Herman Melville

50 Incredibly Tough Books for Extreme Readers

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

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Then and Now: Photos of Real Places Mentioned in Fiction

Looking through Jane Austen’s England by Roy and Lesley Adkins, it’s difficult not to compare the way things were during England’s Georgian and Regency eras with the England of today. The book gives a glimpse at everything from wedding superstitions to the “Bloody Code” (the country’s system of laws and punishments from 1688 to 1815, including the 50 offenses that were punishable by death), which highlight how much has changed since the time of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. But what about the times and places that influenced other classic authors? More specifically, what do the real places mentioned in famous works of fiction look like now? … Read More

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50 of the Best Books You Haven’t Read by Authors You Already Love

Looking for something to read but don’t want to stray too far from the authors you know and love? Seeking undiscovered literary gems to talk about at dinner parties? Want to delve into the backlist of a certain Great American Author? Well, Flavorwire has got you covered. After all, sometimes, amazing books just get lost in the shuffle, whether it’s because they’re before their time, fall out of fashion, or their author has one blockbuster that blots out all the rest. Click through to check out 50 great under-appreciated, under-read, and overshadowed novels by 50 of your favorite… Read More

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50 Places Every Literary Fan Should Visit

If you’re like us, and you hear that you’re in an area that is home to a place that has any little bit of literary historical significance, you have to go and visit it. Since there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll soon be hopping in your car or your friend’s car, or boarding a train, bus, plane, or some other mode of transportation that will bring you to a place that isn’t the city you spend the rest of the year living in, we’ve compiled this list of literary places all over the world that you should visit if you happen to be in the neighborhood.… Read More

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10 Books That Sum Up The Contradictions of American Life

As we head towards the 237th birthday of the United States of America, last week’s news cycle and various political discussions have given us a whole new set of reasons to ponder the many contradictions that make our country the great and beautiful mess that it is. From high unemployment numbers to rampant violence to politicians arguing over our personal freedoms, there is more than enough to remind us how strange of a place America can be. While the jury is still out over whether the Great American Novel has been written or will be written, there are plenty of other books that can help us attempt to navigate through the weirdness that is… Read More

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The Books Flavorwire Staffers Read Too Early

Earlier this week, writer Matthue Roth published My First Kafka: Runaways, Rodents, and Giant Bugs, a collection of Kafka stories re-told for children. This is a brilliant idea, since anyone exposed to Kafka at a young age is likely to grow up stranger and better — even if it’s only a form of Kafka. Here at the Flavorwire office, the book sparked a few conversations about age-appropriate reading, and more than one story about a great book read too early. Some of us still have the scars. After the jump, check out the literary regrets of a selection of staffers who read the classics much too early, and then let us know which non-age-appropriate read still haunts you in the comments. … Read More

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Required Reading List: Ron Swanson

“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten,” Ralph Waldo Emerson famously quipped, “even so, they have made me.” In this bi-weekly series, Flavorwire plays professor to some of everyone’s favorite pop culture characters, assigning reading lists tailored to their temperaments or — in some cases — designed to make them into slightly better people. After all, even fictional characters can have their lives changed by books. Or so we imagine. This week, in advance of Father’s Day, a few recommendations for dad-of-your-dreams (and, apparently, father-to-be) Ron Swanson. … Read More

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Classic Books Annotated by Famous Authors

Readers come in two editions: those who write in their books, and those who don’t. No matter which you are on your own time, there’s great pleasure to be found in paging through marked-up copies of other people’s books — particularly when the original owners were famous writers themselves. Whether scribbled or printed, snide or appreciative, an author’s annotations give equal insight into the book and the reader, and double as yet another reason to buy physical books. Click through to see the marginalia in the books of a few great… Read More

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Seafaring Must-Reads for a Swashbuckling Summer

“Down dropped the breeze, the sails dropped down, / ‘Twas sad as sad could be; / And we did speak only to break / The silence of the sea.” –- The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Samuel Taylor Coleridge). If you’re planning on spending some time on the open water this summer — or, more likely, if you only wish you were, you’re in luck. After all, you can get a taste of sea salt air from your living room… if you choose the right book. To that end, Flavorwire asked Ethan Rutherford, whose own excellent debut collection, The Peripatetic Coffin, is a perfect nautical summer read, awash with sailboats, ships and futuristic whales, to pick his favorite seafaring reads for summer or any time. … Read More

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The Questionable Fates of Famous Authors’ Birthplaces

This week, we were surprised by the news that George Orwell’s Indian birthplace will be developed into a memorial. Why should that be so surprising, you ask? Well, because it’s not being turned into a memorial for George Orwell, but for the entirely deserving but somewhat more random Mahatma Gandhi. Though many authors’ birthplaces have been turned into museums or monuments to their lives, several have met with rather more questionable (and sometimes downright upsetting) fates. We investigate after the jump. … Read More

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