John Steinbeck

The Books Flavorwire Staffers Read Too Early

Earlier this week, writer Matthue Roth published My First Kafka: Runaways, Rodents, and Giant Bugs, a collection of Kafka stories re-told for children. This is a brilliant idea, since anyone exposed to Kafka at a young age is likely to grow up stranger and better — even if it’s only a form of Kafka. Here at the Flavorwire office, the book sparked a few conversations about age-appropriate reading, and more than one story about a great book read too early. Some of us still have the scars. After the jump, check out the literary regrets of a selection of staffers who read the classics much too early, and then let us know which non-age-appropriate read still haunts you in the comments. … Read More

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The Fascinating Stories Behind Classic Book Titles

A book title can make a big difference. After all, as much as our mothers warned us against it, as humans we can never seem to help ourselves from judging books by their covers. And some book titles — whether we’ve read the attendant books or not — are just burned into our brains, ushered in by the collective consciousness. But how did they come to be? After the jump, a few of the fascinating stories behind the titles of classic books, sprung from poems, paintings, and saloon bathroom stalls. Hey, inspiration can come from anywhere. … Read More

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Richard Tuttle’s Incredible One-of-a-Kind Bindings for Classic Books

Put away that e-reader and take a peek at the incredible book cover art of Richard Tuttle. Tuttle, whose work was recently featured at Book Patrol, creates one-of-a-kind bindings for classic novels, interpreting the stories as beautiful, often cheeky sculptures. Tuttle explains: “I make literary artifacts. They are designed to pull books down off the shelf and display them in the salon, gallery or home as if they were works of art, which, of course, they are. Whether binding books with leather, paper, paint, wood, and found artifacts or building sculptures to encase the volumes, I seek to find a perspective that shouts out a piece of the essence of the literary work. I try to put myself in the author’s or character’s mind to say something about the time it was written in; the attitude that is explored and expressed; the magic that makes it a work of art.” Most of these unique editions are available (for a pretty penny) at Franklin Books. Even if you don’t have the cash, you can ogle them to your heart’s content after the jump. … Read More

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Clever Posters Chart the Colors in Famous Novels

What colors are the insides of your favorite novels? Well, sure, the off-white of a book page — but what about the worlds they create? In artist Jaz Parkinson‘s color charts project, he has created graphic signatures of novels’ visual content, building mini rainbows that correspond to classic works. Needless to say, there’s a lot of red (blood) and white (milk) in A Clockwork Orange, and miles of black in McCarthy’s The Road. … Read More

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10 Classic Books That Have Somehow Been Turned Into Ballets

Next season, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet will be presenting an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s beloved novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. While there’s no denying the power of the book, it does seem somewhat strange fodder for a ballet — given that it’s a dystopic indictment of fundamentalism and gender norms and all. However, as it turns out, a number of surprising novels have been adapted for the stage as ballets or operas — check out a selection of these after the jump, and feel free to add to the list in the comments. … Read More

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The Most Ridiculous Claims Used to Challenge Classic Novels

The American Library Association has released its study of the most frequently challenged books of 2012, a list that includes classics and YA touchstones alike. But books have been challenged, banned, and removed from school curricula for years, and sometimes for the silliest of reasons. At the ALA’s website, we found a list of the justifications behind some historical challenges of classic novels, and some are frankly absurd. We’ve culled a few of our outrageous favorites from the ALA’s list — scoff or agree, but read… Read More

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10 Books Guaranteed to Make You Cry

This week, we read about a study, recently published in PLOS ONE, in which researchers found that “the emotional content of published English has been steadily decreasing over the past century, with the exception of words associated with fear, an emotion which has resurged over the past decades.” Well, we don’t doubt it. But that’s not to say that literature has lost any of its power to elicit emotions. To prove it, we’ve selected ten books that make us cry every time — and not always because they’re sad, but because they elicit some kind of strong internal reaction that, well, ends in tears. Read through our picks after the jump, and since everyone has different triggers, let us know which books are guaranteed to make you cry in the comments. … Read More

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10 Redesigned Book Covers That Are Actually Better Than the Iconic Versions

This week, we saw two alternate versions of Ray Bradbury’s classic novel Fahrenheit 451 pop up on the Internet: one meant to be burned, and one meant to withstand burning at all costs. Though the cover we all grew up with is undeniably great, we thought these ones raised the conceptual bar a little bit. Click through for ten redesigns of classic book jackets that are better, or at least more interesting, than the… Read More

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The 10 US States With the Greatest Love Stories

Earlier this week, we noticed this map of the country, with a literary love story assigned to each state, over at Amazon. Though the US (and the world) has no shortage of amazing novels of passion, we’re betting you don’t have time to read 50 novels during this the most romantic of months. To help you out (and in case you want to get the perfect book for that special someone this week), we’ve picked the ten states that we think have the all-time best love stories in American literature. Click through to see which ones we chose — and feel free to disagree with us in the comments! … Read More

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Adorable Letters from Famous Authors to Their Children

You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again: it’s a shame people don’t write letters anymore. Especially writers, whose missives are often so beautifully composed and simply inspiring that we hoard them in volume upon volume. We’ve already put together a collection of authors’ letters to their young fans, but this week, we spotted this wonderful letter from Sherwood Anderson to his son over at Brain Pickings, and we were inspired to dig a little further into the letters writers send their own children. After the jump, read loving, advice-filled, gentle parental love letters from some of our favorite authors to some of their favorite people — their kids. … Read More

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