Italo Calvino

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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The 50 Books Everyone Needs to Read, 1963-2013

The thing about reading is this: it takes a long time. There are innumerable books in the world, and many more good ones than can be read by any mortal in a lifetime. It’s hard to choose — especially if you’re a slow reader. So, to go along with the list of the best albums from 1963-2013, here you will find a single must-read book from each of the last 50… Read More

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‘Camera Obscura': Incredible Photographs of Indoor Cityscapes

In his 1978 novel Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino wrote, “The city…does not tell its past but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the street, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls.” In Abelardo Morell‘s photography series, Camera Obscura (via Faith is Torment), every crevice of the interior space is infused with the city. The artist created his series by photographing outdoor cityscapes from Times Square to the Brooklyn Bridge and then projecting these images, with a small lens or prism, onto the walls of rooms. Morell has observed that an “increased sense of reality” lends itself to the photos, though perhaps it’s more the unreality of these images, and how the interior, when interposed with the exterior, begins to take on new meanings. We might regard these rooms as invisible cities in themselves, containing everything and nothing.

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10 Phenomenally Tricky Books Everyone Should Read

This morning, we read Laura Miller’s piece on “sneaky author tricks” over at Salon, in which she muses on the dangers of metafictional, tricks-y writing — one of her points being that if an author’s going to do it, he’d better do it well. Like Miller, we are rather fond of authorial tricks, and considering that today is April Fools’ day, we thought we’d collect a few of the best here. Click through to see a few of our favorite tricky books. … Read More

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The Flâneur in Fiction: Great Books About Wandering the City

Earlier this week, in a piece I wrote about Jean Rhys at the Paris Review, I imagined walking with the author through Cambridge, London, Paris, and New York. In Rhys’ metropolitan novels – Quartet (1928), After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie (1930), Voyage in the Dark (1934), and Good Morning, Midnight (1939) – writing and walking become confluent activities. But her fiction arrives in a long tradition of flâneur writing. Baudelaire once defined the flâneur as “lounger or saunterer, an idle ‘man about town.’” Walter Benjamin’s writing on the arcades of Paris reads like a blueprint. Woolf haunted the streets of London by night, as did Dickens before her. Even Freud got stuck in the city, as walking in Rome invoked an “uncanny” experience, thus informing the polemic for which the father of psychoanalysis is most famous. These authors inspired us to compile a list of our favorite writing on wandering. Saunterers, loungers, and loafers: don’t forget to comment with your favorite walking stories. … Read More

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10 Lists That Read Like Poems

If you’re a frequent visitor to this space, you know that we rather enjoy lists here at Flavorpill. Recently, we found our habit (compulsion?) affirmed by Katie Kitamura’s excellent article on listmaking, “Literary Lists: Proof of Our Existence,” over at The Guardian. In it, Kitamura discussed the appeal of the list, particularly in literature, quoting Umberto Eco, who said, “We have a limit, a very discouraging, humiliating limit: death. That’s why we like all the things that we assume have no limits and, therefore, no end. It’s a way of escaping thoughts about death. We like lists because we don’t want to die.” She goes on to write that “it requires real faith in the powers of fiction beyond style, in the formal aspect of language and its ability to approximate infinity.” Indeed. Inspired by Kitamura’s description of the form, we’ve hunted around for ten great lists, from literary sources and otherwise, that seem like they could be poems in and of themselves. Read through for some list-y inspiration after the jump, and add your own favorites to our infinite list of lists in the comments. … Read More

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The Surprising Meanings of 20 Famous Authors’ Last Names

As kids, we were always fascinated by the meaning of our names — what did they say about us? What ancient history were we somehow connected to? And while we’re not so interested for ourselves anymore (as you can see, this writer has a pretty boring last name), it’s still fun to find out what other people’s names mean. Especially if those other people are famous writers, some of whom are now known only by the words that surround and come from them. To this end, we did some snooping, and using a mixture of foreign language dictionaries and online genealogy databases, we came up with the list below. Some might surprise you — but some fit like a glove. After the jump, school yourself on the meaning of 20 famous authors’ last names, and if you know of any secrets we’ve missed, add to our list in the comments. … Read More

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A Required Reading List For the End of the World

Well, we’ve made it folks: it’s the end of the world. Or, er, maybe it will be, sometime today. In these end times, we’ve been thinking about our dear friend P.J. O’Rourke, who once quipped a quip that’s always nagging at the back of our minds: “always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” Well, readers, the day has come. Now, whether anyone else will be around to see your cool death-read is a separate question, but if you need a little guidance as to what to keep on your person for posterity, we’re here for you. After the jump, a few books we think would send you off with a bang — whether today or years from now. Get on it. … Read More

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The Best Books Flavorpill Staffers Read in 2012

Year-end best-of book lists can be tough. After all, if you’re anything like us, you’re still catching up on the best books of 2010 — or 1910 — and only sneaking a few brand new hardcovers into the mix. So when sitting down to contemplate our collective year in reading, we decided to include everything, not just the new stuff. After the jump, your humble literary editor and a few other Flavorpill staffers expound on the best books we read this year — whether they be books that came out this year, or just the ones we finally (finally!) got around to reading. And inquiring minds want to know, dear readers, what was the best book you read this year? Let us know in the comments. … Read More

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Photos of Famous Authors Reading Famous Books

“If you want to be a writer,” Stephen King tells us at the beginning of his classic craft book On Writing, “you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” We think it’s pretty fair to say that King has done both — and so have most other famous authors. After all, that’s how they got there. But what do they read? We scoured the web to find pictures of a few of our favorite authors reading — and from what we can tell, they spend a lot of time reading their own books (or at least a lot of time being photographed reading them). After the jump, check out a few famous authors reading, whether their own books or other writers’, and if you have a cool photo we missed, add to our collection in the comments! … Read More

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