Julian Barnes

Read This Before This: 10 Great Books Based on Other Great Books

Literature is a never-ending, overlapping, sometimes circular conversation — between writers, between readers, between books themselves. This fact can make for some fascinating and rewarding reading. After all, what’s more interesting than listening in on one genius talking to another? There are some novels that are better if you have a little bit of background going in — and sometimes that background is nothing more or less than another great novel. Here are a few books you should pair the way you would a fine wine with an excellent cheese — each enhancing the other and making for a very satisfying… Read More

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50 Incredible Novels Under 200 Pages

Springtime can make even the most devoted of readers a little bit antsy. After all, there are flowers to smell, puddles to jump in, fresh love to kindle. You still want to have a novel in your pocket — just maybe one that doesn’t require quite so epic an attention span. Never fear: after the jump, you will find 50 incredible novels under 200 pages (editions vary, of course, so there’s a little leeway) that are suitable for this or any… Read More

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50 Essential Mystery Novels That Everyone Should Read

In these weeks of midwinter, there’s nothing more satisfying than curling up by the fire with a good novel — and in particular a good mystery novel, because they somehow seem to keep you the warmest. Plus, what with a new season of Sherlock starting this week, your appetite for more murders, clues, and suspicious persons might just be piqued. Click through to check out 50 essential mystery novels that will bring color to your cheeks and set your brain… Read More

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7 Better-Than-Beach-Reads About Famous Writers

Though a great many literary novels have novelists as protagonists — e.g. Roth’s Nathan Zuckerman, or Chabon’s Grady Tripp, and that’s just for starters — much fewer explicitly take their inspiration from real-life writers. Or at least, they didn’t until recently, partly because of a certain stigma that has always attached to biography and biographers, the idea that they are people who sort through other people’s garbage in search of a crucial piece of mail. This is gossip, a lot of novelists complain, not literature. … Read More

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15 Books You Should Definitely Not Read in Your 20s

The Internet (this site not the least bit exempt) is fond of telling you which books you should read. Particularly, it seems, when you’re in your 20s. But now that you have enough of those lists to last you a lifetime, which books should you make sure to steer clear from in this most transitional and tender of decades? Well, here are a few to consider. Disclaimer: all of these (okay, most of these) are good books. They’re books you should read. Just not in your… Read More

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Books That Will Inspire You to Be a Better Person in 2013

The holiday season is traditionally a time for charity and warm fuzzy feelings, but sometimes we need a little extra inspiration. That is, a captivating read that will also make us want to be a better person — whether because of the sterling example of a character, some choice lines of world-wisdom, or something a little more nebulous. After the jump, try out ten books that will inspire your better self to make an appearance — we’ve veered away from self-help books of any kind, though we’ve allowed for a mix of fiction and non — and let us know if we missed your personal go-to good-guy read in the comments. … Read More

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The Official Flavorpill Bookshelf: February Staff Reading Picks

Here at Flavorpill, we like books. It seems like every person in the office has a paperback stashed somewhere for lunch breaks and rainy days, and we often erupt into loud cross-office conversations — for good or for ill — about things we’ve been reading. Yes, it’s fun to work here. Inspired by the folks at Out of Print, and in an attempt to give our readers an insider’s view into our collective consciousness, we surveyed our staff and put together a virtual bookshelf full of the books that we’ve recently finished (and loved), that we currently can’t put down, and that we’re itching to get our hands on next. Click through to check out our aggregated staff bookshelf, and hear what a few members of the Flavorpill family have to say about their reading lists, and then let us know what’s piling up on your own bookshelf in the comments! … Read More

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The Morning News 2012 Tournament of Books Is Live!

It’s a really exciting day for book worms: The eight annual TMN 2012 Tournament of Books has officially gone live! Click through to see which 16 “of the most cherished, hyped, ignored, and/or enthusiastically praised books of the year” will be battling it out in a NCAA-style bracket beginning March 7th, and let us know in the comments if you agree with the their picks. But be kind. TMN realizes that not everyone will be happy with their list. “Some books were dismissed for petty reasons,” they explain. “Some books were no doubt included for arbitrarily aesthetic ones. And there’s no getting around any of that, as far as we can tell.” Amen. We’re also curious: Are there any voracious Flavorwire readers out there who have already tackled all 16 books? … Read More

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Read Some of the Meanest Book Reviews of the Year

Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending may have been one of 2011’s most acclaimed novels, scooping up the Man Booker Prize and eliciting all manner of ecstatic praise. But it didn’t impress the brilliant and iconoclastic writer Geoff Dyer, who reviewed the book for The New York Times, and found that “any extreme expression of opinion about The Sense of an Ending feels inappropriate. It isn’t terrible, it is just so . . . average. It is averagely compelling (I finished it), involves an average amount of concentration and, if such a thing makes sense, is averagely well written: excellent in its averageness!”

It’s impossible to deny the fun in reading a nasty review that also happens to be smart, lively, and hilarious. So, if you enjoyed the excerpt above, chances are you’ll love all eight pieces that made the shortlist for The Omnivore‘s first annual Hatchet Job of the Year Award, which honors what its judges deem “the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review published in a newspaper or magazine in 2011.” The winner will be announced February 7th. See who joins Dyer among the finalists after the jump, let us know which review you think is most deliciously mean. … Read More

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The Best of The New York Times’ 2011 Notable Books List

Earlier this week, The New York Times published their annual list of 100 Notable Books, just in time for the holidays. While we can’t deny that every book on the list is a great pick, 100 is a pretty big number, so in case you don’t have the time or eye-strength to plow through their monster list, we’ve distilled it to the essentials, at least according to us. After all, while you probably don’t have 100 people on your holiday gift list, you probably do have 10, and you’ll find a little something for everybody here. Click through to see our favorites from their list, and let us know which of these you’re psyched to read — or which of the 100 you’d have chosen instead. … Read More

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