Summertime is upon us: sticky subway rides, backyard barbecues, and a general lack of solid television. You should be outside anyway! I know, hilarious. But instead of binge-watching something old on Netflix, why not binge-read a great book series? You’ll get all the enjoyment of sticking with characters for hours and hours, through complicated, folding plots, and you can make it so Hugh Dancy plays every role (what do books look like in your mind?). Plus, you know, you can totally read these outside. Here are 25 awesome literary series to read this …Read More
Nearly everyone agrees that the BBC’s adaptation of Wolf Hall, which will debut this Sunday on PBS Masterpiece, is, well, a masterpiece — or nearly so. The consensus is that the sets are decorous and true to the Tudor period; the costuming expertly done; the actors solid all the way around, with the exception of Mark Rylance, who plays a Cromwell for the ages; and the dialogue both witty and utilitarian. The only hitch, critics will complain, is that TV version of Wolf Hall — which brings together Hilary Mantel’s historical novels Wolf Hall and Bringing Up the Bodies — is dark and ploddingly slow.
Honestly, I have no idea why two fictional assassinations of real people are causing controversy at the same time. First it was author Hilary Mantel’s short story “The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher” (see below). Next, as you probably know, The Interview — about the fictional assassination of Kim Jong-un — drew the ire of some hackers somewhere, and the result has been a maelstrom of insanity and AutoCorrect the likes of which Hollywood has never seen.
Fall! It’s a time for picking apples, wearing plaid, watching the leaves change color, and catching up on the season’s most beguiling new book releases. Fall is when the big houses bring out the big names, from Lena Dunham’s hotly anticipated book of essays, Not That Kind of Girl, to new work from future predictors Stephen Johnson and Nicholas Carr, to stories from reliable geniuses like Marilynne Robinson and Denis Johnson. We pared down a list of a million fascinating looking books (Good luck, Christian Rudder’s Dataclysm. Better list next time, Christos Tsiolkas’s well received Barracuda. I see you, Charles Burns’ Sugar Skull) to a workable group of 25 of the fall season’s must-reads. Add them to your list, and dominate cocktail parties all season long.
In December 2012, I read Joanna Russ’ How to Suppress Women’s Writing. In the book, Russ identifies the arguments that many people make to discredit female writers — “she only wrote one book,” “this isn’t a serious/important enough topic,” “she wrote it under a pseudonym because she wanted people to think she was a man,” and so on — and coolly dismantles them, one by one.
I’m already what I’d call a card-carrying feminist. Even before reading Russ’ book, I made an effort to seek out and support up-and-coming female writers, who generally get less publicity and support than their male counterparts. But after reading Russ’ book I realized that there was still much more I could do to advocate for female writers. I flashed to the famous Tallulah Bankhead quote about how best to support the theater: “Don’t be an actress, darling, be an audience.”
Five years ago this month saw the publication of Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 in English. The book topped almost every year-end list and signaled a shift in literary tastes, creating larger audiences for works in translation, historical storylines, and narrative complexity. Between the uncertain future of the publishing industry, the rise of indie presses, new literary magazines, and the Internet and ereaders, the years that followed were bittersweet for the book industry but also a unique and fruitful time for readers. The following 50 books provide several clues as to why that is, and also give a glimpse into the future of …Read More
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