As you may have heard, earlier this week Granta revealed their once-in-a-decade list of the 20 best young British novelists, an honor that more often than not is a harbinger of success (see Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, Julian Barnes). Curious as to the reading lists of these future international literary stars, we reached out to ask them to tell us about their favorite writers — and though not all of them stuck to the letter of our “young and British” stipulations, they all recommended amazing authors to add to our to-read pile. Check out the favorite writers of 2013′s Best Young British Novelists after the jump, and let us know which ones excite you most in the comments. … Read More
Tomorrow marks the release of an exciting new addition to the modern fabulist genre — Texas-based author Manuel Gonzales’s debut collection, The Miniature Wife. We’re always excited about anything cross-genre, in part because it feels essential, somehow more real than sticking to a single effect, and we’re particular fans of the realist/fantasist dichotomy in fiction. After all, that’s sort of the way we experience the world — half magic, half trying to find socks that match. After the jump, we’ve collected 10 works of modern literary fantasy that will have you seeing those socks in a whole new light — or maybe just seeing the ghost rabbit next to them. … Read More
Oh, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She just won’t go away, will she? The romantic dramedy Seeking a Friend for the End of the World opens in theaters tomorrow, and it seems to be only the newest incarnation of an age-old cinematic trend of young, whimsical women redeeming somewhat depressed and uncertain men with their quirky wiles. But though you know her as Zooey Deschanel, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is also a literary figure, identified by her charming left-of-center personality, her pronounced (and sometimes left-of-center) beauty, and her function as a usually rather flat character who serves to lead the male protagonist into self-discovery before disappearing (or dying). Click through to read about a few of our favorites, and then look at this Manic Pixie Dream Squirrel for extra credit. … Read More
Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and everyone should be thinking of ways to make the lady that gave birth to them smile. We’ve already given you a heads up on some last-minute Mother’s Day gifts that don’t suck, but if what your Mommy dearest really craves is a good book, well, we’ve got you covered there as well. We’ve limited ourselves to recommending books that have come out since last Mother’s Day (since we’re sure last year you picked the perfect book), so click through to see our picks of what books to give every kind of mom this weekend. And we know, we know — your mom probably fits into a number of these categories. Looks like you’ll just have to pick her up a whole pile of books, then. She’s worth it. … Read More
We don’t know about you, but there’s something about winter, and particularly the holidays, that makes us crave fables and fairy tales — though whether it has to do with wanting to recapture the feeling of stories we heard in snug beds as children or whether it’s related to the communal family table, we’re not sure. Though it’s by no means a new trend, we feel that we’ve been seeing the advent of more and more fabulists following in the tradition of Aesop and La Fontaine — or maybe just writers who incorporate fables into their oeuvre. Indeed, today marks the release of the first English translation of Gianni Rodari’s wonderful Lamberto, Lamberto, Lamberto from Melville House, which will satisfy our cravings — at least for tonight. For tomorrow and the next day, click through to read our list of ten modern fabulists guaranteed to whisk you — and the whole family — away. … Read More
Earlier this week, The New York Times published their annual list of 100 Notable Books, just in time for the holidays. While we can’t deny that every book on the list is a great pick, 100 is a pretty big number, so in case you don’t have the time or eye-strength to plow through their monster list, we’ve distilled it to the essentials, at least according to us. After all, while you probably don’t have 100 people on your holiday gift list, you probably do have 10, and you’ll find a little something for everybody here. Click through to see our favorites from their list, and let us know which of these you’re psyched to read — or which of the 100 you’d have chosen instead. … Read More
Sometimes even the most literary among us need some suggestions. And who better to oblige than the authors themselves? Welcome to Bookshelf, wherein we ask authors to design us a fantasy library, giving us their recommendations for the perfect reading material on a variety of topics. This week, we are treated to a to-read list full of twisted fairy tales by Helen Oyeyemi, the author of four novels (including 2009′s wonderful White is for Witching), the most recent of which, Mr. Fox, comes out this week from Riverhead Books.
We thought Oyeyemi perfect to suggest books about subversive witchery and remixed folklore, since Mr. Fox itself is in many ways a fantastic intertextual retelling of the Bluebeard tale, only here Bluebeard is a writer who keeps killing the same imaginary woman again and again. The novel also tackles the relationship between muse and artist, shows the way characters can both be and not be one another, themselves, someone else, and manages to subvert the classic fairy tale logic over and over again while still being wholly satisfying, funny, and perfectly dark. We asked Oyeyemi to suggest some of her own favorite twisted fairy tales, whether concerning wicked stepmothers, houses on chicken legs, or the king of the rats, so check out her picks after the jump and prepare to fall into another world.
Author photo by Saneesh Sukumaran. … Read More