Gertrude Stein

10 Beach-Ready Book and Music Pairings

Are hotter temperatures keeping you inside with your paperback and vinyl libraries, or outside on the beach with your iPod and headphones? Either way, for those of you still searching for things to read and listen to, we present this season’s round of appropriate musical selections to accompany summer books new and old. … Read More

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25 Essential Books About Americans in Paris

Paris: the city of lights, and the city of endless romanticizing from Americans who have heard that it’s a magical land of baguettes and artistic freedom. Americans have been traveling to Paris to be appreciated for their poetic struggle for years, and a whole Seine’s worth of books have come along to share the story of Americans in Paris, from the Lost Generation to Henry James to James Baldwin. In this list we’re looking at some of the best and most crucial memoirs and biographies featuring some of America’s best artists and most interesting… Read More

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Stylish Bookmarks Featuring Famous Female Authors

This idea of reading only women for awhile, as a way to balance out gender inequity in the literary world, has been around for quite some time. I started doing it years ago, in college, when I noticed that all the books I was reading were by men. I no longer adhere to such a hard-and-fast rule, but it has inflected my reading life ever since. I don’t know about you, but I picture a reading life to be a kind of scavenger hunt, like, one clue in one book leads to another. And because I spent a little time focusing on women, I was led to other books by women more or less by osmosis. It stopped being something I had to deliberately seek out. … Read More

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Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball: The Greatest Literary Party of All Time

Truman Capote was a writer, sure, but a master of spectacle too. Even his most well-known work, In Cold Blood, while stylish and captivating, was more an event than anything. It helped usher in the era of New Journalism, made Capote a household name, put the spotlight on a small Kansas town, and to this day remains a magnet for criticism, with reports emerging that Capote may have not been totally on the money. … Read More

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50 Incredibly Tough Books for Extreme Readers

Maybe it’s a Pavlovian response to years of schooling, or that the brisk weather affords more hours inside, or something else entirely, but the fact is this: November seems like the time to take on the heftiest reading on your list. And let’s face the facts: some books are only for the toughest readers on the block, your Sylvester Stallones of literature, as it were. So for those of you who count yourself tough, here’s a list of books for you: some absurdly long, some notoriously difficult, some with intense or upsetting subject matter but blindingly brilliant prose, some packed into formations that require extra effort or mind expansion, and some that fit into none of those categories, but are definitely for tough girls (or guys)… Read More

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Woody Allen to ‘Toy Story': Pop Culture’s Greatest Homages to Picasso

For a man who passed away 40 years ago, Pablo Picasso has had little trouble getting his name out these days. This week, his masterpiece Guernica, which depicted the bombing of a Basque village during the Spanish Civil War, will be welcomed as a source of inspiration in the conflict-weary National Center for Modern Art in Tunisia. Earlier this month, the apartment where Picasso painted Guernica became an object of dispute when the Chambre des Huissiers de Justice, which donated the space to a local arts group, decided the apartment was too valuable to give away, and sought to reclaim it. And yesterday, a Picasso painting worth $11.5 million was seized by US authorities in New York. According to the Associated Press, it will be held for the Italian government indefinitely, pending the outcome of criminal proceedings in an Italian court against the collector Gabriella Amati, who stands accused of smuggling. … Read More

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15 Cultural Icons on the Pleasures of Coffee

Artistic coffee addicts the world over were doubtless dismayed to read an article in this week’s New Yorker asserting that their beloved cup of joe might actually be stifling their creativity. Sure, there may be science behind it, but considering how many writers and artists have used the stuff, Flavorwire is not wholly convinced (willful ignorance?). To plead the case, find some coffee-related musings from various creative types after the jump. If you find your favorite missing here, add it to the list in the comments. … Read More

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Visit Some of History’s Most Famous Literary Salons

This morning, we spotted a few gorgeous photographs of Coco Chanel’s book-filled salon over at Book Patrol, and it got us to thinking about that much-romanticized, often revived tradition of thinkers from centuries past: the literary salon. For your daydreaming pleasure, we’ve collected a few paintings and photographs of famous literary salons from the 1600s to the 1970s. … Read More

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The 10 Grumpiest Authors in Literary History

The new issue of The Believer features an interview with the late Maurice Sendak. Inspired by his “legendary crossness,” we’ve rounded up a list of the grumpiest authors of all… Read More

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15 Postcards from Famous Authors

Summer may seem like the ideal postcard-writing season, what with cruises and camp, but we’ve always been most inspired to write them in the fall, when the leaves are changing and we’re feeling wistful. So to amp up that wistful feeling a bit — and since as you’ve probably noticed, we just can’t get enough of ogling literary ephemera — we went on the hunt for interesting postcards written by famous authors, from Jack Kerouac to Franz Kafka to Rainer Maria Rilke. Click through and admire the penmanship, doodles, and forceful words of a few of your favorite… Read More

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