Gore Vidal

17 Unrepentantly Trashy Beach Reads for 2015

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According to the National Ocean Service, almost 40 percent of the American population lives in a county located directly on a shoreline. If you then imagine America as a giant sanitation vehicle, and if you also figure that most Americans can read, then you arrive at a simple conclusion: we are all, in one way or another, human literary trashcans destined for the beach. With this in mind, here is a selection of the most interesting literary trash of 2015 so …Read More

The Revealing First Entries in 10 Fictional Diaries

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Marilyn Monroe made the character Lorelei Lee famous after her portrayal of the diamond-loving gold-digger in the 1953 Howard Hawks musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. But author Anita Loos, who was born on this day, invented the outrageous blonde in her 1925 Jazz-Age novel of the same name. Written in the form of Lorelei’s diary, spelling mistakes and all, Loos captures the character’s personality and obsession with wealth and status in the opening entry. These other fictional diaries are equally telling, revealing powerful themes and insights into each character from the very first page. It’s also fascinating to see how the diary format has often been relied upon to express the inner world of fictional women throughout literature.
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Gore Vidal’s Insane, Rejected Cairo Pulp Novel Resurfaces

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The little man shook his great head. “I have been to many countries. I’ve done many things. Now I play piano at Le Couteau Rouge.”

“What do you know about a woman named Hélène de Rastignac, a French countess?”

Le Mouche sighed. “Many things. I know, for instance, that she is not French, but Alexandrian, and I know that she is not a countess.”

“But is she rich?”

“I shouldn’t be surprised.”

“Was she a spy in the war?”

“Everyone in Cairo was a spy. It was the thing to be.”
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The Best and Worst of Sundance 2015 (Documentary Edition)

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The Sundance Film Festival draws to a close this weekend, but your film editor is already headed home from the land of snowy mountains, altitude headaches, crowded shuttles, and indie flicks galore. Because I managed to take in so many Sundance titles this year (34 total), we’re splitting our capsule review roundup into two parts; tomorrow we’ll look at the fest’s narrative films of note, while the focus today is on the documentary premieres and competition entrants. These 19 movies covered everything from sexual exploitation to famous faces to the movies themselves, with intelligence and grace; they (OK, most of them) are worth keeping an eye on in the months to come.
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10 Great, Underrated Movies From 2014

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In many ways, you can tell just as much about what kind of year it’s been by the movies that aren’t on the many year-end Top 10s and critics’ awards lists. If the regulars in those lists represented all there was to see, well, that’d be one thing (and in the case of this year’s movies, a fine thing); but 2014 was such an embarrassment of riches that even a rundown of the performances and films that aren’t generating “buzz” is pretty impressive. So, in advance of our own roundup of the year’s best movies later this week, we offer you a few less-discussed titles still worthy of your consideration.
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25 Authors Who Wrote Great Books Before They Turned 25

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Picture it: teenage Mary Shelley was on a vacation getaway, with her husband Percy and some of his rambunctious poet friends, like that rogue Lord Byron… and out of the group of legends, it’s Shelley herself who arguably published the greatest work of all at the ridiculous age of 30: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, a book that has penetrated our human consciousness. In honor of Shelley’s birthday this month, here’s a list of 25 other writers who created heartbreakingly beautiful work before they could get a discount on a rental …Read More

Flavorwire’s Guide to Indie Flicks to See in May

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Tonight, a certain overworked web slinger will swing into something like 4000 screens across the country, kicking off the summer movie season in an appropriate fashion: with a big, dumb, terrible franchise movie that will gross more money than most of us can even imagine. But don’t worry — contrary to what the ubiquitous marketing campaigns of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and a handful of others might indicate, there are other movies coming out this summer, and here are a few worth seeking out this month.
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When Celebrities Sue Celebrities: A History

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The news that Donald Trump is dropping — for now, anyway! — his monumentally stupid (even for him) lawsuit against Bill Maher may be good for the humorless blowhard and reality TV star, but it’s disappointing for late-night comedy writers and celeb jurisprudence fans. C’mon, admit it: that would’ve been a fun trial, if for nothing else than Maher’s testimony. At any rate, while we’re waiting to see if Trump holds true on his threat to return to the matter at a later date, here’s a look back at other instances of celebrities — real and C-list — who’ve taken each other to court.
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Tournament of Books Organizers Pick the Winners of 12 Classic Literary Beefs

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Today is the first day of The Morning News‘s epic annual Tournament of Books, an excellent and wordy alternative (or supplement) to March Madness for all us literary types. To celebrate, we asked the ToB’s organizers — the venerable Rosecrans Baldwin, Kevin Guilfoile, John Warner, and Andrew Womack — to act as judges for a few imaginary literary match-ups. Because who doesn’t want to imagine the results of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky throwing down? After the jump, find out who would win in a fight — Mailer or Vidal, Hemingway or Faulkner, Dorothy Parker or anybody, and more. Don’t agree? Argue your literary hearts out in the comments, and then be sure to get in on the real-life highbrow smackdown here.
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