A. M. Homes

For Your Calendar: Fran Lebowitz Being Fran Lebowitz

Some people say Woody Allen, others still cite Carrie Bradshaw; some people move to New York intending to see if it’s actually anything like a Velvet Underground song, while others think they can arrive as a modern-day Holly Golightly — but before anybody moves to New York, most have one or two people, real or fictional, that they hold up as the best example of how one should look, act, and talk when living in the Big Apple. I call this the New York Spirit Guide, and before I made the move to New York a decade ago, mine was (and still is) Fran Lebowitz. Although it is very un-Fran Lebowitzlike to admit something like this in a public forum, I feel that with her upcoming PEN World Voices event,where she’ll be speaking with the very great novelist A.M. Homes this Friday, a little Fran appreciation is due. … Read More

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36 Famous Writers on Philip Roth’s Retirement

In the course of creating our list of New York’s 100 Most Important Living Writers, we reached out to a few of said figures to ask them a couple questions, including the query of the hour: “How do you feel about Philip Roth retiring?” We got a lot of responses — some quippy, some heartfelt, some sad, some glad (it’s true), and more than one with a theory on Roth’s true plans, which any of you in mourning will be glad to attach yourselves to. See what writers like Junot Díaz, Gay Talese, A.M. Homes and Gary Shteyngart had to say about the great man’s retirement after the jump — and if you’re so inclined, share your own, less famous feelings in the comments. … Read More

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10 New Must Reads for September

Fall is always a huge season for the publishing industry. It makes sense: all those back to school feelings making everyone long for stacks of books to carry around, the holiday season right around the corner, beach-goers ready to read Big Serious Fiction again. But this first fall month is a particularly huge one, with a slew of modern masters (Chabon, Smith, Díaz, Rowling, Rushdie) publishing meaty books that we can’t wait to get our hands on. If you’re feeling that wistful back to school reading urge — or just looking for something to hide in the jacket of your chemistry book this fall — we’ve got just the ticket. Click through to check out our list of the books we’re most excited about this month, and let us know which ones are calling your name in the… Read More

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The Chateau Marmont: A Brief Cultural History

Any project with both Aaron Sorkin and John Krasinski behind it has our attention. But we were especially intrigued to learn last week that the pair are working with HBO on a miniseries about Hollywood’s most famous (and perhaps its most notorious) hotel, the Chateau Marmont. With its lavish bungalows and soundproof rooms, it’s long been a haven for celebrities behaving badly. Built in 1929 as an apartment complex and transformed into a hotel in 1931, the Chateau’s racy reputation was set by 1939, when Columbia Pictures honcho advised his talent,”If you must get in trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont.” In anticipation of Sorkin and Krasinski’s miniseries, we’ve put together a brief cultural history of the hotel, from funny stories to tragic deaths. … Read More

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Wonderful Books Featuring Unlikeable Protagonists

We live in a culture where we’re supposed to all like each other, at least on Facebook. But what happens when our authors write unlikeable characters? Some of the protagonists below are beyond unlikeable — they are murderers, molesters, and unrepentant abusers — the Raskolnikovs of contemporary literature (with one throwback included in the list). How are we supposed to relate to someone who does reprehensible things and rarely looks back? Do we read on, or do we throw the book against the wall in exasperation? We wrote about morally questionable authors last week, but think it’s time to examine the voice and actions of main characters this time around, because it can be difficult to get through a novel when you can’t stand the person you’re reading about. … Read More

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10 More Disturbing Novels for Your Reading Pleasure

Last month, we ran a highly contentious list of disturbing novels and short stories, from Flannery O’Connor’s 1955 classic, “A Good Man is Hard To Find,” to Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho. This month, we’ve combed through the comments in order to find our favorite disturbing book suggestions from readers who had a bone to pick with our original choices. The following list contains an assortment of writers from our fair nation as well as a few key stories from abroad, and all of the stories included are guaranteed to disturb. An especially well-read commenter suggested the surreal poetic novel/poem Les Chants de Maldoror, which offers the following warning to readers: “The lethal fumes of this book shall dissolve his soul as water does sugar.” So get ready to toss and turn tonight, because these books are meant to unsettle. … Read More

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