James Joyce

50 of the Greatest Characters in Literature

One of the things literature does better than almost any other medium is allow us to experience another person’s quality of mind, and sometimes even inhabit it. It follows, then, that every avid reader has a favorite literary character — whether they’re beloved for dastardly deeds, tough-girl antics, sex appeal, or a high snark quotient — and that there are many impossibly good ones out there. Click through to find 50 of the… Read More

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Read This Before This: 10 Great Books Based on Other Great Books

Literature is a never-ending, overlapping, sometimes circular conversation — between writers, between readers, between books themselves. This fact can make for some fascinating and rewarding reading. After all, what’s more interesting than listening in on one genius talking to another? There are some novels that are better if you have a little bit of background going in — and sometimes that background is nothing more or less than another great novel. Here are a few books you should pair the way you would a fine wine with an excellent cheese — each enhancing the other and making for a very satisfying… Read More

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10 of the All-Time Greatest Masturbation Scenes in Literature

This week saw the release of Ben Lerner’s 10:04, which, beside being a truly remarkable book, happens to feature a hilarious scene of masturbation. Despite the fact that it has been dubbed by some “literature’s last taboo,” the onanist impulse crops up more than you’d think in novels, and often makes for some great — or at least greatly amusing — writing. After the jump, a few favorites from literature both classic and contemporary for you to giggle over. … Read More

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Why James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ Is ‘The Most Dangerous Book’

We read biographies in order to find out about extraordinary lives in extraordinary times, and they all follow the same formula at their heart: birth, life, and then death. What is smart about Kevin Birmingham’s marvelous new work The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses is that it is not a straightforward biography of a person. Rather, it tells the tale of one landmark book — Ulysses — its birth and still-vital life and what it meant for modernism, publishing, copyright law, and obscenity trials. … Read More

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How to Celebrate Bloomsday Without Totally Embarrassing Yourself

The celebration of holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo has become downright awful in America, thanks mostly to their embrace by drunken masses that have little to no cultural affiliation with the countries where the holidays originated. Bloomsday, which honors James Joyce’s Ulysses, is something of the literary version of those days, but with fewer frat boys throwing up in the streets. It is a fun day on the calendar for Joyce lovers, and even those who couldn’t finish or didn’t understand Ulysses, to celebrate — and it’s just about as official as literary holidays get. … Read More

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Happy Bloomsday! You Must Listen to Frank Delaney’s ‘Re: Joyce’ Podcast on ‘Ulysses’

One of the pleasures of my time spent living upstate was the occasional run-in with Frank Delaney, a man… Read More

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The New Classics: 21 Writers Tell Us Which Books They’d Add to the Canon

What makes a book a classic? We’ve been revisiting the question recently thanks to a piece by Laura Miller at Salon,which explored what makes a book worthy of inclusion in the canon. Should David Foster Wallace be counted among the greats? Does Slaughterhouse-Five stand alongside Ulysses and the novels of Charles Dickens? Do these questions even matter? We asked a handful of critics, writers, and publishing industry people for their take on which new and underrated books should be considered… Read More

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Which Books Should We Stop Calling Classics?

Recently, at Salon, Laura Miller wondered what makes a book a classic, and who gets to say which books should be included in the conversation: do booksellers or online book communities like Goodreads get to make the call? Do critics? Should we consider David Foster Wallace’s work among these classics, even though it’s so recent? Does a canon even exist or matter? … Read More

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10 Authors on James Joyce

Happy birthday to literature’s modernist master, James Joyce. Writers are still finding devastatingly beautiful ways to describe the impact that the Ulysses author continues to have on their work, paying homage to one of the most innovative writers of the twentieth century. Here are ten authors on the Irish novelist’s work, life, and enduring influence. … Read More

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25 Big Novels That Are Worth Your Time

What we love about big novels is that you have to get really comfortable with them. A big page count usually equals a big chunk of time, meaning you need to be a serious reader without a fear of commitment, but with books like Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, and Sergio de la Pava’s A Naked Singularity receiving heaps of praise and major literary awards in 2013, there is a very great chance that this year will probably see its share of great novels that tip the scales at over 500 pages. With that, we offer you this list of epic page turners that you may have missed, skipped, or just couldn’t finish the first time, because we believe that bigger can certainly be better, and these books are proof of… Read More

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