Picture it: teenage Mary Shelley was on a vacation getaway, with her husband Percy and some of his rambunctious poet friends, like that rogue Lord Byron… and out of the group of legends, it’s Shelley herself who arguably published the greatest work of all at the ridiculous age of 30: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, a book that has penetrated our human consciousness. In honor of Shelley’s birthday this month, here’s a list of 25 other writers who created heartbreakingly beautiful work before they could get a discount on a rental… Read More
Every year, around the time when mercury rises and the sun starts peeking out, we’re bombarded with countless articles on the best books to read at the beach — because, of course, reading in the sand and sunshine is a great deal more pleasurable than sitting outside with a novel in January. Yet winter is truly the best season to burrow deep into a great book. With that in mind, we asked an assortment of great authors, critics, and musicians to let us in on their favorite books they like to read this time of… Read More
Here’s Mallory Ortberg at The Toast with news of one of the most wonderful literary meetings in history:
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History has reached out to you specifically and given you a gift. The gift is the knowledge that Oscar Wilde once put his hand on Walt Whitman’s knee and then they drank elderberry wine together; the gift is that the next day a reporter turned up and Whitman expounded at length on his big, splendid boy.
If you’re like us, and you hear that you’re in an area that is home to a place that has any little bit of literary historical significance, you have to go and visit it. Since there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll soon be hopping in your car or your friend’s car, or boarding a train, bus, plane, or some other mode of transportation that will bring you to a place that isn’t the city you spend the rest of the year living in, we’ve compiled this list of literary places all over the world that you should visit if you happen to be in the neighborhood.… Read More
This morning, we spotted a few gorgeous photographs of Coco Chanel’s book-filled salon over at Book Patrol, and it got us to thinking about that much-romanticized, often revived tradition of thinkers from centuries past: the literary salon. For your daydreaming pleasure, we’ve collected a few paintings and photographs of famous literary salons from the 1600s to the 1970s. … Read More
When a particular line sings, sometimes underlining just isn’t enough. We’ve come across more than one quote or literary quip that we wanted to hang on our walls, but a postcard with a scribbled phrase doesn’t have quite the same impact as Evan Robertson’s elegant literary posters. We’ve already gushed about Robertson’s work, but when My Modern Met tipped us off that he had some new posters, we just had to share them with you again. So far, Robertson has created 32 posters, and aims to make the series an even 50. As he told My Modern Met, his aim for the series is to encourage “a reconnection with great thinking. It’s a call to action to pick up a great book. And the inspiration to slow down for a bit, I hope, to enjoy the luxury of thinking about something with no practical aim.” Sounds good to us. Click through to check out a few more of our favorite posters from Robertson’s series, and then head on over to his Etsy shop to buy a print for yourself or a book-lover you love. … Read More
This week, we were saddened by the news that beloved 85-year-old Colombian novelist and Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez is suffering from dementia and has stopped writing. Though not every can scribble up until the very moment of their death (thought many do), it’s always a little heartbreaking to see the deterioration of such an amazing mind. We’ve put together a list of famous authors that were forced into retirement because of illness, depression or slightly more elusive reasons — check them out and mourn the late-life novels that might have been with us in the comments. … Read More
Enigmatic New York publisher and private bookshop Fulton Ryder — founded by artist Richard Prince — has been captivating us with their Tumblr snapshots of rare and fascinating cultural fragments. We wanted to take a closer look at their collection of books, manuscripts, and counterculture collectibles, and they were kind enough to allow us a peek.
Past the break, Fulton Ryder has curated a unique gallery of works including an early conceptual piece from Yoko Ono — inspired by John Cage’s Experimental Music Composition class at the New School for Social Research in New York, where Ono’s then husband (musician Ichiyanagi Toshi) attended. It’s composed of “event scores,” or simple instructional actions and ideas that are reinterpreted through a performance art lens. There’s also a book from artist Danny Lyon, created after he became a member of the Chicago Outlaw Motorcycle Club in the 1960s, adopted the gang’s lifestyle, and photographed the midwestern motorcyclists. Wallace Berman also makes an appearance, with reference to his legendary 1957 Ferus Gallery exhibition where the artist was arrested on obscenity charges.
Check out the collection below, and keep your eyes peeled for Fulton Ryder at the Printed Matter and EAB book fairs this fall (they’ll be publishing a book on San Francisco Artaudian group the Diggers in June, however), as well as at site-specific events around New York City. … Read More
Yesterday, Patti Smith’s first major photography exhibition, Camera Solo, opened at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut. Smith opened the show, which boasts 70-odd intimate black and white photographs shot with either a vintage Land 100 or a Land 250 Polaroid camera, a multi-media installation, and a video work, with an hour-long performance that doubled as a birthday salute to Rimbaud, her ultimate muse. Fitting, because many of the gorgeous, misty photographs are inspired by artifacts from some of Smith’s favorite artists, from museums she has visited around the world, and many are from her personal life, making the show as a whole feel like a complex view of her world and the things that inspire her. For those that can’t make it to Hartford, or who just can’t get enough, an accompanying book, Patti Smith: Camera Solo, is also slated to come out at the end of the month. Click through to see a few images from the exhibition, and let us know what you think in the comments. … Read More
Yesterday, we read on NPR about tweets from deceased writers and it got us thinking about the various authors and poets who have been resurrected in order to dole out advice, complaints, and fleeting thoughts in 140 characters or less. What could Melville tell us about whaling? (Too much, we think.) What’s happening with Flannery O’Connor’s peacock? And what has Sylvia Plath been dreaming about?
Some of these accounts are from fans, and others are by writers either as publicity stunts for their upcoming books or as a release from the work they’ve been doing all day. Inhabiting the voice of an esteemed writer is a challenge, and so it takes a certain amount of boldness to accept the task at hand. We think the accounts below are worth checking out, either for a laugh or for some desperately needed advice during your midday downtime at work. So read on, dear readers, and let us know who you’ve been following on Twitter, or who you would like to, in the comments section below. … Read More