“The most amazing thing about the Shakira phenomenon is the craze that has gripped masses of children.” The late Gabriel García Márquez wrote that in his 2002 profile on Shakira for The Guardian. Even when covering one of the biggest pop stars in the world, the Nobel Prize winner’s music writing doesn’t rank anywhere near his classics like One Hundred Years of Solitude or Love in the Time of Cholera, but it does earn a spot alongside a few of our other favorite rock star/writer pairings. … Read More
Happy Valentine’s Day! Celebrate by getting yourself kissed today. Or, may we suggest finding a famous writer to smooch? In case you need a little inspiration (or just like to see writers making out), we’ve collected several adorable photos of famous authors in fond embraces, both vintage and quite recent. … Read More
In Little Failure, the new memoir by Gary Shteyngart, the Russian-born author doesn’t hold much back about his early days in his native land, his family’s move to New York when he was just a boy, his college years spent partying and growing his hair long at a Midwestern liberal arts school, his emergence as a writer with his 2002 debut novel The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, and his eventual return to his home country. Of course, these moments will sound familiar to readers of his fiction, because Shteyngart has used many of them in his three novels in one way or another. And while sprinkling autobiographical details into your fiction isn’t new, he has managed to create and sustain a particularly unique “Shteyngartian” voice. … Read More
2014 kicks off with the promise of cold and snow for many of us, making it the perfect time to just stay indoors and read books. Some of you might want to get caught up on the books you saw featured on the best-of lists that popped up at the end of last year, but the first month of the new calendar also offers a crop of great books. Here are some of the best to pick up now, or risk falling dangerously… Read More
Our earliest laughs inevitably predate our first favorite books by a few years. Long before we understand the words inside a volume of The Boxcar Children or any Dr. Seuss book, some adult will do something silly that will make us giggle, even though we might not totally understand why. In a lot of cases, what we read — or what people read to us — can make us laugh just as much. And it’s children, more than adults, who are expected to want literature that makes them laugh. You don’t hear a lot of 20-somethings saying they’re buying a novel because they heard it was hilarious, yet there is no shortage of funny highbrow literature, and a lot of humorous writing that should be read with the same critical eye as some of our greatest “serious” short stories and novels – assuming you can read while cracking up. … Read More
What do the Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord and the assassination of Franz Ferdinand have in common with a New Republic piece written by Marc Tracy? Hopefully nothing, but the title, “The L.A. Review of Books Declares War on the N.Y. Review of Books,” suggests that the piece could be the earliest document of a literary war between the coasts that will rival the Tupac and Biggie feud of the 1990s.
Since we at Flavorwire are peaceful East Coast citizens who love taking trips out to California without fearing any type of bodily harm, we present this timeline as a cautionary tale of what might happen if what Tracy perceives as aggression on the part of the scrappy upstart Los Angeles Review of Books against the venerable New York Review of Books escalates. … Read More
For our (unconscionably high) rent money, the best thing about living in NYC is its endless supply of fun, odd, and inspired cultural events. But with so many options, it can be hard to know where to even begin planning your week. To help you make sense of it all, Flavorpill Deputy Editor Mindy Bond shares the very best of what’s on offer this week. It’s just a taste of what you can find on the new Flavorpill, so if you like what you see, be sure to sign up. … Read More
Everyone’s self-deprecating once in a while — even literary geniuses. Or perhaps, especially literary geniuses? After all, they know the exact right words to string together to tease themselves, talking down their bodies of work or their personal histories — though usually, let’s be fair, tempering it with a “but” at the end. These people have to sell books, after all. After the jump, a few of our favorite authors make fun of themselves, as gently as the ego demands. Let us know your favorite, or add one we missed 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
Gary Shteyngart is one of the most successful and critically acclaimed literary novelists of his generation — but he isn’t just that. The New Yorker “20 Under 40″ list author is also New York literary society’s most beloved clown, the dark comic undertones of his novels extending into his public persona. Over the years, he’s exaggerated the excesses of his own personality to create for himself a bumbling, lecherous nebbish character who can’t even speak (much less read) English.
It was that character who hobbled onto the stage at the Brooklyn Academy of Music last night, conspicuously overdressed in a black suit with a bow tie, for a Friars Club-style roast to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Shteyngart’s debut novel, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook. Joined by host John Wesley Harding, his roasters included fellow authors Sloane Crosley, Kurt Andersen, and Edmund White, along with New Yorker Fiction Editor Deborah Treisman. Although, at under an hour, the program felt a bit too brief and — as Harding suggested at several moments — the ribbing was often too gentle, Shteyngart’s colleagues still managed to get in a few entertaining jokes. We’ve collected the best disses below, with apologies for excluding White’s, which were excellent but which we just couldn’t manage to transcribe because he was reading them very quickly from prepared notes. … Read More