Charlotte Bronte

20 Great Biographies of Famous Authors

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

  • 1

The 25 Greatest Homes in Literature

Great characters in literature get all the credit, but the fictional spaces they occupy are often just as interesting and can provide an opportunity for the reader to go even deeper into a story. What would some of your favorite stories be without the creepy old farmhouses, crumbling castles, and estates overlooking a body of water whose waves crash against the rocks at night? To celebrate the birthday of Daphne du Maurier — a writer who gave us one of the 20th century’s most unforgettable grand old homes, in Rebecca — we’re rounding up the most memorable structures that served as settings for some of our favorite… Read More

  • 10

The 50 Greatest British Novels of the 19th Century

In the 19th century, authors in the United Kingdom (we are counting authors from Ireland and Scotland here) produced novels that challenged class systems, trained an eye on the deplorable living conditions of the working class, gave us some of the earliest works of feminist literature, invented many of the tropes used and reused in modern literature, and created some of the most unforgettable characters ever. It may be silly and futile to argue that the literature of Great Britain in the 1800s was more important or of higher quality than writing from different periods and parts of the world — but these 50 novels do prove that it was (for better or for worse) a very English century, and one that left a massive mark on everything that came… Read More

  • 0

6 Crooked Books for Crooked Politicians

As Mark Twain once said, “An honest man in politics shines more there than he would elsewhere.” We got our latest reminder of that earlier this week, when it was revealed that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s deputy chief of staff arranged for some “traffic problems” for a town whose mayor didn’t endorse the governor during his reelection campaign. Of course, the details of Christie’s involvement aren’t yet clear, but clearly someone in his inner circle intentionally did something crooked. For them (and you), we offer this reading list of books that might be as crooked as they are. … Read More

  • 0

8 of the Best Genre-Busting Books About Writers and Writing

Olivia Laing’s The Trip to Echo Spring made the cover of the New York Times Book Review last week. It was a well-deserved honor for a fascinating exploration of the way drink inflects the work of a number of male writers. But it is difficult to classify, generically. It’s not quite a biography, and not quite literary criticism, and not quite memoir either. This is one of my favorite kinds of books, I should say, the kind that give you the lives of other writers embedded in a strong point of view from the writer herself, and do something more than your garden-variety kitchen-sink biography manages to achieve. Here are some books you could buy, along with Laing’s, if that formula sounds up your alley. … Read More

  • 0

20 Famous Authors as Dolls

How best to prove your adoration of a particular writer? Make a doll in their likeness, of course. Or if you’re a little less than crafty, buy one. Or, you know, just look at them on the Internet. This last bit you can accomplish right now. Yes, your favorite authors have been immortalized as everything from action figures to wooden works of art to paper dolls to LEGO figurines, and you’ll find 20 of them after the jump. As an added bonus, many of them are buyable, so if you’re still looking to fill your favorite bookish friend’s holiday stocking, look no further. But be prepared for them to think you’re slightly creepy. … Read More

  • 0

10 Bizarre Literary Landmarks Everyone Should Visit

Everyone knows about the Important Literary Places, and authors’ graves and childhood homes abound in guidebooks and popular knowledge. But what about the slightly weirder literary landmarks? They’re worth a visit, too, and perhaps even more so — after all, at least one of them can cure your illness if you give it a good rub. From road signs to impossibly smug sculptures, find ten bizarre literary landmarks worth a visit after the jump — and add your own favorites to the list in the… Read More

  • 0

10 Impressive Uses of Borrowed Characters in Literature

Kim Newman, whose latest book, Johnny Alucard, is out now, tells us: “In the Anno Dracula series, I’ve made use not only of characters and situations appropriated from Bram Stoker’s novel but a host of other preexisting fictional folk to populate the next-door-but-one world where Dracula defeated Van Helsing and became a dominant power in the 19th and 20th centuries. I didn’t invent this approach – in the wholesale borrowing of other authors’ creations, I was mostly inspired by Philip José Farmer’s interlocked series of books and stories which did something similar. Here are my favorite ten novels built around other novels.” … Read More

  • 0

12 Genuinely Great Books About May-December Romances

Today, a reportedly terrible movie called Adore premieres. It stars Naomi Watts and Robin Wright as moms who end up sleeping with each other’s sons. Everyone’s super-hot and the climate is humid, and yet critics say the picture is terrible, too serious and self-regarding. Critics wrote something similar about “The Grandmothers,” the Doris Lessing novella on which the film was based, so this isn’t a case of a bad adaptation. So we can’t even refer you to the book. … Read More

  • 0
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,225 other followers