Italo Calvino

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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Writers Praising Writers: 15 of the Best Compliments from One Author to Another

We all know authors can insult one another with aplomb, but do those bitter wordsmiths ever have anything nice to say? Well, yes, of course. If we had to guess, we’d say that most authors’ biggest fans are other authors, who might understand a given piece of literature better than any mere mortal — or they might just be more likely to write about it. In the excellent collection Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story, which hit shelves last week, 20 famous writers choose and introduce the short stories from the periodical that moved and thrilled them. In honor of the book’s publication, we’ve put together a few of our favorite author-on-author compliments. Click through to spread the love, and if we’ve missed your favorite compliment, add to our list in the comments. … Read More

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10 Essential Books for Book Nerds

What makes a book nerd? Reading a lot of books — and liking to talk about said books — is a major requirement, of course, but there’s often something a little more nebulous involved: book nerds are the kinds of people who get a little thrill when walking into a bookstore, who press volumes into their friends’ hands with serious promises of life changing moments, who are fascinated by following the many tangled threads through authors and literature, happily wandering wherever they might lead. Robin Sloan’s recently published Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is a book for such people — if you can’t already tell from the title. If you count yourself among them (or are looking for a gift for the same), we’ve put together a list of books you might want to consider taking a look at. Click through to read through our list of essential books for book nerds — and since you’re probably not a true book nerd if you’re satisfying with ten, add your own picks to our list in the comments! … Read More

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15 of the Greatest Lists in Literature

This week, Threaded reminded us of one of our favorite moments in Joan Didion’s The White Album — when she lists her packing list, incredibly simple and yet so revealing. Lists, of course, are no rare thing in literature, and have many uses, from adding quirk to showing off knowledge, and have storied positions in classic texts like The Faerie Queene (so many different kinds of trees) and The Illiad (200+ lines of Greek chieftains). Inspired by Didion, we spent some time thinking about our favorite lists in literature, from short to impossibly long, from lists that catalogue items to those that follow the train of imagination. Click through to check out the literary lists we think are the funniest, most revealing, most interesting or flat out strangest, and if we’ve missed your own favorite, tell us about it in the comments. And yes, it does not escape us that this is a list of lists. Meta is the way we like it.
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10 Beautiful Buildings Inspired by Famous Books

Truly wonderful books have a habit of growing and changing years after they’ve been written, worming themselves into places you might not expect — our decisions, our aesthetic and cultural sense, and even, with the right kind of care, our physical world. Case in point: Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence, which opened in Istanbul last weekend, is an extensive museum (reportedly, he spent almost all of his 1.5 million Nobel Prize dollars on it) devoted to expanding on and complementing his recent novel, The Museum of Innocence. Since we can’t make it to Turkey to experience the place for ourselves, we’ve collected a few other amazing buildings born from books — whether inspired by particular novels, stories, or a writer’s entire oeuvre — to tide us over. Click through to see our gallery of real-life architecture inspired by literature from all over the world, and let us know if we’ve missed your favorite literary tribute in the comments. … Read More

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10 Books to Fuel Your Springtime Wanderlust

We don’t know about you, but as the weather gets nicer, we here at Flavorpill find ourselves staring out of our windows, peering longingly at the world beyond, wishing for a little adventure and travel. Yes, that annual springtime wanderlust is hitting, and it’s hitting hard. But since we have jobs and responsibilities and things, we have to tide ourselves over until we can escape to the country — or at least a far-off park with some good climbing trees. Thus, we have created this list of wanderlust-inspiring books, to read on a plane, on a train, or just in your bedroom with dreams of exploration. Click through to read our picks, and let us know which books make you want to set out on your own in the comments. … Read More

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10 Spectacular Modern Fabulists

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

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Fake Books from Fiction That We Wish We Could Read

Within literature’s greatest books lives another library of books, unpublished and unwritten, nested in other books, imagined by their authors and materialized only in the imaginations of their readers — a painfully vast body of potentially brilliant work that we’ll never get to hold in our hands. That’s not to say that every meta-book is a must-read; take for example The Dictionary of the Finnish Language by Caprinulge, which features in Aldous Huxley’s Chrome Yellow – completely unreal and yet completely not something we’d choose to leaf through. Similarly, the white-supremacist The Rise of the Colored Empires by Goddard, thought up by Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby is not all that high on our wish list. But then there are titles that, wholly made up, sound like they might be even more captivating than the books they live in. And it’s those that we never stop hoping will one day be in print. After the jump, peruse 16 titles we’d add to our bookshelves, if only we could. … Read More

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