Books

Book of the Week: Mark Dery’s ‘I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts’

Every year, I’m grateful to read one or two new essay collections that truly takes a scalpel to American culture, peeling back the layers and examining all the grossness that’s underneath. Mark Dery’s I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams does a thorough job of that, without even pretending to offer up any solutions. Dery simply presents his thoughts in a searing, often funny manner, lets it all out, and walks away casually. … Read More

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Kurt Cobain Reading List: The Essential Books, Interviews, and Photos

I truly believe that there is very little left to say about Kurt Cobain.

In the 20 years since his suicide, we’ve searched for meaning in his actions on April 5, 1994, and most certainly in his actions before that day. Two generations — Gen X and millennials — idolize this man, who, despite dying just as Web 1.0 was taking hold, has become one of the Internet’s most discussed musical figures ever. Every anniversary — be it Kurt’s birthday, his deathday, every Nirvana album, grunge as a genre — must be celebrated with a rumination on Kurt Cobain. To which I counter: does the world need so-called new thoughts on Kurt when so many great ones already exist? … Read More

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Classic Book Covers Redesigned for X-Men

You’d have to imagine that, being holed up in that big mansion in Westchester County, Cyclops, Storm, Beast, and, of course, Wolverine, would need something to do to pass the time. Obviously, reading is always a good way to fill up those hours when you aren’t training to battle Magneto. Chad Miller, who created discovered these mutant-friendly books featuring laser eyes and claws made of Adamantium, has collected some of the best books for people with special abilities at his Tumblr, X-Men Classics, and we’re happy to present a few of our favorites. … Read More

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Why the ‘Realistic’ Young Adult Movie Is Coming Back

With the news that the movie rights to Rainbow Rowell’s stealth young adult hit Eleanor and Park got picked up by a big studio like Dreamworks, it’s time to start paying attention to a new trend of young adult adaptations of realistic teen stories. After all, these books take teen concerns seriously with a tone that hasn’t been seen since the heyday of John Hughes. … Read More

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Why Kurt Cobain Was the Last Rock Star: An Interview With Charles R. Cross

When Kurt Cobain killed himself on April 8, 1994, music journalist Charles R. Cross was in his office at the Seattle magazine The Rocket, “trying to figure out why Courtney Love kept putting off the interview she had promised us that week.” Later, he found out that Courtney was searching for Kurt, who had disappeared from rehab. … Read More

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Exploring the Life and Literary Work of Lydia Davis’ Mother, Hope Hale Davis

As fast as I’ll read anything on Lydia Davis, her writing, her translating process, or that rare spell she has been able to cast on readers (myself included), the thing that may have interested me most about Dana Goodyear’s New Yorker profile of Davis from a few weeks ago wasn’t about the author “assuming a kind of yenta voice” or translating Swann’s Way into English. I was most intrigued by the part early on about Davis’ mother, Hope Hale Davis, who Goodyear tells us “wrote fiction for women’s magazines and occasionally for The New Yorker.… Read More

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The 50 Best Southern Novels Ever Written

The American South has long been seen as the focus of the country’s Civil Rights Movement, carrying with it the stigma of poverty, racism, and anti-intellectualism. Yet the region has also produced a disproportionate number of intellectuals, poets, and writers, possibly because of the complicated and layered identities each Southerner holds within him- or herself. The South has begotten some of our nation’s most important authors, including prize winners like William Styron, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Ralph Ellison, Harper Lee, and that titan of American letters, William Faulkner. These 50 novels are a reminder that the South cannot be defined solely by its failings; it is also responsible for shaping the minds of countless thinkers who offered to American literature essential insights about not only their region but the world at… Read More

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