Ken Kesey

50 Great Dark Books for the Dark Days of Winter

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

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50 of the Greatest Debut Novels Since 1950

For a reader, there’s something magical about picking up a first novel — that promise of discovery, the possibility of finding a new writer whose work you can love for years to come, the likelihood of semi-autobiography for you to mull over. The debut is even more important for the writer — after all, you only get one first impression. Luckily, there are a lot of fantastic first impressions to be had. Click through for some of the greatest first novels written since 1950 — some that sparked great careers, some that are still the writers’ best work, and some that remain free-standing.… Read More

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10 of the Greatest Literary Nurses

May isn’t only short story month — it’s also National Nurses Month. Just a few weeks ago, In Fact Books, the book imprint founded and edited by creative nonfiction powerhouse Lee Gutkind, published their latest, I Wasn’t Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse, a collection of true narratives from nurses remembering their first “sticks,” first births, and first deaths; reflecting on what gets them through long, demanding shifts; and what keeps them in the profession. It turns out that for centuries, the stories of nurses have captivated readers’ imagination, showing us the passion, strength, and courage required for the job. So in honor of all nurses, In Fact Books has curated a list of ten of the greatest literary nurses of all time. Some of the names might surprise you. Check them out the list after the jump, and add your favorites in the comments. … Read More

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The Most Ridiculous Claims Used to Challenge Classic Novels

The American Library Association has released its study of the most frequently challenged books of 2012, a list that includes classics and YA touchstones alike. But books have been challenged, banned, and removed from school curricula for years, and sometimes for the silliest of reasons. At the ALA’s website, we found a list of the justifications behind some historical challenges of classic novels, and some are frankly absurd. We’ve culled a few of our outrageous favorites from the ALA’s list — scoff or agree, but read… Read More

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10 Redesigned Book Covers That Are Actually Better Than the Iconic Versions

This week, we saw two alternate versions of Ray Bradbury’s classic novel Fahrenheit 451 pop up on the Internet: one meant to be burned, and one meant to withstand burning at all costs. Though the cover we all grew up with is undeniably great, we thought these ones raised the conceptual bar a little bit. Click through for ten redesigns of classic book jackets that are better, or at least more interesting, than the… Read More

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10 Novels That Deserve a Prequel

Today marks the US release of Skagboys, Irvine Welsh’s long-awaited prequel to his cult classic Trainspotting. Though in general we think the world has way too many prequels and sequels, we have to admit that we’re a little bit psyched to find out the origin stories of our favorite crew of tortured junkies. Welsh’s new book got us thinking about other classic and modern texts that we think could use a prequel — sure, it might be only to answer our own selfish lingering questions, but what else are prequels for? Click through to see the books we chose, and add your own suggestions in the comments — you never know, you just might get your wish. … Read More

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Comparing Book Covers with the Posters of Their Film Adaptations

Earlier this week, we spotted the first poster for the upcoming (and much anticipated, at least by us) film adaptation of David Mitchell’s stupendous novel Cloud Atlas, and it seemed very familiar — sort of like a combination of the book’s US and UK covers, all glossed over in sepia. Curious, we spent a little time comparing other book covers with the posters of their film adaptations to see which movies maintained the mood of the book’s original cover, which twisted it around completely, and which became more iconic than the original covers. Click through to read through our findings, and let us know if you have any insights of your own on this topic in the comments. … Read More

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Literary Mixtape: Randle McMurphy from ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’

If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite literary characters might be listening to while they save the world/contemplate existence/get into trouble, or hallucinated a soundtrack to go along with your favorite novels, well, us too. But wonder no more! Here, we sneak a look at the hypothetical iPods of some of literature’s most interesting characters. What would be on the personal playlists of Holden Caulfield or Elizabeth Bennett, Huck Finn or Harry Potter, Tintin or Humbert Humbert? Something revealing, we bet. Or at least something danceable. Read on for a cozy reading soundtrack, character study, or yet another way to emulate your favorite literary hero. This week: the lovable rabble-rouser of Ken Kesey’s masterpiece, Randle McMurphy. … Read More

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‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ Turns 50 Years Old

Yes, Virginia, before Milos Forman’s 1975 movie starring Jack Nicholson, Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest was making waves in 1962. The story about a group of mental patients trying to withstand their cruel hospital administrator first published fifty years ago today. Kesey was inspired to write his novel while working as a nurse’s aid in the psych ward of the Menlo Park Veteran’s Hospital in California in 1960. Most of the characters in his book are based on people who were institutionalized during his time there. The counterculture icon didn’t care for the cinematic version of his work  — and even sued the production company — but his exploration of conformity and individuality has endured, even inspiring some compelling art. We took a look at several Cuckoo’s Nest book covers past the break to celebrate the classic story’s 50th anniversary. … Read More

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Signed Copy of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ Sells Big

Ken Kesey’s novel, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, is perhaps not as well-known as Milos Forman’s 1975 darkly humorous drama of the same name starring Jack Nicholson. Kesey, however, was a major counter-cultural figure in the ’60s, and his Merry Pranksters antics were documented in Tom Wolfe’s 1968 book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. The author wasn’t fond of Forman’s film and even went so far as to sue the production company, which is why we think he might be tickled to know that his signature recently sold for a cool $9,000. The psychedelically-inclined author — who passed away in 2001 — left his imprint in one of the Cuckoo’s Nest novels, which recently became the third most expensive book sold on the AbeBooks website last month. Find out what Kesey has to say about sex, drugs, and politics in the ’60s after the jump. … Read More

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