Not so much into March Madness? Well, perhaps you should look at it another way. March is the perfect month for reading books about madness — it is a transitional time, after all, possessed of both lion and lamb. Plus, you’ll have ample reading time, both outside and inside. The books herein, it should be noted, are those that deal with a kind of literary madness — obsession and absurdity and hallucination — not directly focusing on mental illness proper, whenever the two can be separated. So you won’t find The Bell Jar or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or The Yellow Wallpaper here, though those are all excellent …Read More
This week, the Criterion Collection releases Watership Down, Martin Rosen’s 1978 adaptation of Richard Adams’ novel. It’s one of the few animated films in the collection to date, but don’t go gathering up the kids, movie nerds — from the moment little Fiver gets his apocalyptic vision, wherein “The field… the field… it’s covered with blood!,” it’s very clear that this is one cartoon that’s not for the kiddies. But it’s also a terrific movie, reminding us that too often, the seemingly malleable form of the animated feature film is consigned to family entertainment and left there. Here are a few notable …Read More
In a world where you have more options for satisfying longform reading than ever, your friends here at Flavorwire are taking the time once a week to highlight some of the best that journalism and longform has to offer. Whether they’re unified by topic, publication, writer, being classic pieces of work, or just by a general feeling, these articles all have one thing in common: they’re essential reading. This week, we’re looking at the best of George Orwell, who passed away sixty-five years ago on January 21, 1960.
Poison–readily available in traditional domestic settings and requiring little brute force to use effectively–has long been considered a woman’s weapon. While most poisonings are committed by men–only 39.5 percent are committed by the fairer sex–if a woman kills, she’s most likely to have used poison as her method. At The Hairpin, Meredith Haggerty wrote a piece detailing some of history’s most famous–and horrifying–female poisoners, including Lucrezia Borgia (who was said to possess a ring filled with poison that she’d use at parties), pictured above.
We’ve reached the time of year when the days seem impossibly short and the nights never ending. Good if you’re a vampire or like to go to sleep early, less exciting for the rest of us. So what is one to do with all this extra darkness? Well, read some dark books, of course. Because there’s nothing better to cut through the literal gloom than to curl up with some intellectual doom. All you need is a tiny light to see your book by. Read on for 50 gloriously dark novels to read during these dark days. After a while, you may even stop wishing for the light to …Read More
Gainfully employed denizens of the modern world: happy Labor Day. While you’re celebrating the American labor movement by taking a day off of whatever job you complain about most of the time, why not indulge in a little literature — particularly literature that reminds you just how good you have it when you are in the office? After the jump, you’ll find ten of the absolute worst jobs ever committed to fiction. Check them out, and go back to work tomorrow with a happy heart.
It’s hard to be a person in the world today — or, really, any day, but today’s what we’ve got. Humans are striving creatures, and also empathetic ones, so most of us are always looking for an opportunity to improve ourselves, even in tiny, literary ways. We’ve already established that novels can make you a better person, but of course, novels also take you down a long winding road to get there. If you’re looking for a more direct shot to the heart, try an essay. After the jump, you’ll find 50 essays more or less guaranteed to make you a better person — or at least a better-read one — some recommended by notables of the literary and literary nonfiction world, some recommended by yours truly, incessant consumer of the written word. Don’t see the essay that changed your life? Please do add it to the list.
“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better.” This is a quote from George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language,” and it could lead one to say, “Hey, you know, the way people inappropriately call things Orwellian all the time is, like, totally Orwellian!” But let’s not say that, because it would be silly. Instead, in view of Amazon’s hilarious misappropriation of an Orwell quote in its ongoing battle with Hachette, it might be more fun to take a look at a few of the many times in recent memory when Orwell’s memory has been used and abused. Take a look after the jump, but watch out for Big Brother.