David Foster Wallace

5 Essential Tips on Hosting a Successful Literary Holiday Party

As the holiday party season kicks up, people will be on the hunt for themes. One we’d like to suggest, a perennial Flavorwire favorite, is the Literary Cocktail Party. Everybody likes the Literary Holiday Party in theory, because in theory it involves a lot of fun, nerdy conversations about books held over delicious cocktails. Everything sparkles: the outfits, the cocktail glasses, the conversation. … Read More

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10 Great Works of Fiction for Philosophers

Although he denied his affiliation with the movement, critics are generally inclined to say that Albert Camus was an existentialist. Born 100 years ago today, the author is responsible for Nobel Prize-winning classics like The Stranger and The Fall that sit at the top of the “philosophical fiction” pile. … Read More

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50 Incredibly Tough Books for Extreme Readers

Maybe it’s a Pavlovian response to years of schooling, or that the brisk weather affords more hours inside, or something else entirely, but the fact is this: November seems like the time to take on the heftiest reading on your list. And let’s face the facts: some books are only for the toughest readers on the block, your Sylvester Stallones of literature, as it were. So for those of you who count yourself tough, here’s a list of books for you: some absurdly long, some notoriously difficult, some with intense or upsetting subject matter but blindingly brilliant prose, some packed into formations that require extra effort or mind expansion, and some that fit into none of those categories, but are definitely for tough girls (or guys)… Read More

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50 Books to Inspire Artists of All Kinds

Today marks the release of one of the most long-awaited novels in recent memory: Donna Tartt’s third novel, the glorious, sprawling, Dickens-esque romp The Goldfinch. The book is backboned by its eponymous painting, and much concerned with art of all kinds, so to celebrate its release, and to suggest a little artistic inspiration for those who’ve already read it (or will have in about three days), we’ve put together a list of 50 books for artists: to inspire, to entertain, to shake up the system. Some of these books are about visual art, some are visual art in themselves, some just strike us as the kind of thing that might keep an artist up at… Read More

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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

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David Foster Wallace and the Literary Traditions of Tennis

Tennis and literature make great bedfellows. I’m sure there are those that would argue soccer, baseball, or even boxing make better mates with the written word, but baseball’s steroid problem has made it difficult to find much magic in the game. Soccer can be seductive, but I think writers find the fandom (Bill Buford’s Among the Thugs) or sociopolitical angles (Franklin Foer’s How Soccer Explains the World) of the game more interesting. Boxing has punched its way into irrelevancy as we await the first great MMA essay. Even professional wrestling has surpassed the sweet science that Ring Lardner and Norman Mailer loved, with writers like The Masked Man (aka David Shoemaker) writing brilliant pieces like the “Dead Wrestler of the Week” entries at Deadspin. … Read More

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50 of the Best Books You Haven’t Read by Authors You Already Love

Looking for something to read but don’t want to stray too far from the authors you know and love? Seeking undiscovered literary gems to talk about at dinner parties? Want to delve into the backlist of a certain Great American Author? Well, Flavorwire has got you covered. After all, sometimes, amazing books just get lost in the shuffle, whether it’s because they’re before their time, fall out of fashion, or their author has one blockbuster that blots out all the rest. Click through to check out 50 great under-appreciated, under-read, and overshadowed novels by 50 of your favorite… Read More

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The 50 Books Everyone Needs to Read, 1963-2013

The thing about reading is this: it takes a long time. There are innumerable books in the world, and many more good ones than can be read by any mortal in a lifetime. It’s hard to choose — especially if you’re a slow reader. So, to go along with the list of the best albums from 1963-2013, here you will find a single must-read book from each of the last 50… Read More

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Tina Fey, David Foster Wallace, and Other Classic Portraits for The Believer by Charles Burns

Our country’s leading literary authorities are getting older. Are we at peace with that? Maybe it’s too early, but there’s a general agreement that as Lewis Lapham, founding editor of Lapham’s Quarterly, and Robert Silvers, founding editor of The New York Review of Books, grow older, the torch is being passed to younger editors, like the co-editors of n+1 and Dave Eggers and The Believer. The same might be said of their illustrators, specifically, that Charles Burns’s portraits for The Believer may some day be placed on equal standing with the dearly admired illustrations by David Levine for The New York Review. Some of our favorites, after the jump, are now on display at the Adam Baumgold Gallery in New York, alongside the Before & After drawings from Burns’s graphic novel Black Hole. … Read More

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