Female Friendship Is Life’s Great, Thwarted Romance in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels

The more entrenched in adult life I become, the more spending time with my oldest girlfriends is a relief, akin to sinking into a pool on a hot day. Mostly, this is because it’s impossible to feel self-conscious in front of those who knew you when braces and social humiliation were the order of the day. The fronts we all put on at work or at parties (or now, for some, with the babysitter) melt away. … Read More

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25 Essential Books About Death and Grief

If there’s one thing that every human on this earth has in common, it is that, at some point, we will have to deal with death. And while the contours of grief are different in every case, it is a comfort in a wild epoch to know that there are books out there, nonfiction and fiction, memoirs and beyond, that can provide something like comfort and succor. Here are 25 books that look straight into the face of death and reveal something new about what it’s like to be alive, saddled with that terrible knowledge that, someday, we will… Read More

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Notoriously Difficult Literary Classics, Transformed Into Popular Page-Turners

British novelist Fay Weldon may have come up with a solution to the ever-simmering genre wars. Writers, she said, should simply write two versions of their books, one meaty and contemplative for print, and one racier for Kindle. … Read More

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5 Noir Classics That Inspired ‘Dark Rooms’ Author Lili Anolik

Dark Rooms, the debut novel by Lili Anolik, is the sort of mystery that you will rip through in a night. Early on, narrator Grace Baker quotes Edgar Allen Poe: “The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world.” For Grace, however, it’s not so poetic — her beautiful younger sister, Nica, was murdered on the grounds of their prep school, upending Grace’s life. In the aftermath of the killing, Grace is seeing things through a haze of prescription drugs, a college dropout obsessed with solving the crime. … Read More

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50 Great Books About 50 Inspiring Women

There’s never a bad time to read about historically badass ladies, but since March is Women’s History Month, now is a particularly perfect moment to bust out your library card and take in some stories of women who’ve changed art, culture, and history as we know it. Here you’ll find 50 great biographies and autobiographies of famous, fascinating, and inspiring women, from Frida Kahlo to Mina Loy to Marie… Read More

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Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘The Buried Giant’ and the Tyranny of Genre Fiction

Is Kazuo Ishiguro’s new novel, The Buried Giant, a work of genre literature? Is Beowulf? In February, the author mortified genre fans everywhere by suggesting that the novel, which makes mention of she-dragons and ogres, is not a work of fantasy. “Will readers follow me into this?” Ishiguro wondered aloud for the New York Times. “Will they understand what I’m trying to do, or will they be prejudiced against the surface elements? Are they going to say this is fantasy?” … Read More

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Read Three Poems From Sarah Blake’s “Unauthorized Lyric Biography of Kanye West”

Sarah Blake‘s new book of poetry, Mr. West, is an “unauthorized lyric biography of Kayne West,” where the rapper serves as the muse for Blake’s poetry. Blake spends years thinking about West as father, son, boyfriend, husband, celebrity, genius. Through her poetry, Kanye becomes as sharp and multifaceted as a diamond, with a reflection that changes every time you look at it. Released on March 9, Mr. West is a unique and risky book. We’re happy to excerpt three of Blake’s poems — a selection that deals with Taylor Swift, the MTV Movie Awards, and “I Am a God.” Click through to read them. … Read More

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