Kurt Vonnegut

27 Writers on Whether or Not to Get Your MFA

Now that September is here and school is back in session, a writer’s thoughts turn to the eternal question: Is an MFA worth it? Ever since the publication of the Chad Harbach-edited anthology MFA vs. NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction earlier in the year, the perennial neurosis about whether or not an advanced degree in writing is worth it has become a progressively louder conversation. It’s one that we should be having, considering the explosion of the MFA in the past 40 years: from a mere 79 programs in 1979 to 854 today, according to Harbach. The MFA may even be having its moment — after all, the last shot of Girls Season 3 had Lena Dunham’s Hannah Horvath joyfully looking at her acceptance to Iowa. We checked in with some of our favorite writers from then and now to see what they think of the rise of the… Read More

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25 Great Pieces of Life Advice From Literature

Everyone could use a bit of advice now and then. But what if you’re the type who eschews all human contact and prefers to converse only with characters in your books? Well, er, then even they might not be able to help you. All kidding aside, as any avid reader will know, many of the great works of literature are filled with wisdom, which you could do worse than to take to heart — especially in these back-to-school weeks, a time when a little extra advice can always help. Here, you’ll find a few nuggets of humanhood as doled out by literary (read: fictional!) characters who know a thing or… Read More

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Loving Letters from Famous Fathers to Their Children

Happy Father’s Day to you and yours. We’re honoring dear old dad by looking at a collection of letters from famous fathers to their children. They’re an intimate glance at the personal lives of renowned figures as family men. Lovingly composed, these beautiful missives are inspirational, full of joy, and a wonderful source of advice. … Read More

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Absurd Urban Dictionary Definitions of Famous Authors

You probably know Urban Dictionary as the place where parental types lurk and where the English language goes to die. As crass as the definitions are, they’re occasionally accurate — especially in the case of these famous authors. Urban Dictionary users have a crude way of getting right to the point, which is where the humor in these definitions of iconic literary figures shines bright. They’re not exactly factual, but we can’t argue that Poe’s life sucked, that Franz Kafka needs his own rock opera, or that Vonnegut is deserving of much worship. Presented without comment, and with grammatical/spelling errors intact, see how Urban Dictionary defines your favorite writers, below. … Read More

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The ‘Mad Men’ Bookshelf: What Will Don Draper Read in 1969?

Few shows in television history have given their writers half as much fun as Matthew Weiner and his crew have with Mad Men. It’s why you always see so many reading lists for the show’s characters and compilations of all the books that have actually been featured on itMad Men is, at its heart, a very literary show, one whose influences are clear because its writers get to embed their favorite books into the story. Taking place in 1969, Season 7 is likely to cover world-changing events like the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, Woodstock, and the Manson Family murders (please hold your Megan death conspiracy theories), but the year was also filled with books that played a huge role in the cultural conversation of the time, and in some cases, had a lasting impact that can still be felt to this day. That’s why it wouldn’t be a surprise to see any of these book covers on the final season of Mad Men. … Read More

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Listen to 15 Literary Icons Reading Their Own Work

One of the most important experiences you can have with your favorite author is to hear them read aloud from their works. But many of us will never get the chance to see our most beloved writer in the flesh. So, after the jump is a collection of 15 writers — some alive, some long gone — reading their own words (all fiction, with the exception of William Faulkner, whose Nobel Prize speech is included because it’s now often taught alongside his novels and stories, and Joan Didion’s memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking).  … Read More

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14 Adorable Photos of Famous Authors Kissing (And Being Kissed)

Happy Valentine’s Day! Celebrate by getting yourself kissed today. Or, may we suggest finding a famous writer to smooch? In case you need a little inspiration (or just like to see writers making out), we’ve collected several adorable photos of famous authors in fond embraces, both vintage and quite recent. … Read More

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What 10 of Your Favorite Cultural Icons Were Up To in College

Thanks to BuzzFeed’s entertaining roundup, we’ve discovered Mindy Kaling’s college comic strip, Badly Drawn Girl. A shrewd look at the facts of coed life, from frat bros to dining hall food, it’s a peek at what Kaling’s comic sensibilities were like long before she wound up in The Office‘s writers’ room. Other cultural notables have had their fair share of cool college projects, too. We took the liberty of looking up what some of our favorite famous people were up to while they were still living in dorm rooms. … Read More

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10 Movies to Stream Before They Disappear from Netflix Instant

It’s not quite Streamageddon, but as you may’ve heard, Netflix apparently had some contracts that end with 2013, and thus we have one of the streaming service’s occasional purges of valuable catalog titles. And it would’ve happened fairly quietly too, were it not for good ol’ Reddit, where someone painstakingly checked out the individual pages for God-knows-how-many titles and came up with a list of nearly 100 movies and TV shows scheduled to disappear from Netflix Instant on 1/1/2014. There’s some genuinely great stuff in here, proving yet again that this whole “phasing out of physical media for ephemeral streaming that comes and goes as it pleases” thing should give us all pause, but there’s no time for that—there’s barely twelve hours of 2013 left, and you’re about to lose some great movies. So if you’re planning on making New Year’s Eve a movie night, here’s a few soon-to-expire suggestions: … Read More

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The Greatest Literary Catchphrases

Language is a fluid, ever-evolving thing. There are a few words we could do without, but many catchphrases have stuck with us through the decades — some more stubborn than others. Those that have their roots in literature, or those at least popularized by books, seem to have the most staying power. The printed catchphrase feels more practical, timeless, and stalwart than those words echoing in movie houses — and literary dialogue is often the backbone of cinema scripts in our adaptation-heavy culture. We took a glance back at several catchphrases from the world of literature that have made their way into our vernacular and others that are memorable for their context and poetry. We hope you’ll continue adding to the list, below. … Read More

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