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
Back-to-school time is upon us, and for many, that means reading for pleasure will give way to burning through that syllabus. Classrooms, especially high school classrooms (college classes are becoming so weird and specific nowadays that you could read just about anything in them), suffer from the “classic effect” — which is exactly what it sounds like. Not that there’s anything wrong with literary classics, and they definitely should be read, but there’s so much more out there. And when you consider the fact that one-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives — well, it would be nice if they had a little more to go on than The Great Gatsby. After the jump, find a selection of books you’ll (probably) never read in high school, but should still read, and add your own favorite anti-schoolbooks to the list in the comments. … Read More
In these weeks of midwinter, there’s nothing more satisfying than curling up by the fire with a good novel — and in particular a good mystery novel, because they somehow seem to keep you the warmest. Plus, what with a new season of Sherlock starting this week, your appetite for more murders, clues, and suspicious persons might just be piqued. Click through to check out 50 essential mystery novels that will bring color to your cheeks and set your brain… Read More
Before his death, legendary crime writer Mickey Spillane entrusted the completion of his unfinished work to his longtime friend, Max Allan Collins — a top-notch writer in his own right. This month, Collins has completed and released Complex 90, Spillane’s unfinished sequel to The Girl Hunters. To celebrate its publication, Flavorwire asked Collins to sound off on a few of his favorite Cold War thrillers. Bone up on your spy skills with his picks, and be sure to add any favorites that Collins missed to the list in the comments. … Read More
Since we discovered an ongoing crowdsource project called Legacy Libraries, we haven’t been able to tear our eyes away from it. The organization gathers information about the libraries of historical people — authors, artists, scientists, and more. By compiling data from bibliographies, auction catalogs, library holdings, manuscript lists, wills and probate inventories, and from the personal verification of extant copies, Legacy Libraries is able to conjure a snapshot of the titles resting on famous bookshelves.
The group started out reconstructing the library of Thomas Jefferson in 2007, which has since been handed over to librarians at his Monticello estate. Since then, the database has expanded to include everyone imaginable, like Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe (at one point she was reading How to Eat Your Way to Glowing Health, Why I Am Not a Christian, and Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment) and Tupac (who had a thing for books about psychics and enjoyed Henry Miller and Anais Nin).
We imagined the bookshelves of well-known authors also contained some fascinating reads, and we were right. Click through to see what books your favorite writers curled up with, in many cases offering an interesting view into their personal lives and mindset. Head to Legacy Libraries where you can create an account to see if your own library matches that of any famous faces. … Read More
You may know Robert Silverberg as one of the great science fiction writers of the second half of the 20th century — not only has he published dozens of novels in the genre, but he won five Hugo Awards, including one for “best new writer” in 1956, five Nebula Awards, and was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America in 2004 (the organization’s highest honor). What’s less well known about Silverberg is that early in his career he also wrote more than a million words of crime fiction under a variety of pen names, and was a mainstay of the pulp crime magazines of the 1950s and ’60s.
One of the best of his hardboiled thrillers, Blood on the Mink, has never appeared in book form or under Silverberg’s real name, and in fact hasn’t appeared in any form whatsoever for half a century. But thanks to the award-winning Hard Case Crime series, the novel is hitting bookstores this week. In honor of the book’s publication and Silverberg’s many literary talents, we asked Charles Ardai, the book’s editor, to come up with some other examples of authors best known for their work in one genre but who also made a splash — sometimes surprisingly — in another. Click through to read Ardai’s list, and be sure to chime in with your own favorite genre-hoppers in the comments. … Read More
The newest celebrity scandal has nothing to do with sex, drugs, or alimony. Instead, New York Times dining writer Julia Moskin recently shared a behind the scenes look at cookbook ghostwriting and outed star Gwyneth Paltrow. Moskin states that the actress did not write her best-selling cookbook, My Father’s Daughter. Gwenny isn’t happy and responded to the claim on Twitter. “Love @nytimes dining section but this weeks facts need checking. No ghost writer on my cookbook, I wrote every word myself,” she shared with fans.
While we love a good cookbook, the recent headlines inspired us to revisit some of our favorite fiction penned by ghostwriters instead. Many famous authors have either helped others find their footing in the literary world, or have sought the assistance of an invisible friend. Check out ten ghostwriting collaborations past the break. Head to our comments section to leave your own picks. … Read More
Two of literature’s most popular writers shared an intriguing conversation in 1958. Raymond Chandler — whose hardboiled pulp protagonist Philip Marlowe has become synonymous with the American detective novel — and Ian Fleming — father of the British spy, playboy, and adventurer, James Bond — chatted about heroes, villains, and the differences between the American and British thriller in this 24-minute long interview for the BBC. They share an obvious mutual appreciation for each other’s work, and Fleming often defers to Chandler — at one point even saying, ” … You write better books than I do.” Chandler questions Fleming’s use of torture in his stories, but also admits, “I know what it is to be banged on the head with a revolver butt.” Fleming describes his frustration with the hero label when it comes to 007: “I never intended my leading character, James Bond, to be a hero. I intended him to be a sort of blunt instrument wielded by a government department … On the whole I think he’s a rather unattractive man … ” For more fascinating confessions and tales from two scribes who are masters of their craft, hit the jump to listen to the deliciously crackled tape recording, or download a PDF copy over here. … Read More