Elizabeth Gilbert’s engrossing new novel, The Signature of All Things, is the story of a 19th-century botanist named Alma Whittaker. Janet Maslin noted in her generally positive New York Times review that Alma is the sort of “serious” woman who might “never have read the 19th-century equivalent of Ms. Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. Since she has no interest in fiction, she might sniff at The Signature of All Things, too.” I’m not sure she’s quite right, since the book is a rousing account of female intellectual development, which in many ways is also the subject of Eat, Pray, Love. Gilbert was kind enough to talk to Flavorwire by phone about the book and some of those themes last week. Here’s what she said. … Read More
The Internet (this site not the least bit exempt) is fond of telling you which books you should read. Particularly, it seems, when you’re in your 20s. But now that you have enough of those lists to last you a lifetime, which books should you make sure to steer clear from in this most transitional and tender of decades? Well, here are a few to consider. Disclaimer: all of these (okay, most of these) are good books. They’re books you should read. Just not in your… Read More
[Editor's note: It's Labor Day, so your devoted Flavorwire team is taking a break. To keep you entertained, we're leaving you with our most popular features of the summer months. This post originally ran June 15th.] We’ve always wondered how many people read specific books to seem cool — and how many people deftly sidestep talking about the books that perhaps cast them in a less-than-flattering light. Recently, we were tickled by an edition of Ask the Paris Review, wherein the always-delightful Sadie Stein answered the question “What’s a book I should read to make girls think I’m smart in a hot way?” by polling her friends and colleagues. The answers, of course, varied widely, proving that it sort of depends on the girl.
Though it’s good to know what to do to seem appealing to the opposite sex, it’s also good to know what not to do — that is, to know which books might send a potential mate running for the hills should they be spotted on your nightstand or peeking out from your back pocket. In the interest of seeing the full picture, we asked both men and women of various sexual orientations to share the books that they think render their devotees totally undateable. So click through to see which titles you should avoid like the plague — or at least hide in a desk drawer somewhere when you’re entertaining — and don’t forget to pitch in with the books that would make you cut and run in the comments. … Read More
Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and everyone should be thinking of ways to make the lady that gave birth to them smile. We’ve already given you a heads up on some last-minute Mother’s Day gifts that don’t suck, but if what your Mommy dearest really craves is a good book, well, we’ve got you covered there as well. We’ve limited ourselves to recommending books that have come out since last Mother’s Day (since we’re sure last year you picked the perfect book), so click through to see our picks of what books to give every kind of mom this weekend. And we know, we know — your mom probably fits into a number of these categories. Looks like you’ll just have to pick her up a whole pile of books, then. She’s worth it. … Read More
Yesterday, Obama visited Iowa City and stopped by the Prairie Lights bookstore, expressing to the public how the now-passed health care plan will help small businesses. He pretended he was there for Karl Rove’s memoir and owner Jan Weissmiller responded: “We believe in freedom of expression so we have to carry the book.” Instead of buying Rover and Mitt Romney’s latest, he went for the following:
That’s right. Star Wars: A Pop Up Guide to the Galaxy. Sure, our geeky Commander-in-Chief claimed that he “purchased it for a friend.” He probably ordered the special edition hardcover on Amazon. We began thinking, “Well, what other books should he have picked up?” This is what we came up with. … Read More
When J.D. Salinger died last week at the age of 91, the Twitter- and the literatti aligned to mourn the reclusive writer. Charles McGrath wrote a touching obit in the New York Times; Lillian Ross waxed poetic in The New Yorker and Bret Easton Ellis, tweeted, “Yeah!! Thank God he’s finally dead. I’ve been waiting for this day for-fucking-ever. Party tonight!!!” Ah, the Twitterverse, where Chilon of Sparta’s maxim “Don’t speak ill of the dead” doesn’t apply, as long as you can do it in under 140 characters. We turned to the Twitterverse to see how other luminaries, literary and decidedly unliterary, marked Salinger’s passing*. … Read More
Let it be known that if you live in New York, then we’re spying on what you read during your commute — and no, that free issue of AM NEW YORK doesn’t count. This morning quick reads, mysteries, and best sellers conspicuously dominated the picks of those on the 1 train that shuttles us down the west side to Flavorpill each day.
JOHN GRISHAM’s THE FIRM and ELIZABETH GILBERT’s EAT, PRAY, LOVE weren’t too much of a surprise. And, of course, STEPHANIE MEYER’s TWILIGHT — if you watch for it you’ll see one of Meyer’s novels around every corner.
Apparently, everyone is waiting with bated breath to find out if the mortal and the vampire will ever get it on. We got off the train, walked a block to work, walked toward the elevator, pressed the button and looked up only to see the same Twilight fan standing ahead of us, with thick paperback still in hand. … Read More