Salman Rushdie would be hard-pressed to find a more suitable director for the film adaptation of his beautifully allegorical Midnight’s Children than Deepa Mehta, best known for her Elements trilogy, which confronts traditionally repressed issues in Indian society surrounding arranged marriage, sexuality, and patriarchy. We’re excited about the idea of one of the most acclaimed voices in politically charged Indian filmmaking collaborating with the country’s most celebrated contemporary author. Winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Booker Prize, as well as the special Booker of Bookers Prize, Midnight’s Children has earned status as a modern classic, and although there’s plenty to be wary about when it comes to adapting great literary works to film, this one seems promising. Here’s a quick look (via i09) at a few clips from the forthcoming movie, set to be released this November, and how they fit into the novel’s narrative. … Read More
Fifty Shades fatigue has been creeping up on us the past few weeks, so we decided to ask Amy Sohn, former sex columnist and New York Times bestselling author of Prospect Park West and this month’s equally delectable sequel Motherland for help coming up with some worthy alternatives. “If Fifty Shades has taught us anything it’s that American women are starved for hot lit,” she told us.
We asked Sohn, who we have come to appreciate over the years for her unapologetic depiction of intimacy (or lack thereof) from the female POV, what she believes constitutes a “good” sex scene in lit. “I like scenes that don’t begin at the beginning and end at the traditional end: the man’s orgasm,” she told us. “I prefer scenes that begin in the middle, or skip around like a record or end with the female orgasm. Maybe the woman comes and we don’t get to hear the rest of it.” So, how do you write “good” sex? She offered up this tip: “Sex in fiction should never read like the scene between Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis in Top Gun, for a thousand different reasons. There is no blue light in real sex unless you live across from a neon sign, like the character in Fame.” So, dear readers, if you’re looking for some real, un-tinted sex, click through Sohn’s recommendations, and see what lies behind the seemingly perfect exteriors of Brooklyn’s most prized parenting demographic once more in Motherland (which, full disclosure, we weren’t able to put down). … Read More
With so many reports about independent booksellers closing and book sales in decline, World Book Night has been a beacon of hope for lit fans across the globe. Looking for ways to promote “a million reasons to read a book,” the celebrated day will take place on April 23, 2012 this year and will include… Read More
Virginia Woolf — most know the name, but few know the obscure biographical facts behind the name. Today, for example, is the day of her birth. To celebrate the 59 years that Woolf spent observing and writing about our world, we bring you 59 tidbits about her life. So, go ahead! Get better acquainted with one of the 20th century’s most important authors after the jump. … Read More
Last week, we learned that a video game version of The Great Gatsby exists. While we’re not opposed to adapting classics into video games as a general rule (see Dante’s Inferno), this one doesn’t even sound like fun. From the official description: “Attend extravagant parties and lush gatherings as you dance the Charleston with a happy couple harboring scintillating secrets.” You know, so that you can be as bored by it all as Gatsby was. In response, we’ve come up with a list of 10 equally unlikely classics that would actually make great games. Check them out after the jump, and add your own suggestions in comments. … Read More
It never fails: Every Bloomsday, someone reminds us that Kate Bush’s “The Sensual World” is based on James Joyce’s Ulysses. Not that we mind — it’s always nice to have an excuse to listen to the song again. But this year, it inspired a lit-geek challenge: Could we compile an entire mixtape of songs inspired by modernist masters? While who qualifies as a modernist is a question for literary scholars to debate, we’re pretty satisfied with the 12 songs we’ve chosen. Tell us what you’d include in the comments. … Read More
Between gossip blogs and the weekly glossies, watching high profile people play out their personal indiscretions and humiliations in public has become a staple of modern culture. We witch hunt mistresses, follow divorces like sporting matches, and feast on depraved behavior.
What if your favorite literary characters were subjected to the same level of scrutiny? We have compiled a list of fictional characters that in today’s day and age would be tabloid sensations for their turbulent romances and dramatic downward spirals. Lindsay Lohan and Jon Gosselin step aside, here are the top ten literary characters that the tabloids of today would be crazy… Read More
Some of us (judging from the comment thread on our best-of-YA-fiction post, a lot of us) may have spent an obscenely large percentage of our childhoods shining flashlights under covers and making ourselves carsick in order to finish just one more chapter in our favorite paperbacks. For one of us — ahem — the flavor of the week was usually a mystery, and we’re not referring to Encyclopedia Brown. It started with Nancy Drew and soon took a turn for the British, with Dame Agatha Christie and her subversive band of old maids, foreign detectives, and quietly scheming vicars. The next phase got a little pulpier: Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, wisecracks, whiskey. Unfortunately the grand era of detective novel book design had long since passed, epitomized by the Dell Books imprint running from 1943 to 1952. During the nine year span, Dell would publish a staggering 577 books with “map backs,” an illustrated feature on the back cover that set the scene for the twisty plots within. After the jump, take a peek at some of our favorite… Read More