Jeffrey Eugenides

10 Essential Alternative Anthologies for the Modern Reader

We’ve all been exposed to the classic anthologies — your Nortons, your Oxfords, your Best American series — but sometimes we need to step out of the box a little bit and reach for the anthologies that weren’t handed out to everyone we know in Freshman Lit, whether because they’re too specific or just too out there. Here, we’ve put together a list of a few alternative anthologies that we think should be on everyone’s to-read list. They might not be quite what you’re used to, but hey, it’s always good to learn something new. And of course, these are simply the anthologies that have spoken to us — there are many more alternative collections, some more or less essential depending on your interests, so we hope that you’ll add your own favorites to our list in the comments. … Read More

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Photos of Famous Authors and Their Bicycles

It’s the height of bike riding season here in New York — it’s no longer so hot that you can’t do more than duck from air conditioned shop to air conditioned shop, but it’s still beautiful, and as the air continues to crisp, the cyclist will be out in numbers. And hey, in another life, one of them might have been Leo Tolstoy. We spotted this delightful photo of Leo Tolstoy and his bicycle — he learned to ride at 67! — over at Open Culture, and we were intrigued. Bike riding seems like an appropriate pastime for authors (all those bike-powered book tours and long lazy afternoons), so we thought we’d hunt around to see how many other famous writers liked to zoom about on two wheels. Click through to check out our gallery, and let us know if we missed your favorite snap of a writer on a bike in the comments. … Read More

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10 Great Novels About the Immigrant Experience

This week saw the release of Karolina Waclawiak’s debut novel How to Get Into the Twin Palms, a wonderful little book that made us fall in love with the idea of the immigrant novel all over again. A Polish émigré herself, Waclawiak’s tale is a twist on the traditional coming-to-America novel, her heroine an immigrant trying to pass as another kind of immigrant, testing the waters, in the LA heat. But off-center as it may be, the book got us thinking about some of our favorite novels about the immigrant experience, a few of which we’ve collected here — read through our list of great fictional immigrant and émigré stories after the jump, and as ever, if we’ve missed your own favorite, please add it to our list in the comments! … Read More

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10 Quintessentially American Novels

In case you missed all the cookouts and night-time explosions, yesterday was the fourth of July, and we hope you all spent it wearing red, white, and blue and eating hot dogs on a grassy lawn. We also hope you’re not too sick of American pride, however, because in honor of our country’s birthday, we’ve compiled a list of books that we think are quintessentially American to add to your reading list. Each of these books is wonderfully representative of some slice of the American experience, though of course no country can be the same for all people at all times. Click through to check out our ultra-patriotic reading list, and since a list of ten novels doesn’t even begin to cover it, let us know which books you’d add in the comments. … Read More

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Jennifer Weiner Dons Jeffrey Eugenides’ Famous Vest to Promote Her New Book

You may remember a little bit of literary hubbub last fall when Jeffrey Eugenides’ enormous billboard went up in NYC’s Times Square — featuring the author doing his best sexy stare in a wind-blown vest under the words “swoon-worthy.” Well, best-selling author Jennifer Weiner has just launched a hilarious campaign for her new… Read More

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10 of the Best Books Set in the Midwest

There’s something a little bit strange about Midwestern literature — no one seems to have much of a handle on it. Any avid reader can easily rattle off a host of Great Southern Writers, books about New York, and their favorite Westerns, but no one really talks about America’s heartland as having its own literary tradition. However, with Patrick Somerville’s newest novel This Bright River, a gorgeous, stirring novel set in St. Helens, Wisconsin, hitting the shelves this week, we thought we’d take a look into some of the best literature of the flyover states, at least in our own humble opinion. Click through to check out our list, and let us know which Midwestern books you’d add in the comments. … Read More

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Our 10 Favorite Manic Pixie Dream Girls in Literature

Oh, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She just won’t go away, will she? The romantic dramedy Seeking a Friend for the End of the World opens in theaters tomorrow, and it seems to be only the newest incarnation of an age-old cinematic trend of young, whimsical women redeeming somewhat depressed and uncertain men with their quirky wiles. But though you know her as Zooey Deschanel, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is also a literary figure, identified by her charming left-of-center personality, her pronounced (and sometimes left-of-center) beauty, and her function as a usually rather flat character who serves to lead the male protagonist into self-discovery before disappearing (or dying). Click through to read about a few of our favorites, and then look at this Manic Pixie Dream Squirrel for extra credit. … Read More

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10 Dysfunctional Literary Families We’d Secretly Like to Join

You know the quote: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Whether you believe Tolstoy or not, there’s something alluring about dysfunctional families, especially when they’re strictly literary. This week saw the release of Mark Haddon’s newest novel The Red House, the story of a family cooped up in a country house together for a week of what should be vacation, but ends up being full of family secrets, personal revelations, and complex dynamics. All that aside, we realized that we wouldn’t mind being part of their tragicomedy, and we got to thinking about some of our other favorite literary families that we sort of wish would adopt us. Click through to see which fictional families we picked, and let us know which ones you’d choose in the comments. … Read More

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‘Superbad’ Director to Adapt Jeffrey Eugenides’ ‘The Marriage Plot’ for the Big Screen?

Well, this is an interesting choice: Superbad director Greg Mottola, who also wrote and directed Adventureland, is in talks to adapt Jeffrey Eugenides’ most recent, marriage plot-dissecting novel, The Marriage Plot. While Mottola wouldn’t be our first choice for this novel about academia, philosophy, love, and mental illness, we can’t deny that there’s something exciting… Read More

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Two-Typewriter Homes: Famous Literary Roommates

Recently, The Rumpus dug up a great article from a 1998 edition of the LA Times, wherein Saul Bellow describes living with Ralph Ellison in a grand old house in upstate New York. Inspired by this pairing, we decided to poke around to try and find out which other famous writers have lived together, whether before they became famous, while scribbling away, or as established authors living the high life. Just to be clear — we’re not counting famous literary couples (or at least not constant ones, anyway). That’d just be too easy. Click through to read about a few literary greats who split the rent, and you might start looking at that aspiring novelist roommate of yours in a whole new light. … Read More

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