If you only know one thing about Fifty Shades of Grey — well, one thing besides that it’s a wildly popular BDSM novel with a film adaptation due out Friday — it’s probably that E.L. James’ bestseller isn’t very good. Critics, when they deign to consider its literary merits, haven’t been kind; a few years ago, it even became a common pastime for journalists and talk-show hosts to make celebrities read its notoriously awkward sex scenes aloud.
Back-to-school time is upon us, and for many, that means reading for pleasure will give way to burning through that syllabus. Classrooms, especially high school classrooms (college classes are becoming so weird and specific nowadays that you could read just about anything in them), suffer from the “classic effect” — which is exactly what it sounds like. Not that there’s anything wrong with literary classics, and they definitely should be read, but there’s so much more out there. And when you consider the fact that one-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives — well, it would be nice if they had a little more to go on than The Great Gatsby. After the jump, find a selection of books you’ll (probably) never read in high school, but should still read, and add your own favorite anti-schoolbooks to the list in the comments.
A scandal is a thrilling topic for a book. It is the story of people with goals, grasping for something just out of their reach — and whether they get it or not, when the story reaches the public eye, they’re judged and put under glass. Whether they’re about politicians wheeling and dealing or gory looks into the end of the affair, books about scandal, fueled by gossip, keep us entertained and hungry for more. Here are ten such books that Olivia Pope herself might keep on her bedside …Read More
“Poverty is the great reality. That is why the artist seeks it.” I read that Anaïs Nin quote on a bathroom wall that I was supposed to scrub clean at the coffee shop I worked at after I decided to be one of those would-be writers that picked New York in the MFA vs. NYC battle. I had a bucket filled with chemicals and water that chapped my hands, and a terrifying boss who screamed and swore at me any chance he got. I hated my job. I hated the customers who yelled at me when the coffee wasn’t hot enough, and I hated the one who told me the iced coffee wasn’t cold enough. “How could an iced coffee not be cold enough?” I asked. “It’s filled with ice, just wait an extra few seconds,” I told them. The person yelled “Fuck you” at me and stormed out, leaving the drink behind, probably on his way to terrorize some other poor barista somewhere else. I just smiled and went about my day at the job I worked two days a week because I needed extra money, because a job is a job, and although it wasn’t the job I wanted, it was still money in my pocket.
As Valentine’s Day (not to mention yet another cold night) approaches, you may find yourself in the mood for love. But what if you don’t? Never fear, because all you have to do is pick up a book. Yes, reading is sexy — especially when you’re reading one of these books, which range from literary fiction (with, ahem, some notable scenes) to famously romantic plays to “highbrow academia porn” to real literary erotica. …Read More
Love pops its head into fiction in funny, unexpected ways. Sure, you’ve got your classic literary power couples, but it can also appear in less conventional, less obvious places. With February 14 right around the corner, we got to thinking about some of the best and most unusual examples of two becoming one in literature, and came up with these great bookish …Read More
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.
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.
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