As you may have heard, this month marks the 70th anniversary of the first publication of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic kids-book-for-adults (or adult-book-for-kids) The Little Prince. This book was wildly important to many of us, so we decided to ask some other bookish types about their own experiences with the story. As we reached out to a few friends in the literary world, we were surprised by how many of them hadn’t read it — after all, it’s one of the best-selling single-volume works of all time. But the devotees are out there. After the jump, a few recollections and musings on The Little Prince from authors and editors. Tell us your own Little Prince story in the comments. … Read More
We don’t know about you, but we’re always in the market for a new literary discovery. And when you’re on the hunt for a new book or a new writer to delve into, who better to ask than the folks who make their livings reading and writing themselves? With that in mind, we asked a few of the most important living New York authors to name-drop some of their favorite living New York authors — and what do you know? We have a few in common. After the jump, find out who 35 amazing NYC-based authors keep on their nightstands, and let us know your own favorite NYC writers in the comments. … Read More
In the course of creating our list of New York’s 100 Most Important Living Writers, we reached out to a few of said figures to ask them a couple questions, including the query of the hour: “How do you feel about Philip Roth retiring?” We got a lot of responses — some quippy, some heartfelt, some sad, some glad (it’s true), and more than one with a theory on Roth’s true plans, which any of you in mourning will be glad to attach yourselves to. See what writers like Junot Díaz, Gay Talese, A.M. Homes and Gary Shteyngart had to say about the great man’s retirement after the jump — and if you’re so inclined, share your own, less famous feelings in the comments. … Read More
Ten years ago, Dave Eggers published the inaugural volume of his Best American Nonrequired Reading series, which has since attracted a devoted following of outside-the-box readers of all ages. It’s hard to believe the series that anthologized so many of our favorite pieces is already celebrating its tenth anniversary this month, but hey, time flies when you’re reading. Once again, Eggers and his team of student volunteers have outdone themselves, bringing together a compilation of irreverent lists, timely journalism, top short fiction, and graphic pieces representing the best of the year, kicking off with a love letter to the art of reading by Ray Bradbury, completed just weeks before his passing.
To celebrate ten years of the beloved anthology, we picked ten additional “nonrequired” reading selections that stood out to us in 2011 and beyond, all available for you to read online. While we didn’t envy Eggers and his team the task of choosing their twenty best, we embraced their idiosyncratic spirit by choosing the pieces that excited us most. This is in no way a comprehensive list, so be sure to share your favorite pieces that didn’t appear on any college syllabi or required reading lists in our comments section, and then check out The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012 when it hits bookstores this Tuesday. … Read More
Yesterday, Emma Straub’s excellent debut novel Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures waltzed onto bookshelves everywhere. We loved the book, which follows a young girl’s rise to stardom in Old Hollywood, as she transforms from a sunny country bumpkin to a savvy brunette bombshell to something else entirely. Inspired by the novel, which is full of many transformations, both literal and somewhat more metaphorical, we’ve put together a few of our favorite makeovers in literature — from the kind achieved with a little spit and polish to the sort that requires a vast internal sea change. Click through to see which we picked, and let us know if we missed your favorite in the comments. … Read More
Fall is always a huge season for the publishing industry. It makes sense: all those back to school feelings making everyone long for stacks of books to carry around, the holiday season right around the corner, beach-goers ready to read Big Serious Fiction again. But this first fall month is a particularly huge one, with a slew of modern masters (Chabon, Smith, Díaz, Rowling, Rushdie) publishing meaty books that we can’t wait to get our hands on. If you’re feeling that wistful back to school reading urge — or just looking for something to hide in the jacket of your chemistry book this fall — we’ve got just the ticket. Click through to check out our list of the books we’re most excited about this month, and let us know which ones are calling your name in the… Read More
If you haven’t noticed, we spend a lot of time thinking about literature here in the Flavorpill offices, digging through its past, weighing its current state, and imagining its future. Take a look at our bookshelves and you’ll find us reading everything from Nobel Prize winners to age-old classics to paperbacks printed at the bookstore down the street. Call it Chick-Lit, Hysterical Realism, Ethnic-Lit, or Translit — if it’s good fiction, we’ll be talking about it. So this summer, we launched The Future of American Fiction: a weekly interview series expanding on that endless conversation about books we love, and yes, the direction of American fiction, from the people who’d know. Each Tuesday we’ve brought you a short interview with one of the writers we think is instrumental in defining that direction.
For our very last installation of our Future of American Fiction Series, we talked to Emma Straub, who knocked our socks off with last year’s short story collection Other People We Married, and has only separated us from those aforementioned socks further in her delightful new novel Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, an affecting, decades-spanning epic of a small-town girl’s escape to Hollywood, which hits bookstores September 4th. A true multi-talented modern author, she also happens to be a bookseller, a journalist, a designer, a charming Twitter presence and the sometime merch girl for the Magnetic Fields. So, you know, top that. Read on as we talk to Emma about e-readers, niceness, and her drawerfuls of unpublished novels. … Read More
Everyone always wants to know what everyone else is reading, in our experience — if only to get some good ideas for ourselves. This month, in lieu of our periodical staff reading list, we decided to take a more visual (and slightly more voyeuristic) route, and asked Flavorpill staffers to snap a photo of their to-read piles — or whatever pile of books happened to be haunting them. Apparently as a group, we enjoy books with Big Important Questions for titles (we found more than one instance of both Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be? and the galley of Wilhelm Reich’s Where’s the Truth?), but other than that, we span the spectrum of messy and neat, paperback-crazed and hardcover-happy, with everything from design magazines to biographies to the hot, slim new fiction release sleeping next to our heads. Click through to snoop through the piles of books in a few of your devoted Flavorpill staffers’ bedrooms, and then let us know what you own bedside table looks like in the comments. … Read More
There’s something a little bit strange about Midwestern literature — no one seems to have much of a handle on it. Any avid reader can easily rattle off a host of Great Southern Writers, books about New York, and their favorite Westerns, but no one really talks about America’s heartland as having its own literary tradition. However, with Patrick Somerville’s newest novel This Bright River, a gorgeous, stirring novel set in St. Helens, Wisconsin, hitting the shelves this week, we thought we’d take a look into some of the best literature of the flyover states, at least in our own humble opinion. Click through to check out our list, and let us know which Midwestern books you’d add in the comments. … Read More
Penina Roth is the director of the Franklin Park Reading Series, which debuted in 2009 and has been garnering praise from writers and fans alike because of her ability to bring together two things we love: readings and beer. We were able to get her to curate a list of her favorite 2011 books so far, and there’s something for everyone on this list, from devastatingly sad novels to stories about alligator wrestlers in the Florida swamplands. She writes, “At the Franklin Park Reading Series, our watchwords are ‘provocative, humorous and poignant.’ It’s a tricky balance, but the ten authors on this idiosyncratic list – from indie superstars like Blake Butler and Emma Straub to New Yorker “20 Under 40″ designee Karen Russell and internationally heralded first-time novelist Teju Cole – have mastered this feat.” So read on, dear readers, and let us know what your favorite books have been so far this year in the comments section below. … Read More