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
This week marks the release of Aleksandar Hemon’s excellent book of personal essays, The Book of My Lives, which we loved, and which we’re convinced deserves a place in the literary canon. To that end, we were inspired to put together our list of the greatest essay collections of all time, from the classic to the contemporary, from the personal to the critical. In making our choices, we’ve steered away from posthumous omnibuses and multi-author compilations, and given what might be undue weight to our favorite writers (as one does). Click through to see our nominations for the 25 greatest essay collections of all… Read More
Madeline Miller should be feeling pretty good right about now. Not only does she have the distinction of beating out serious competition from more established writers like Ann Patchett and Cynthia Ozick to win this year’s Orange Prize for Fiction with her literary debut The Song of Achilles, she’s also the final author… Read More
After yesterday’s strange book prize news — ie, the fact that the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was awarded to absolutely no one — we’re happy to have much nicer things to report today, namely the fact that three American writers have been named to the shortlist for the Orange Prize for Fiction, Britain’s annual prize… Read More
Today marks the release of celebrated novelist and essayist Marilynne Robinson’s newest collection of essays, When I Was a Child I Read Books. We’ve been excited about this book for a while now, so if you’ve been reading our books coverage with any regularity you probably already know we think it’s something worth picking up. Great as it is, Robinson’s collection only whet our appetites for more essays by contemporary writers, so in case it does the same for you, we’ve put together a list of contemporary essayists we think everyone should be reading right now (or, you know, whenever you finish watching Downton Abbey). We’ve tried to stick to authors who are still alive — so David Foster Wallace and Christopher Hitchens are off the table, though they both would have made this list with flying colors were they still with us — and limited ourselves to American writers, but even with those caveats, there is enough in these writers’ oeuvres to keep you up and thinking for weeks on end. Click through to read our list, and please do add your own suggestions for top-notch essayists we should all be reading in the comments.
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Besides being an accomplished pediatrician, Chris Adrian was named one of the New Yorker‘s “20 Under 40″ fiction writers last summer, and is also is pursuing a master’s degree at Harvard’s Divinity School, in case you thought he was a slouch. An excerpt from his novel is available here. We’re celebrating today’s release of The Great Night with ten of our favorite retold stories. Some of the following plots are lifted from ancient myths, while others come from relatively new novels. All have put a new spin on familiar tales, but have been able to make them their own. So read on, readers, and tell us what we’ve missed.
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Although Hollywood has made a business out of converting classic stories into vacuous, high-def shells of their former incarnations, the literary world has been somewhat better about preserving and improving — even while in the act of pillaging. As we’ve seen in everything from Ulysses to Frankenstein to East of Eden, a well-imagined reworking can bring new meaning and relevance to an older, equally beloved story. Here’s a look at five recent literary makeovers that do justice to the original work.
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Labor Day may have marked the unofficial end of summer, but last week’s long weekend also marked the beginning of the publishing world’s fall book rush. With dozens of new titles hitting shelves in the months leading up to December’s holiday shopping spree, this is the season to celebrate books across all categories. Our highlights for fall’s upcoming releases are spread out across a variety of genres, assuring ample reading options for every literary preference.
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Alice Munro, the Canadian short story writer, has won one of literature’s most heavy-hitting awards, the International Man Booker Prize. Munro is one Canada’s most celebrated writers, and she’s also a writer’s writer, inspiring the kind of gushing usually exhibited only by Jonas Brothers… Read More