki’ and the Emo Pleasures of His Endless Clichés

It’s an old cliché to speak of Haruki Murakami’s old clichés, all the talking cats and simple meals and favorite LPs. There’s a Murakami drinking game and interactive Murakami Bingo and a generic Murakami parody titled “The Mysterious Disappearance of the Strangely Beautiful Woman.” In the Japanese literary superstar’s latest, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, the stylizations arrive right on schedule for the trainspotters. But, in a silent way, Murakami seems both self-aware of his tics and comfortably at play with them, constructing his familiar and elaborate dreaminess from the usual materials. Especially compared to 2011’s massive 1Q84, Tsukuru is one of Murakami’s more earthbound efforts — spoiler: no talking cats — though the weirdness builds on itself with a masterful sleight of hand, anyway. … Read More

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Jess Row’s ‘Your Face in Mine’ Is a Provocative Commentary on the Plasticity of Race

“Is Race Plastic?” the cover of New York Magazine asked last week. In “My Trip Into the Ethnic Plastic Surgery Minefield,” writer Maureen O’Connor explores a niche collection of surgical procedures that can alter the shape of a person’s face and the racial information coded there. It’s a disquieting idea: “Doctors comfortable advertising their expertise in ethnic plastic surgery are growing wealthy creasing Asian eyelids, pushing sloped foreheads forward, and pulling prominent mouths back.” What makes it unnerving, however, is the many, many repercussions that these surgeries have, and what they say about what we think about race, beauty standards, and what constitutes your ethnic identity. … Read More

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Whimsical Animated GIFs of Illustrations From the Smithsonian Library

Here at Flavorwire, we are Very Serious About Books — but that doesn’t mean we’re above a cheerful giggle now and then, and we were provided with such by these animated GIFs of illustration from the very old and very serious tomes of the Smithsonian. We spotted the pictures at HuffPost, but they’re the work of the library itself, and they’re at their best when they’re at their silliest (the Uncommon Flying Squirrel, for instance). Hopefully they’ll make your Monday afternoon just a tiny bit more bearable. You’re welcome. … Read More

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Martin Scorsese’s New York Review of Books Documentary Premieres on HBO in September

“The adventure of thought and the sensuality of ideas,” is what interested director and legend Martin Scorsese about the idea of documenting… Read More

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A Brief History of Inappropriately Invoking George Orwell

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better.” This is a quote from George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language,” and it could lead one to say, “Hey, you know, the way people inappropriately call things Orwellian all the time is, like, totally Orwellian!” But let’s not say that, because it would be silly. Instead, in view of Amazon’s hilarious misappropriation of an Orwell quote in its ongoing battle with Hachette, it might be more fun to take a look at a few of the many times in recent memory when Orwell’s memory has been used and abused. Take a look after the jump, but watch out for Big Brother. … Read More

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Watch LeVar Burton Teach Kids About Twitter in ‘Tweeting Rainbow’

Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton (ie, everyone’s favorite person ever) appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Friday night to read… Read More

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Michael Harris’ ‘The End of Absence': Why Books on Living With the Internet So Often Disappoint

It feels like there’s a new book every month coming out to tell us that the Internet era is our Industrial Revolution — it’s changing everything! — and enumerating the many ways in which our jobs, our social lives, and the way that we interact with the world on a day-to-day basis are different — or “disrupted” — when we can carry in our pocket a device that connects us to the world. … Read More

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6 Great Examples of Dirty and Gritty American Fiction

In the introduction to the latest (and best issue in quite some time) of Granta, “American Wild,” editor Sigrid Rausing tells a story about hitting the open road across America in the early 1980s and coming to the realization that, “this is America: a genuinely wild land.” The anecdote got us to thinking about books that really capture the raw beauty, as well as the dangers, that America has to offer from sea to shining sea. These are novels that especially evoke mental imagery of broken down towns, large swaths of wilderness, and other places you might not want to get lost in. … Read More

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