Fyodor Dostoevsky

50 of the Greatest Characters in Literature

One of the things literature does better than almost any other medium is allow us to experience another person’s quality of mind, and sometimes even inhabit it. It follows, then, that every avid reader has a favorite literary character — whether they’re beloved for dastardly deeds, tough-girl antics, sex appeal, or a high snark quotient — and that there are many impossibly good ones out there. Click through to find 50 of the… Read More

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The Best Things We Read on the Internet This Week: Ukraine, Black Metal, and Ghost Hunters of LA

Listicles, tweets, your ex’s Facebook status, picture of dogs wearing costumes — the internet offers no shortage of entertaining stuff to look at. But there’s plenty of substantial writing out there, too, the pieces you spend a few minutes reading and a long time thinking about after you’ve closed the tab. In this weekly feature, Flavorwire shares the best of that category, and this week we have a very smart take on Ukraine, pickup artist boot camp, Shirley Jackson, and a lot of Black Metal. … Read More

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20 Famous Authors as Dolls

How best to prove your adoration of a particular writer? Make a doll in their likeness, of course. Or if you’re a little less than crafty, buy one. Or, you know, just look at them on the Internet. This last bit you can accomplish right now. Yes, your favorite authors have been immortalized as everything from action figures to wooden works of art to paper dolls to LEGO figurines, and you’ll find 20 of them after the jump. As an added bonus, many of them are buyable, so if you’re still looking to fill your favorite bookish friend’s holiday stocking, look no further. But be prepared for them to think you’re slightly creepy. … Read More

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Classic Books Annotated by Famous Authors

Readers come in two editions: those who write in their books, and those who don’t. No matter which you are on your own time, there’s great pleasure to be found in paging through marked-up copies of other people’s books — particularly when the original owners were famous writers themselves. Whether scribbled or printed, snide or appreciative, an author’s annotations give equal insight into the book and the reader, and double as yet another reason to buy physical books. Click through to see the marginalia in the books of a few great… Read More

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The Doubles: 10 Pairs of Great Books With the Same Titles

There must be something in the water this spring — that’s the water the publishing industry all drinks, that is. This month, Algonquin is publishing Jill McCorkle’s novel Life After Life, and in April, Reagan Arthur/Little, Brown will come out with Kate Atkinson’s, er, Life After Life. Oops! Both novels, as it happens, are quite good (and are sharing top billing as the American Booksellers Association’s Indie Next Pick in April), and we’re looking forward to “accidentally” having to buy them both. Intrigued by this phenomenon, we dug around for other examples of two great books sporting the same title — though none of our other pairs were born so close to one another. Check them out after the jump, and let us know if we missed any of your favorite titular doppelgangers in the comments. … Read More

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Ranking Literary Devils by Their Relative Fearsomeness

The devil — or Satan, or Lucifer, or Beezlebub — has been skulking about literature almost as long as literature has existed, manifesting in many forms and with many personalities. In Victor LaValle’s newest novel The Devil in Silver, published this week, the devil stalks New Hyde hospital, slowly killing off its patients before sneaking back behind a silver door on the ward. In honor of LaValle’s book, we decided to rank some of the most prominent literary devils from least to most fearsome — because every devil is its own bag of mischief. Click through to read our rankings, and let us know if you agree — or which literary devils you’d add — in the comments. … Read More

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A Google Maps Tour of Famous Authors’ Homes

Awhile back we took a virtual tour of Old Hollywood film locations from last year’s Best Picture-winner, The Artist. Because there’s nothing we love more than virtual globetrotting and literary legends, we thought we’d take a gander at some of the more notable places that our favorite authors have lived. Hey, why not? From Joan Didion’s sprawling sun drenched estate that was her beloved Quintana Roo’s first home to the narrow passage where Ernest Hemingway lived while writing his ode to Paris, click through to check out Google’s rendition of significant literary locations around the world. Then, let us know in the comments which you’d most like to visit! … Read More

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March Misanthrope Madness: 10 Malicious Masterpieces

We all feel a tad misanthropic from time to time — but not all of us are good at making it sound beautiful, or hilarious. Enter Ivyland, Miles Klee’s recently released debut novel, a dark satire of 21st-century America, where almost nothing in the surreal and violent New Jersey town of the title eludes Klee’s razorlike contempt. A handful of other authors excel at this same kind of comic ruthlessness, demolishing everything allegedly sacred, and creating the most deliciously nasty heroes, and we asked Mr. Klee to curate a list of his favorite authors and books that do exactly that. Click through to read his suggestions, and let us know your own favorite malicious reads in the comments. … Read More

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Reading for the Conflicted: 11 Existential Classics

Alexander Maksik’s new novel, You Deserve Nothing, is set in Paris and involves a dashing, charismatic teacher of romantic and existentialist authors who ends up starting a forbidden affair with one of his students. We thought he would be the perfect candidate to curate a list of 10 existential novels and one easily guessable play.

Maksik writes, “In the popular imagination, Existentialism is inextricable from left bank Paris café life – black turtlenecks, Les Deux Magots, Jean-Paul Sartre – but what I think of as the first great work of Existentialist fiction was written before Paris was even an idea. The Book of Job, the story of a man who suffers endlessly for no reason other than God’s whim. When Job has had enough and finally demands some explanation, God arrives and says, I’m paraphrasing here, Hey, did you make the world? No? Then sit down and shut up. Which is the biblical version of ‘because I’m the adult, I make the rules.’ So, in one way or another, the following novels all have their protagonists moving through similarly chaotic and unjust worlds, where there is no perfect logic, where there is no absolute morality, or reason and they are left to determine their own meaning in absurd and meaningless universes.”

If you’re in New York on September 10th, head over to Bar 82 for a round of Existentialist Trivia with Maksik. As always, send us your thoughts on classic existentialist texts in the comments section below. … Read More

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A Pound of Flesh: Extraordinary Literary Debts

Today marks the release of David Graeber’s new book, Debt: The First 5,000 Years. In this red-bound tome, Graeber explains the concept of debt and credit and the ramifications of both, except he does so in a way that is accessible for those who are in the mood to question the current global economic set up. He writes, “Looking over world literature, it is almost impossible to find a single sympathetic representation of a moneylender.” Which got us thinking about the the anxieties involved in owing debts and what we could learn from the stories of hardship and redemption below. In these tales, the debtors are to be pitied, but at times their actions can be shocking. What are some books you would add to the debt debate, dear readers? Let us know in the comments section. … Read More

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