No matter what some may say, this year has already been a great one for literature — and from where we’re sitting, it’s only getting better. This fall promises to be a doozy, with September in particular filled with some serious literary heavy hitters, and enough great reads piled up through the autumn months to get you fat and happy just in time for winter. There’s a little something for everyone: essays, memoir, novels, short story collections, and one beyond-the-borders graphic novel. After the jump, read through our list of the fifteen books we’re most excited about this fall, and then be sure to let us know which reads you’re most excited about tackling in the comments. … Read More
The Orange Prize for Fiction, the UK’s prestigious annual award celebrating “excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing throughout the world,” announced their 2012 longlist today, coinciding with International Women’s Day, and the group of books is a formidable one — we just added a huge stack of books to our to-read list. The prize has a knack for picking out some of the best work by women around: previous winners have included Zadie Smith for On Beauty (2006), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for Half of a Yellow Sun (2007), Marilyn Robinson for Home (2009), and Téa Obreht for The Tiger’s Wife (2011), among many other greats. Head over to the Orange Prize website for author biographies and synopses of the nominated books, and let us know which you think should win in the comments. … Read More
Something about October always seems to bring out our desire to be frightened. Maybe it’s all the hoopla over Halloween, or the bite in the air, or night coming at 6:30, or the beginning of the season associated with death, or all of these, but October is definitely the creepiest month. So if you’d like to embrace that chill in the air, we’ve put together a list of terrifying books guaranteed to keep you up at night. Though ’tis is the season for spooky literature, for this list we decided to opt out of the horror genre. After all, the books that terrify us most are the ones that show us what humans — not vampires or werewolves or zombies — but the people you meet on the street, are capable of in their darkest moments. Click through to read our list of some of the most terrifying books out there, and let us know which novels chill you to the bone. … Read More
We’re the first to admit that, sometimes, the best cure for a hard week, a long day or just a rainy weekend is a really sad book. One of the saddest, and most compelling, to come to our attention this week is Michael Kimball’s gutting new novel, Us, about the slow death of a spouse and its effect on her devoted husband, who can merely watch as the person he loves begins to fade away. We consumed the entire book in one subway ride, and got more than a few strange glances our way as Kimball’s novel caused us to convulse with sobs. It wasn’t until someone asked us if we actually enjoyed Us (we did) that we begin musing on the strange relationship between sad books and ourselves as readers, and we wondered: what other books are out there for those who, like us, enjoy the occasional full-body sob and feeling of abject desolation as we’re absorbed into our reading material?
Before we began casting our nets, we set a few parameters for ourselves. First, no young adult novels. If we’d gathered YA, it would dominate the list. Yes, we love Where The Red Fern Grows, but we had to draw the line somewhere. Second, no books where an animal’s death serves as the emotional linchpin (we’re looking at you, Marley & Me). What we ended up with were 10 of the most emotionally wrecking books that we absolutely love. Did we miss your favorite? Please tell us in the comments. … Read More
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but can you judge a country by the kind of covers it puts on its books? We’ve always found the cover changes between US and UK editions of the same books pretty interesting – they must be reflective of our different cultures in some way incomprehensible to us. After all, book jacket designers are trying to capture the attention and imagination of their target populace, so it’s fascinating to see what the experts think will attract a Brit versus what they think might attract an American. Inspired by the annual US vs UK book cover comparison of Rooster contenders over at The Millions, we decided to make a list of our own, comparing the covers of our favorite books from last year — and, just for fun, a few of our favorite books from years past. Click through to see the comparisons and our picks for the winners, and let us know what you think in the comments! … Read More
Emma Donoghue’s Room is destined to end up on many a “Best Books of 2010” list — it will definitely be on ours — for being that unique breed of novel that’s both smart and compulsively readable. Written from a 5-year-old’s point of view, Room tells the story of a mother, her son, and the titular room in which they are confined, while evoking recent news headlines with probing candidness. The book was shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize — Howard Jacobson’s The Finkler Question ended up winning — Donoghue’s other novels have received numerous accolades. Amid all this media attention, we chatted with Donoghue about her favorite characters from her own work, the difficulties of writing a child’s point of view, and her TV writing aspirations. … Read More
This year’s 13-author strong “Man Booker Dozen” longlist was just announced, and while it doesn’t include many new names (in fact, Peter Carey has already won the Booker — twice) and there were a few notable snubs (Martin Amis, Ian McEwan), it does include several books that are recent Flavorpill favorites — most notably David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and Emma Donoghue’s Room. Click through to view the final list, and leave comment if you’ve got a hunch on who will win the £50,000 literary prize. … Read More