There’s never a bad time to read about historically badass ladies, but since March is Women’s History Month, now is a particularly perfect moment to bust out your library card and take in some stories of women who’ve changed art, culture, and history as we know it. Here you’ll find 50 great biographies and autobiographies of famous, fascinating, and inspiring women, from Frida Kahlo to Mina Loy to Marie …Read More
It would be unwise, unfair, and impossible to list the sexiest poems in the Western tradition. Sex, you don’t need me to tell you, is variable, personal, and subjective. “Greatness is, too,” you might add. Maybe it is. But there is something about the poetry on this list that transcends the merely “good.” These poems, which span from antiquity to today, are great poems. There is something egalitarian, too, about this selection, which more or less chose itself. Sex as a poetic subject has a way of equalizing discourse by way of its …Read More
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.