There’s never a bad time to read about historically badass ladies, but since March is Women’s History Month, now is a particularly perfect moment to bust out your library card and take in some stories of women who’ve changed art, culture, and history as we know it. Here you’ll find 50 great biographies and autobiographies of famous, fascinating, and inspiring women, from Frida Kahlo to Mina Loy to Marie …Read More
It would be unwise, unfair, and impossible to list the sexiest poems in the Western tradition. Sex, you don’t need me to tell you, is variable, personal, and subjective. “Greatness is, too,” you might add. Maybe it is. But there is something about the poetry on this list that transcends the merely “good.” These poems, which span from antiquity to today, are great poems. There is something egalitarian, too, about this selection, which more or less chose itself. Sex as a poetic subject has a way of equalizing discourse by way of its …Read More
Everyone knows that, statistically at least, girls read more than boys. But the classic, canonical growing-up books, at least in American culture, tend to represent the male experience — I’m thinking On the Road, The Catcher in the Rye, everything ever written by Bret Easton Ellis or Michael Chabon — and while these are great books, suitable for boys or girls, the question remains: where are the books for girls to grow up on? Well, they’re definitely out there, if perhaps assigned less often in schools to readers of both genders. And so I propose a Girl Canon, populated by books not necessarily for girls but which investigate, address, or represent the female experience in some essential …Read More
Literary biography is a hugely significant, if often overlooked, enterprise. Today, much of what we know about the authors we admire is filtered through an ocean of online mini-biographies, nearly all of which are copies of copies. The original source of an enormous amount of this information is the literary biography, and in the case of most authors, there are precious few examples of such books. Even exceedingly famous authors are gifted only a handful of quality biographies. With this in mind, I’ve come up with a list of 50 essential literary …Read More
New Year’s Eve is a time of renewal, hope, and… booze. It’s a time to wash away the sins of the past year (most likely with a bottle of something) and vow to be better in the days ahead. Before you start the countdown to January 1, we’d like to offer you some boozy inspiration in the form of your favorite writers getting their drink on. These authors, so very fond of their libations, knew how to knock one back. Put your party hat and drinking pants on and join literature’s booziest, below.
The leaves turn, the air gets colder, and a publication devoted to men makes a list of “80 Books Every Man Should Read” that has just one female writer on it. It’s just one slight in a list that’s slanted towards the great white male literary perspective that’s so common these days. Instead of getting mad, we here at Flavorwire wanted to counter that vibe by asking our favorite feminist writers what they think “every man should read.” The results were funny, smart, and a true reflection of the complex lives that we all …Read More
There’s always something exciting about reading a literary figure’s memoir, learning the details of their personal life (those they’re willing to share, anyway) and getting a glimpse into their creative process. But it’s perhaps more illuminating to read an outsider’s account of a literary great, assembled from years of reporting and sifting through private papers. A literary biography might not be as sensational as, say, the life story of a doomed Hollywood starlet (although certainly a fair number of novelists, playwrights, and poets have lived turbulent lives), but they do offer a complete picture that shatters the fourth walls of our favorite writers’ work. Here’s a collection of great bios that accomplish just …Read More
One of the most important experiences you can have with your favorite author is to hear them read aloud from their works. But many of us will never get the chance to see our most beloved writer in the flesh. So, after the jump is a collection of 15 writers — some alive, some long gone — reading their own words (all fiction, with the exception of William Faulkner, whose Nobel Prize speech is included because it’s now often taught alongside his novels and stories, and Joan Didion’s memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking).
Everyone knows that all authors are totally crazy, right? After all, that’s what makes so many of them so brilliant. But today, on the anniversary of Ezra Pound’s federally mandated release from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for the criminally insane, where he had been held for 13 years following his arrest on charges of treason, we celebrate those authors who have actually been institutionalized for their mental illnesses (or, in some cases, for what others thought was mental illness).