Joyce Carol Oates

The Best Celebrity Graduation Speeches of 2015

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It’s after Memorial Day, which means that across the country, grills have been rolled out, beach towels unfurled, and thousands of college grads unleashed into the real world. Helping them make the transition are big-name commencement speakers dispensing advice with varying degrees of seriousness. Robert De Niro’s grabbed headlines with his already-infamous “yeah, you’re fucked” address at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (though his follow-up — “the good news is that’s not a bad place to start” — got slightly less attention). Here are some other highlights from the 2015 commencement season, from tongue-in-cheek to earnest to everything in …Read More

50 Great Dark Books for the Dark Days of Winter

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We’ve reached the time of year when the days seem impossibly short and the nights never ending. Good if you’re a vampire or like to go to sleep early, less exciting for the rest of us. So what is one to do with all this extra darkness? Well, read some dark books, of course. Because there’s nothing better to cut through the literal gloom than to curl up with some intellectual doom. All you need is a tiny light to see your book by. Read on for 50 gloriously dark novels to read during these dark days. After a while, you may even stop wishing for the light to …Read More

50 of the Scariest Short Stories of All Time

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It’s that time of year again, when the pumpkins come out, the fake cobwebs are hung and we feel that dormant urge to be chilled, thrilled and spooked to our bones. Get out your flashlights, because a scary story awaits — actually, make that fifty of them. Now, there’s more to scary stories than goblins, ghouls, blood and your general horror — here there be monsters of many kinds, existential and literal, extraordinary and everyday. And remember: like beauty, fear is in the bloody eye of the beholder. So whether you yearn for classic horror or literary fiction guaranteed to make your skin crawl, read on. If you dare!
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50 Great Books You’ll Never Read in School

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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.
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5 Great Midwestern Novels You May Have Missed

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

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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.
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