Harper Lee

50 of the Greatest Debut Novels Since 1950

For a reader, there’s something magical about picking up a first novel — that promise of discovery, the possibility of finding a new writer whose work you can love for years to come, the likelihood of semi-autobiography for you to mull over. The debut is even more important for the writer — after all, you only get one first impression. Luckily, there are a lot of fantastic first impressions to be had. Click through for some of the greatest first novels written since 1950 — some that sparked great careers, some that are still the writers’ best work, and some that remain free-standing.… Read More

  • 0

50 of the Greatest Characters in Literature

One of the things literature does better than almost any other medium is allow us to experience another person’s quality of mind, and sometimes even inhabit it. It follows, then, that every avid reader has a favorite literary character — whether they’re beloved for dastardly deeds, tough-girl antics, sex appeal, or a high snark quotient — and that there are many impossibly good ones out there. Click through to find 50 of the… Read More

  • 0

25 Great Pieces of Life Advice From Literature

Everyone could use a bit of advice now and then. But what if you’re the type who eschews all human contact and prefers to converse only with characters in your books? Well, er, then even they might not be able to help you. All kidding aside, as any avid reader will know, many of the great works of literature are filled with wisdom, which you could do worse than to take to heart — especially in these back-to-school weeks, a time when a little extra advice can always help. Here, you’ll find a few nuggets of humanhood as doled out by literary (read: fictional!) characters who know a thing or… Read More

  • 0

Should It Matter Whether ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Is Young Adult Fiction?

In Marja Mills’ The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee, the reclusive author of American essential To Kill a Mockingbird opens up about her life through her friendship with Mills, a journalist from The Chicago Tribune. It is a book chock full of details regarding Lee’s extraordinary life, and how the success of Mockingbird allowed its author to live on her own terms, away from the glare of fame. While it has been pitched as the only book we’re getting that has the blessing of Harper Lee, according to the reclusive author herself, who released a statement on the work, it is unauthorized: “As long as I am alive, any book purporting to be with my cooperation is a falsehood.” … Read More

  • 0

Truman Capote Was a Psychopath and Other Revelations About Harper Lee’s Life From ‘The Mockingbird Next Door’

Marja Mills’ engrossing first book, The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee, is an extraordinary account of roughly a decade in the day-to-day life of the reclusive writer behind one of America’s seminal texts: To Kill a Mockingbird. … Read More

  • 2

7 Great One-Hit Wonder Novelists

Do you ever wonder which books by a contemporary author you love will live on through the ages? 50 or 100 years from now, will Zadie Smith be remembered just for White Teeth, or will her complete body of work be studied? Will anybody actually remember any of Donna Tartt’s books, or will all the hubbub about her Pulitzer-winning bestseller be forgotten? Some writers have bodies of work that people keep reading and studying long after they’ve gone, while others, if they’re lucky, are remembered for just one book. But sometimes, as you’ll see with this list, being remembered for just one book isn’t such a bad thing. … Read More

  • 4

The 50 Best Southern Novels Ever Written

The American South has long been seen as the focus of the country’s Civil Rights Movement, carrying with it the stigma of poverty, racism, and anti-intellectualism. Yet the region has also produced a disproportionate number of intellectuals, poets, and writers, possibly because of the complicated and layered identities each Southerner holds within him- or herself. The South has begotten some of our nation’s most important authors, including prize winners like William Styron, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Ralph Ellison, Harper Lee, and that titan of American letters, William Faulkner. These 50 novels are a reminder that the South cannot be defined solely by its failings; it is also responsible for shaping the minds of countless thinkers who offered to American literature essential insights about not only their region but the world at… Read More

  • 14

Which Books Should We Stop Calling Classics?

Recently, at Salon, Laura Miller wondered what makes a book a classic, and who gets to say which books should be included in the conversation: do booksellers or online book communities like Goodreads get to make the call? Do critics? Should we consider David Foster Wallace’s work among these classics, even though it’s so recent? Does a canon even exist or matter? … Read More

  • 0