Kathy Acker

Celebrate William S. Burroughs’ 100th Birthday With 12 Cultural Icons on His Influence

There are about a hundred tags one could pin to William S. Burroughs, from lunatic to revolutionary, and just about everything in between. He is one of the most misunderstood artists of the last century — and also one of the most influential, his dirty fingerprint smudged all over the culture, from noise music to the films of David Cronenberg. To celebrate his 100th birthday, we’re looking back at some of the icons who Burroughs had an impact on. It’s an impressive roster of names, but these 12 barely scratch the surface when it comes to just how far his influence… Read More

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An Essential Punk Literature Reading List

It doesn’t take name-dropping Black Flag or writing a scene where a character gets her first mohawk to know that the book you’re reading is influenced in some way or another by the punk scene. Jeff Jackson’s mesmerizing debut, Mira Corpora, which reads like some cross between Bruno Schulz and the backstories of random characters from Penelope Spheeris’ 1984 film Suburbia, is that kind of book. … Read More

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The Doubles: 10 Pairs of Great Books With the Same Titles

There must be something in the water this spring — that’s the water the publishing industry all drinks, that is. This month, Algonquin is publishing Jill McCorkle’s novel Life After Life, and in April, Reagan Arthur/Little, Brown will come out with Kate Atkinson’s, er, Life After Life. Oops! Both novels, as it happens, are quite good (and are sharing top billing as the American Booksellers Association’s Indie Next Pick in April), and we’re looking forward to “accidentally” having to buy them both. Intrigued by this phenomenon, we dug around for other examples of two great books sporting the same title — though none of our other pairs were born so close to one another. Check them out after the jump, and let us know if we missed any of your favorite titular doppelgangers in the comments. … Read More

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20 Highly Sexy Photos of Highbrow Authors [NSFW]

If you’re reading this, like as not you are one of those who thrilled at the shirtless photo of Mark Twain that has been recently making its rounds around the Internet. Here at Flavorpill, we were so — ahem — excited by the snapshot that we decided to round up a few other highly sexy photos of highbrow authors from the last two centuries. After all, authors posing in various states of undress is a trend that shows no signs of dying out — you’ll be able to get your paws on a whole calendar of “nearly nude” Canadian authors later in the year. Check out some scandalous writers after the jump — and since sexy is subjective, link us to any unbearably steamy author photos you’ve found in the comments. But casual readers be warned: there is full frontal male and female nudity in this post. … Read More

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Literary Ink: Famous Authors and Their Tattoos

For some reason, writers and tattoos don’t necessarily spring to mind as a natural pairing — we tend to imagine authors decked out in sleeves of tweed and corduroy, not ink. But more and more authors are showing off their tattoos nowadays, and even some classic writers are a little more tatted up than you might think: George Orwell supposedly sported bright blue dots on his knuckles, and Dorothy Parker wore a star on her elbow. Since we’re always interested in finding out a little bit more about the internal lives of our favorite writers, we decided to explore a few of their tattoos, from the simple to the expansive, the cheeky to the deadly serious. Check out some awesome writer ink after the jump. … Read More

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The All-Time Coolest Author/Musician Collaborations

Collaborations between musicians and authors seem obvious, like they should happen all the time, but the truth is, good ones don’t come along that often. Earlier this month, however, author, poet, and memoirist Mary Karr released her first album, Kin, in collaboration with country singer/songwriter Rodney Crowell, and boy is it good. Though we might be a little biased since we’ve always been die-hard Mary Karr fans, we love the album, which combines Karr’s sublime poetry with Crowell’s formidable musical talent. Inspired by their collaboration, we got to thinking about other fantastic author/musician pairs, from the time Kurt Cobain and William S. Burroughs recorded a Christmas album together to the time Bono hacked a Rushdie novel for lyrics. Click through to see a few of our favorites, and let us know if we’ve missed one of yours in the comments. … Read More

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10 Famous Authors Whose Lives Would Make Awesome Books

Here at Flavorpill, we love a good story. And while we generally get our fix from novels and short stories, sometimes the lives of the authors are just as fascinating as the lives of the characters they create (some of them even have biopics — or more than one — to prove it). After all, artists are prone to eccentricities, creative problem solving and, let’s face it, tragedy, all qualities that make great protagonists as well as interesting people. Click through to check out our list of authors whose true life stories we think would make fantastic novels (we’ve focused on those who haven’t written autobiographies or exact novelizations of their own lives), and then be sure to add to our list in the comments! … Read More

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10 Legendary Bad Girls of Literature

“Wake me when you cover the Bad GIRLS of Literature,” wrote a commenter who goes by the handle of “Literati” on our recent “10 Legendary Bad Boys of Literature” post. Well, rise and shine, friend, because it’s happening. For this post, we showcase ten fantastic female authors whose careers span 3000 years — from Sappho to Alice Walker — and are just as capable of badass behavior as their male counterparts. We easily could have made this list five times as long, so make your case for any omissions in the comments. … Read More

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A Revolution in the Mind: How to Protest War by Reading Books

Yesterday Linda Yuknavitch wrote a powerful, softhearted essay about the revolutionary act of reading in The Rumpus. Instead of succumbing to the dystopian reality of the 24-hour news cycle, she devours political books, writing, “There was only one thing I managed to ‘do’ that I think made a radical difference – not in stopping anything terrible that was happening, but in my own consciousness. I read books.” This is not to say she rejects taking to the streets and protesting, but that books can make an incredible impact on a mind willing to be transformed. She continues, “I spent hours in the University of Oregon library. I stole several books. I was so into reading them I wanted to bite them. Eat them. They made my brain hurt in the best possible way.” … Read More

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The Best Literary Sex Scenes Not Penned by a Great Male Novelist

Writing about sex in literature is a difficult task; there are so many ways authors can go wrong. Nowadays, most writers spend too much time on the build up and then release the curtain during the show, choosing instead to segue to a point immediately after the act. Others spend an inordinate amount of energy coming up with penis euphemisms, and end up ruining a scene (think: late John Updike), or even a whole novel. Evelyn Waugh’s son, Auberon, established the Bad Sex in Fiction Award 17 years ago for this very reason. He wanted to  “gently dissuad[e] authors and publishers from including unconvincing, perfunctory, embarrassing, or redundant passages of a sexual nature in otherwise sound literary novels.” Rowan Somerville was the 2010 winner for some godawful passages in his second novel, The Shape of Her. Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen, was also nominated, as was Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross.

To counter this terrible scourge on contemporary readers, here is a list of noteworthy sex scenes in modern literature not by a Great Male Novelist (e.g., Mailer, Roth, or Updike) — those supposed masters of the form. … Read More

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