Writing a novel (or a story, for that matter) is confusing work. There are just so many characters running all over the place, dropping hints and having revelations. So it’s no surprise that many authors plan out their works beforehand, in chart or list or scribble form, in order to keep everything straight. Click through for collection of those planning papers, which offer a peek into the process of some of your favorite authors, from James Salter to J.K.… Read More
Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this new weekly feature, our editorial staffers each recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed the most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments. … Read More
Dear reader, we made it. Spring has taken its sweet time, but at long last we’re looking forward to weeks and weeks of nice weather — all the better for outdoors reading and breaks in sunny nooks. This month, we’re diving into works by new writers, established masters, and everyone in between. But will we be able to breathe again after reading the new David Sedaris collection? Check out the ten books we’re most excited about reading this… Read More
If killer short story collections, triumphant returns, and more delicious-sounding novels than you can shake a stick at sounds like a good thing to you, then 2013 is shaping up to be a banner year for new… Read More
A couple weeks ago we posted about the books that might make you undateable — at least in the eyes of those who might, perhaps, yes, judge your romantic appeal based on the book you’re reading. (Sorry, but this is a thing that happens.) We were inspired by a Paris Review blog post about the books guys should read to attract girls. But what about the inverse? What kind of books might make a girl appealing to guys? Culled from a number of anecdotal conversations with young men that read, collated by us, here’s a sampling of books the ladies might consider sticking their noses into if they’re hoping to catch that special literary fly guy’s eye on the subway, at the bus station, in the library or around the copier room. … Read More
As part of James Salter month at the Paris Review, the journal’s blog has posted some of Salter’s notes and scribblings, documenting a little bit of his process coming up with the title for his 1975 novel Light Years. The novel is an exquisitely rendered, moving portrait of a disintegrating marriage told in beautiful sharp sentences, and like any other great work of art, it’s compelling for fans to see at least a tiny piece of the creative process. But even if you aren’t familiar with the work, it’s fascinating to watch Salter’s thought process play out on the page, to see his marked favorites and crossed-out options, to watch the sounds of the words shift and expand in his associations – ‘last’ becomes ‘lost,’ ‘light’ becomes ‘lies’ – careening towards the final title. … Read More
If we’re being honest: Sometimes sex is bad. It’s not always fireworks. It’s not always trumpeting and transcendent. Cosmic couplings, two-bodies-as-one, those sorts of rolls in the hay don’t happen every time you hit it. Thundering mind-annihilating orgasms are elusive.
And sometimes sex is bad in books — but we’re not talking the Bad Sex in Fiction of the infamous award. We’re not talking nipples like rodent noses or penises like pile-drivers (thanks, Rowan Somerville and Nick Cave). Nope, we’re talking about sex scenes in literature that explore the times when sex is sad, when it’s mournful, melancholy, desperate, violent, lonely, regrettable, necessary, inevitable. The times that leave you emptier than you’d started. These passages eschew the air-brushed fantasy for the messy truth (which is not to say these scenes aren’t erotic in their own ways). Below, the best of bad sex. … Read More
A few weeks ago, James Salter spoke at one of Paul Holdengraber’s always-brilliant Live from the NYPL events. We’d bought the ticket the day the event was announced, lovingly looked at that Friday on our calendar as it came closer and closer, and reveled in the fact that we would finally be in a room with this man.
And then, incidentally, we got a migraine and couldn’t go. We were devastated. He is our hero.
When we were younger, we wished we could read different books than we actually wanted to. Publicly, we read Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine, trashy teen novels that we loved for their beyond-the-grave high-schoolers and their symbiotic nerds. Privately, we read Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes (once a year, whether we needed it or not), or Louisa May Alcott, or, when we were really feeling it, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. We loved Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5 and Frank Herbert’s The White Plague. Nineteen-eighty-four and The English Patient. … Read More