Harper Lee

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30 Best Pop Culture Spinsters

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The word “spinster” refers to an unmarried woman, and is most often synonymous with the stereotype of the past-her-prime old maid, a woman who hasn’t made a good match and who’s doomed to live an unfulfilling life. Well, that’s just stereotypes talking, because… hey, what’s wrong with that, exactly? The answer is absolutely nothing. Pop culture has given us some pretty great spinsters (although on average they do fall within a specific, homogenous, moneyed, and white demographic). So here are our 30 favorite writers, artists, and fictional characters who show the freedom that comes from living an unmarried life — female characters who are defined by their wants and desires, and not characterized through the simple scrim of their relationships.
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50 Novels Featuring Famous Authors as Characters

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With not one, but two novels featuring Jane Austen, one featuring the ghost of Dorothy Parker, and a third about Virginia Woolf and her sister hitting shelves soon, it seemed like a good time to survey the entire “writer-as-character” category of novels. Who are the most popular fictionalized writers? It’s no surprise to see a ton of Shakespeares, Dickenses, and Brontës scampering with pens through the pages of other peoples’ novels. But a graphic-novel Susan Sontag? Cranky Robert Frost? Witty Alexander Pope? These are some of the delights we uncovered for your reading… Read More

debuts

50 of the Greatest Debut Novels Since 1950

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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

characters

50 of the Greatest Characters in Literature

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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

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25 Great Pieces of Life Advice From Literature

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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

to kill a mockingbird

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

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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.”
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7 Great One-Hit Wonder Novelists

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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.
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