Joyce Carol Oates

50 Great Books You’ll Never Read in School

Back-to-school time is upon us, and for many, that means reading for pleasure will give way to burning through that syllabus. Classrooms, especially high school classrooms (college classes are becoming so weird and specific nowadays that you could read just about anything in them), suffer from the “classic effect” — which is exactly what it sounds like. Not that there’s anything wrong with literary classics, and they definitely should be read, but there’s so much more out there. And when you consider the fact that one-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives — well, it would be nice if they had a little more to go on than The Great Gatsby. After the jump, find a selection of books you’ll (probably) never read in high school, but should still read, and add your own favorite anti-schoolbooks to the list in the comments. … Read More

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5 Great Midwestern Novels You May Have Missed

We’ve talked about how great the Midwest is for writers today, but from Hemingway’s Michigan to Bellow’s Chicago and Cather’s Nebraska, the region has always provided readers with plenty of great literature over the years. Since this week marks the birthday of Indiana’s own Booth Tarkington, we thought of a few novels from the region that you may have overlooked, and should consider placing on your bookshelf alongside Augie March and Sister Carrie. … Read More

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Tweeting While Literary: Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King, and the Dangers of Being an Author on Twitter

We’ve been down this road before with Joyce Carol Oates.

Last July, the author with the uncanny ability to write more novels, short stories, essays, and poems than any one human could actually want to read, pissed off a good portion of her Twitter followers by discounting men who are victims of sexual assault in prison while also saying something that read a lot like she was trying to blame Islam for rapes that had been committed in Egypt. … Read More

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50 Sexy Books to Get You in the Mood (for Valentine’s Day)

As Valentine’s Day (not to mention yet another cold night) approaches, you may find yourself in the mood for love. But what if you don’t? Never fear, because all you have to do is pick up a book. Yes, reading is sexy — especially when you’re reading one of these books, which range from literary fiction (with, ahem, some notable scenes) to famously romantic plays to “highbrow academia porn” to real literary erotica.… 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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6 Crooked Books for Crooked Politicians

As Mark Twain once said, “An honest man in politics shines more there than he would elsewhere.” We got our latest reminder of that earlier this week, when it was revealed that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s deputy chief of staff arranged for some “traffic problems” for a town whose mayor didn’t endorse the governor during his reelection campaign. Of course, the details of Christie’s involvement aren’t yet clear, but clearly someone in his inner circle intentionally did something crooked. For them (and you), we offer this reading list of books that might be as crooked as they are. … Read More

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10 Books About Sports That Even Non-Fans Should Read

Not only am I a fan of the franchise, but I also consider the 1985 Chicago Bears the greatest single-season football squad to ever hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy, so I could see how one could chalk up my judgment that Rich Cohen’s Monsters is one of the finest books on the sport that I’ve ever read to bias. Yet the fact remains that Cohen’s other great books — which have looked at Jewish gangsters, banana barons, Chess Records, and packaged sugar substitutes, while also offering up either small autobiographical bits of Cohen’s life or massive chunks that borderline on memoir — are also favorites of mine. … Read More

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The 50 Greatest Campus Novels Ever Written

No matter how old you are, the back-to-school season holds a certain kind of allure – be it nostalgia for scholarly tradition, the crisping of the days, a Pavlovian need to buy books, or just the satisfaction that you don’t have to be in class ever again. If you’re looking to indulge yourself without the schoolwork, you may take pleasure in another hallowed tradition: the campus novel. That is, books concerning the lives of students, professors, and miscellaneous academics, generally in or around a college. Here are 50 of the… Read More

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Did Joyce Carol Oates Mean to Blame Islam for Rape in Egypt?

Who doesn’t sometimes sit around and wish that they could be half as prolific as Joyce Carol Oates? The 75-year-old author falls just after Philip Roth on the list of America’s most decorated writers (both are equally Nobel Prize-less), but unlike the now-retired 80-year-old Roth, Oates hasn’t shown any signs of stopping anytime in the near future. She even shares whatever thoughts pop into her head on her popular Twitter account. Earlier this year, Andy Boyd at PolicyMic extolled the “sublime joys” of following Oates, saying her tweets were like a “parody of the implied author of her stories,” and most of the time it is a total treat for all of us to see an iconic writer writing for us in real time; we get to know what Oates is thinking at that very moment, and we should all be thankful for that. … Read More

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