Charlotte Bronte

50 of the Greatest Characters in Literature

One of the things literature does better than almost any other medium is allow us to experience another person’s quality of mind, and sometimes even inhabit it. It follows, then, that every avid reader has a favorite literary character — whether they’re beloved for dastardly deeds, tough-girl antics, sex appeal, or a high snark quotient — and that there are many impossibly good ones out there. Click through to find 50 of the… Read More

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50 Romantic Novels for People Who Hate Romance Novels

Here’s the thing: sometimes, you just want to read a good love story. Or at least, something with a little sex, a little passion, a few dramatic swoons. But a romance novel, per se? Nothing so gaudy or slapdash for you! You need real literature. Well, person who I’ve just made up (though I know you’re out there), here’s the answer: a selection of romantic books that will rev your motor (emotional or otherwise) but don’t fall into that taboo category of cheap paper and cheaper… Read More

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Read This Before This: 10 Great Books Based on Other Great Books

Literature is a never-ending, overlapping, sometimes circular conversation — between writers, between readers, between books themselves. This fact can make for some fascinating and rewarding reading. After all, what’s more interesting than listening in on one genius talking to another? There are some novels that are better if you have a little bit of background going in — and sometimes that background is nothing more or less than another great novel. Here are a few books you should pair the way you would a fine wine with an excellent cheese — each enhancing the other and making for a very satisfying… Read More

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10 Truly Terrible Book Jacket Redesigns

UK’s Vintage Books released a set of six redesigned versions of novels from Jeanette Winterson’s backlist, created by Vintage’s senior designer. Now, while Vintage does often put out great designs, these are not great. They are bad. They are lazy and hard to look at and don’t reflect any of the beauty and complexity of Winterson’s prose, nor her ideas. It’s always unfortunate when books are redesigned and their covers end up worse, but it’s particularly bad when those books are beloved. Click through for a list of sadly terrible book cover redesigns to avoid on books that should be… Read More

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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