We all know authors can insult one another with aplomb, but do those bitter wordsmiths ever have anything nice to say? Well, yes, of course. If we had to guess, we’d say that most authors’ biggest fans are other authors, who might understand a given piece of literature better than any mere mortal — or they might just be more likely to write about it. In the excellent collection Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story, which hit shelves last week, 20 famous writers choose and introduce the short stories from the periodical that moved and thrilled them. In honor of the book’s publication, we’ve put together a few of our favorite author-on-author compliments. Click through to spread the love, and if we’ve missed your favorite compliment, add to our list in the comments. … Read More
We know it’s not October yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t indulge in a few extra scary stories as the nights get longer and the leaves start to change. This week saw the release of The Big Book of Ghost Stories, an anthology of spooky tales starring ghouls of all descriptions, edited by Otto Penzler. Though we haven’t worked our way through it yet, we were inspired to think about the fictional ghosts who have creeped us out the most thoroughly over the years — from those inhabiting classic horror stories to those sneaking into more literary fiction. Click through to read about our picks for the creepiest ghosts in literature — and since everyone has their own specific demons to face, let us know which you’d have chosen in the comments. … Read More
A few weeks ago, Publishers Weekly took to Twitter to ask readers which books they wished more people had read. Duly prompted, since then we’ve been thinking about the books we think are woefully under-read, under-appreciated or underrated, from the “lesser” works of famous writers to mostly forgotten or unacknowledged geniuses.… Read More
Tomorrow, Junot Díaz’s newest story collection, This is How You Lose Her, hits shelves, and we predict that everyone you know will be reading it by the weekend. Or at least they should be — this messy, vulgar set of tales about misadventures of the heart is filled with Díaz’s signature searing voice, loveable/despicable characters and so-true-it-hurts goodness. To celebrate Díaz’s new collection, we’ve put together a collection of a few more of our all-time favorite love stories, from the recent to the classic, and dealing with all kinds of that most complex emotion. Of course, this is not by all means a definitive list — we rejoice at how un-definitive it is, in fact — so please add your own favorite short stories on love in the comments. … Read More
If you haven’t noticed, we spend a lot of time thinking about literature here in the Flavorpill offices, digging through its past, weighing its current state, and imagining its future. Take a look at our bookshelves and you’ll find us reading everything from Nobel Prize winners to age-old classics to paperbacks printed at the bookstore down the street. Call it Chick-Lit, Hysterical Realism, Ethnic-Lit, or Translit — if it’s good fiction, we’ll be talking about it. So this summer, we launched The Future of American Fiction: a weekly interview series expanding on that endless conversation about books we love, and yes, the direction of American fiction, from the people who’d know. Each Tuesday we’ve brought you a short interview with one of the writers we think is instrumental in defining that direction.
For our very last installation of our Future of American Fiction Series, we talked to Emma Straub, who knocked our socks off with last year’s short story collection Other People We Married, and has only separated us from those aforementioned socks further in her delightful new novel Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, an affecting, decades-spanning epic of a small-town girl’s escape to Hollywood, which hits bookstores September 4th. A true multi-talented modern author, she also happens to be a bookseller, a journalist, a designer, a charming Twitter presence and the sometime merch girl for the Magnetic Fields. So, you know, top that. Read on as we talk to Emma about e-readers, niceness, and her drawerfuls of unpublished novels. … Read More
Today marks the release of George Orwell’s Diaries, the influential writer’s personal writings from the years 1931 to 1949, published for the first time in the United States. Orwell is one of those writers who is so infused in our collective imagination and culture that his name has become its own adjective: “Orwellian” is used to describe a totalitarian government or situation similar to the one in 1984. Like Kafka, whose “Kafkaesque,” has come to mean not only “like Kafka’s writing” but also the more disconnected “marked by a senseless, disorienting, often menacing complexity,” Orwell’s namesake will probably continue to evolve, becoming a term one understands even without reading a word of his writing. But what about more modern writers? After the jump, we’ve speculated on a few (tongue-in-cheek, mind you) definitions for the adjective-ized versions of contemporary authors — sure, some of their names don’t exactly lend themselves to common adjectival endings, but that’s okay. The English language is ever evolving. And in that spirit, we challenge you to play our game and make up your own in the comments! … Read More
Had she not passed away six years ago, today would have been beloved science fiction author Octavia Butler’s 65th birthday. Butler not only made waves for being a phenomenal writer, but for being one of the remarkably few African American women authors writing in her genre. In honor of the occasion of Butler’s birth (and because lady sci-fi authors never get enough love) we’ve put together a list of the greatest lady authors of science fiction and fantasy in this or any time — in our own humble estimation of course. Click through to read our list, and don’t forget that these are our own personal favorites — since there are many more than ten fantastic lady sci-fi/fantasy authors out there worthy of your time, please add to our list and let us know which of your own favorites we missed in the comments! … Read More
Continuing last week’s emphasis on the now cliched vampire romance genre, we saw yet another copy of Twilight, and yet another hideous Charlaine Harris cover, this time on Dead to the World. The designer could take a cue from Kelly Link’s first two collections, which feature creepy but beautiful covers painted by Shelley Jackson. When we saw a young woman reading Stranger Things Happen, we had to restrain ourselves from squealing and accosting her to demand if she’d gotten to “The Girl Detective” yet.
More on what New York commuters are reading after the jump. … Read More
A while back, Radiohead released In Rainbows on their website, in advance of the CD. A ZIP file of the album was available for download, for whatever price the buyer wished to pay in sterling pounds. The pay-what-you-want model did not appear to be detrimental to the record’s sales, or the band’s profits. The album appeared on a number of best-of 2007 lists and was nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys.
Now, books, as cultural objects and profitable commodities, are in a state of flux, and publishers are beginning to test the flexible pricing plan. Last week, Faber announced it would release Ben Wilson’s What Price Liberty? as an e-book under the pay-what-you-will model, six weeks before the paperback is released for £14.99. … Read More
Sarah Weinman pimped The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry in a Weekly Reader post a few weeks back and before that Hannah Tinti revealed that it was the last book that had kept her up all night long. If you’re in New York, you can catch the author this Thursday at KGB Bar along with Deb Olin Unferth as part of the Behind the Book reading series.