TIME magazine recently ran a big package on “young adult” novels, in an attempt to define the nascent genre, giving us both “The 100 Best Young-Adult Books of All Time” and “17 Famous Writers on Their Favorite Young Adult Books.” Unfortunately, the canonical list failed to reflect the range of stories covered in young adult literature, ignoring current YA literature and calling any work with a teen protagonist “young adult.”
The “17 Famous Writers” list also suffered from a disconnect between the content and the buzzword; despite the headline, it seemed clear that authors were asked about “the books they loved as a child.” As a result, current young adult literature was roundly ignored. With that in mind, Flavorwire wanted to flip the script on TIME‘s “Famous Writers” list by asking some of our favorite contemporary young adult authors about their favorite books for grown-ups. The results, which feature responses that are both sly and serious, range from coming-of-age stories to science fiction adventures.
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Picture it: teenage Mary Shelley was on a vacation getaway, with her husband Percy and some of his rambunctious poet friends, like that rogue Lord Byron… and out of the group of legends, it’s Shelley herself who arguably published the greatest work of all at the ridiculous age of 30: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, a book that has penetrated our human consciousness. In honor of Shelley’s birthday this month, here’s a list of 25 other writers who created heartbreakingly beautiful work before they could get a discount on a rental… Read More
According to Alexander Nazaryan at The New Republic, Jonathan Lethem’s Dissident Gardens is the best novel of 2013. Lethem is already one of America’s most successful literary authors, and whether or not other reviewers will agree with Nazaryan remains to be seen; but the thing is, none of this is important as the fact that he is a Jonathan. Jonathan is more than just a name; it’s a state of mind and cultural birthright that one must embrace from the day he is born, as each of these top 16 famous Jonathans has… Read More
This week marked the release of Chris Ware’s unbelievably wonderful graphic novel Building Stories, which we (and everyone else) have been awaiting with bated breath for many months. The graphic publishing event of the year, the book is truly a world you can get lost in, and decidedly not one that you can appreciate on an e-reader — or even on your computer. Inspired by Ware’s effort, we’ve collected a short list of books that will restore your faith in the power of the printed… Read More
This week, Nell Freudenberger’s second novel, The Newlyweds hit shelves, and we’d say we’re pretty excited. The book itself is great, but the reappearance of the author reminded us of her past as a new kid on the block, part of that cyclical surge of young, attractive authors that always seem to take a lot of heat, especially from critics and other writers. After all, it’s not every author who is judged in the headlines to be “too young, too pretty, too successful,” but we like to think that with her newest novel, Freudenberger has pushed past that stigma to be taken a bit more seriously, and perhaps enjoyed with a little less jealousy. Others of her good looking brethren have done the same — or have fallen off the face of the planet. Click through to see our round up of a few authors that have been criticized, ridiculed, or simply condescended to for their looks or age, and how they’ve fared since. And no, we’re not going to get into the whole Franzen/Wharton thing.
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They can’t all end with “yes I said yes I will Yes,” but is there anything less satisfying than turning the final page of a book you’ve loved and being thoroughly dissatisfied with its conclusion? This only happens to us rarely, and while a weak ending usually won’t completely ruin a great novel, it can certainly leave us feeling frustrated. After the jump, we round up books both classic and contemporary that have had us hooked all the way through, only to leave us wanting more (and not in a good way). Warning: spoilers abound.
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1. Members of India’s Sikh community are outraged following a joke that Jay Leno made about Mitt Romney’s summer home; it turns out the building in the photo accompanying the bit was the Golden Temple, the holiest site in the Sikh religion. A formal complaint had been lodged with the State Department in Washington. [via… Read More
Yesterday marked the release of Miranda July’s newest book, It Chooses You, a quirky piece loosely tied to her newest film, The Future, which will be released on DVD November 29th. July’s style and persona has been the subject of much debate — people usually either love or hate the precious, semi-ironic, self-aware sweetness that we have come to call “twee,” and of which July is one of the most prominent contemporary examples. The reemergence of the pixie princess of literature inspired us to consider a few other authors whose work can veer into the impossibly twee. Now, don’t get us wrong — we’re not saying that twee-ness is an inherently bad thing. In fact, several of the authors on this list number among our all-time favorites in any genre, and we happen to be on team July, at least most of the time. Click through to check out our list of twee authors, or at least authors who write twee books sometimes, in between setting up tea parties for their kittens, who are all wearing argyle socks, and let us know which of them tickle your fancy in the comments.
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Earlier this week, Animal NY showed some images from someguy, a San Francisco-based artist and aesthetic troublemaker who has taken on the task of redacting the text of seminal books, be it pages from the Bible or Catcher in the Rye. In his arguably most controversial piece, 212 Slaves, he blacked-out all the text in Huckleberry Finn save for the n-word (which occurs 212 times in the novel) as a response to the recent move to replace the offending word with “slave” in contemporary editions. In another piece, he redacts everything on the page except for the word “unicorn,” which for whatever reason is mentioned in the Good Book multiple times. Despite his assertion that his work “provides no answers, leaving people to determine the meaning of the message,” we think someguy’s delivery makes it pretty clear that he is interested in making plain the inflammatory and absurd messages we receive while reading noteworthy texts.
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Recently, Jason Boog at GalleyCat ran a feature on 5 alternatives to a creative writing MFA, which made us consider the costs and benefits of investing in a degree that may not be worth the paper it’s printed on. Back in 1999, Sarah Gold wrote about the dilemma in Salon: “It wasn’t just that we’d chosen to pursue a calling we all knew was elusive, risky, and about as defensible a career aspiration as selling Venezuelan sweaters from a blanket on the sidewalk. Now we were also running up huge student loans and spending our precious evening hours back in the classroom — for what?” Anelise Chen writes something similar in the Rumpus, “Am I going to get a job after this? (Probably not.) Will I have to go back to food service? (Probably yes.)”
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