Like it or not, E. L. James’ BDSM-lite novel Fifty Shades of Grey is quickly becoming an empire. The fastest-selling paperback of all time has grossed millions and will soon be the subject of a hotly anticipated film starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson. In the meantime, one company has jumped on the bandwagon with a line of lingerie inspired by the book. We feature it past the break, along with other pop culture-inspired intimate apparel that channels your favorite films, authors, and more. … Read More
Letters of Note, the popular website that publishes exactly what its name implies, has finally put out a book filled with letters sent by everyone from Virginia Woolf to Nick Cave to Jack the Ripper. Not too surprisingly, that collection is also titled Letters of Note.
What might draw us to these letters is the fact that we just don’t send physical mail as much as we used to. Email correspondences are locked behind passwords, and no great thinkers have offered up the contents of their inbox to be published in a book (yet…). Letters of Note, both the site and this new collection, is a throwback of sorts, but the letters it publishes also help us understand famous people we are interested in, and give us a different way of looking into their thoughts. … Read More
It’s getting cold out there, and though there are a few ways of keeping warm, one which most people don’t talk about is reading a steamy book. But it can be hard to choose the right one. Most people want a book that doesn’t carry the shame of the E.L. James cover or the — let’s face it — often terrible quality of the writing of most erotica online. Here are 25 works of great, nearly-great, or at the very least significant erotic fiction of the last several centuries you could try on for size, and see if they keep your blood circulating to all available… Read More
Halloween is fast approaching, and if you’re the writerly (read: introverted, inside-cat) type, you may be experiencing some anxiety about dressing up in a costume and walking the streets. But take heart: some of your very favorite authors have been known to don a costume from time to time, too. So it must be cool, right? This slideshow is also appropriate for those itching to wear a literary costume this year but who have already worn out their Poe ravens and DFW bandannas: go meta and dress as one of your favorite authors in one of their costumes. Click through to see some amazing writers dressed to the… Read More
Don’t expect Russian students to attend sex education classes if children’s ombudsman Pavel Astakhov has anything to do with it. “The best sex education that exists is Russian literature,” he recently declared. “In fact, literature in general. Everything is there, about love and about relationships between sexes. Schools should raise children chastely and with an understanding of family values.” While we all try to wrap our minds around this troubling statement, we decided to turn to the annals of literature and see what advice famous authors have to give concerning sex. … Read More
Some people get flamed by standard-grade Internet marauders, like Republicans. It is my lot in life, however, to get flamed by incensed Georgette Heyer fans. Yesterday, I posted a list of 40 “trashy” books that included, among the likes of D.H. Lawrence and Shirley Conran, an example from Heyer, and promptly the comments were filled with protest. The complaints vary. Some people feel I was too quick to classify their favorite book — the Outlander series, or else Heyer’s Black Moth itself — as “trash,” which they understand as an insult. Others are upset that I would dare put Nin and Lawrence on a list of trash, I guess because Nin and Lawrence are branded as “literary” and “serious” even when they are writing what at least Nin openly admitted was work-for-hire that she considered inferior to her Diaries. (More on Lawrence in a bit.) … Read More
First things first: the history of the novel is already tangled up with the notion of “trash.” Peruse the great 19th-century realist novels — particularly Jane Austen’s, say — and you’ll catch characters insulting each other’s reading habits. But there are a lot of reasons to read other than intellectual elevation. Relaxation is one; keeping up with what everyone else is reading is another. Here are 40 of the greatest trashy books written in the last hundred years that, if you’re not looking for perfect prose, will surely decrease muscle tension over a weekend, or on… Read More
Happy Bastille Day! It’s the 224th anniversary of the storming of the famous Paris prison, which helped dismantled France’s repressive monarchy. If you can’t dance along the Champs-Élysées, but want to spread the Parisian pride, head past the jump for a few eloquent and adoring words from famous writers that celebrate the City of Light.
Famous authors: they once were little kids who drew pictures for their parents, just like us. Recently, a few childhood drawings of E.E. Cummings were discovered and put on display by the Massachusetts Historical Society — and while it’s not clear whether they tell us anything about the future poet’s work, they’re certainly a fun window into the life of the artist as a young boy. After the jump, see a few more early artworks by some of your favorite authors — and be sure to add any others you find to the list in the comments. … Read More
“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten,” Ralph Waldo Emerson famously quipped, “even so, they have made me.” In this new bi-weekly series, Flavorwire plays professor to some of our favorite pop culture characters, assigning reading lists tailored to their temperaments or — in some cases — designed to make them into slightly better people. After all, even fictional characters can have their lives changed by books. Or so we imagine. This week, we recommend a reading list for Don Draper. … Read More