Books

50 Essential Cult Novels

Just what is a cult novel? Well, like so many literary terms, the edges blur whenever you try to look right at them, but in the end, you sort of know one when you read one. Sometimes a cult novel is one that the critics panned but the fans love, or sometimes it’s one that both readers and critics love, but a certain contingent of readers really love. Any book with a squadron of rabid fans swearing that it changed their lives quickly seems cultish. Cult novels often come from the fringes, they often represent countercultural perspectives, they often experiment with form. Here are 50 of the… Read More

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Introducing Flavorwire Author Club’s July Selection: Nora Ephron

When we talk about Nora Ephron, it’s difficult not to think of her first as a filmmaker, second as a writer. Sure, you might love Wallflower at the Orgy or Heartburn, but Ephron’s brand of smart, cosmopolitan rom-com will probably remain her most celebrated legacy. … Read More

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Why Does Women’s Confessional Writing Get People So Riled Up?

It feels so weird to write this sentence, but Katie Roiphe is completely, totally right: if Karl Ove Knausgaard were a woman writing as meanderingly and passionately about the minutiae of life, the reviews of My Struggle would be much different. Certainly, as Roiphe observes at Slate, “what in a male writer appears as courage or innovation or literary heroics would be read, in a woman, even by the liberal, enlightened, and literary, as hubris or worse.” … Read More

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J.K. Rowling’s Newest Story Caters to a Harry Potter Audience That’s All Grown Up

No shade to The Hunger Games or John Green, but no YA phenomenon is ever likely to recapture the sheer scope of the mid-aughts Harry Potter craze. With seven core books, multiple spin-offs, eight movies, an amusement park, and at least one more film written by J.K. Rowling herself, the Potter franchise is almost as impressive for its longevity as for its initial popularity. Part of the Harry Potter books’ long shelf life is thanks to Rowling’s impressive willingness to keep fans supplied with new information via the gradual rollout of fan site Pottermore. The updates are mostly tidbits of wizard history in the form of world-building details or character bios, but today Pottermore unveiled the mother lode: a 1,500-word update on Harry’s life, in the form of a delightfully passive-aggressive dispatch from gossip reporter and occasional beetle Rita Skeeter.  … Read More

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Flavorwire Author Club: Jane Bowles’ ‘Two Serious Ladies’ Gone Wild

There’s a famous saying about the ethos of Seinfeld, and how it broke all the rules with a mere four words: “No hugging, no learning.” The characters didn’t evolve; we did. We watched Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer run amok in New York City, trying not to masturbate, figuring out the rules of soup, and getting lost in the parking lot, and the results were, much of the time, as modern as can be. … Read More

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Rainbow Rowell Is the Next YA Sensation Adults Need to Know

It hasn’t taken very long for Rainbow Rowell to become a familiar name at the bookstore. Since her first book, the funny and sad adult epistolary novel-in-emails Attachments, in 2011, and the twin young adult behemoths of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, both published in 2013, the Nebraska-based author has quickly become a favorite of discerning readers and “fangirls” alike. She has an ardent, passionate fanbase, so much so that it’s difficult to find a head shot of Rowell in Google Image Search; rather, there’s page after page of photos of her posing with fans, and fan art featuring quotes from her books and hand-drawn pictures of her characters. … Read More

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London’s “Books About Town” Turns Iconic Literary Works Into Public Art

As of yesterday, the citizens of London can take a breather on one of 50 “Books About Town,” a collaboration between the National Literacy Trust and public art organization Wild in Art. Each book-shaped bench is decorated with an artist’s rendition of works such as Alex Rider and War Horse, running the gamut from contemporary subway reads to longtime favorites. Click through for a sampling of our favorites, including tributes to Charles Darwin and Bridget Jones. … Read More

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Book of the Week: ‘Magic for Beginners’ by Kelly Link

Since there’s a holiday weekend coming up, this feels like a particularly appropriate time to talk about and celebrate Kelly Link — and more specifically Magic for Beginners, one of the best short story collections to come out in the last decade. Originally published by the smaller press Mariner Books in 2005, the book has just been reissued by Random House in anticipation of Link’s upcoming collection, due out in 2015. Though Magic for Beginners came out a little bit before the recent vogue for short stories, it — like the author herself — already has its devotees. In fact, Link has been praised up and down by big-name authors, counting everybody from Neil Gaiman to Karen Russell, Peter Straub, and Lev Grossman among her fans. And although she earns the sort of high praise that follows writers who’ve earned the insufferable “writer’s writer” tag, she’s also found that rare sweet spot of being both a true literary talent and a storyteller whose imagination seems to know no limits. … Read More

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8 More African-Born Writers You Should Be Reading

Fiction can be a revealing window into cultures that are unfamiliar to us — and reading the work of an author who lives in another country or was born across the world from us can elucidate a different point of view. Whether it be a country’s political situation, the lexicon, the history, or the people, immersing oneself in the fiction of a specific nation, region, or even an entire content can provide an opportunity to better understand other places and experiences. And, as a recent New York Times article noted, this is an especially great time for literature from Africa and by authors who were born there: … Read More

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