literature

50 Fearless Female Firsts in the Arts

March is Women’s History Month — a time to pay “tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.” Since the national celebration’s beginnings in 1981, women have continued to break the gender barrier and contribute significantly to the historical evolution of various forms of art. Here’s a look at some of those women — the filmmakers, writers, singers, and other creative pioneers who paved the… Read More

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Zoella’s Clockwork Novels: Fanfiction, Ghostwriters, and the Bizarre, Automated Future of Publishing

Another year, another novel churned out by the YouTube Megastar-Publishing Complex. This week, the Guardian announced that Zoe “Zoella” Sugg, Internet superstar and “author” of Girl Online, last year’s runaway hit and the fastest-selling debut novel of all time, will publish a sequel, the appropriately titled Girl Online 2. Only, as is well documented, Sugg didn’t write the novel, even though she said she did. The book’s jacket copy finds Zoella confiding to her fans: “My dream has been to write a book, and I can’t believe it’s come true.” But, as it turns out, the book was ghostwritten, factory produced by an underlaborer named Siobhan Curham, who wrote the book for a measly £7,000 to £8,000. … Read More

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Here’s the Cover for Jonathan Franzen’s ‘Purity’, Due September 1st

Jonathan Franzen, according to the press copy (or maybe jacket copy) from his forthcoming novel Purity, is “a major author… Read More

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Reif Larsen’s ‘I Am Radar': Art and Race in 2015’s First Big, Messy Novel

Am Radar begins in darkness: the title character, Radar Radmanovic, is born to his mother Charlene during a hospital blackout. Charlene’s husband, Kermin Radmanovic, is tinkering with a transceiver radio in the delivery room, waiting to “announce his child’s arrival to the world.” But when the lights come on the doctor is holding on to her newborn child, a baby “so dark it shimmered purple in the beam of light, like an eggplant.” … Read More

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Hello, Cruel World: Silvina Ocampo Is Argentina’s Literary Middle Child

Overlooked, cruel, ruthlessly inventive: Silvina Ocampo is the forgotten middle child in the storied family of Argentine Writers. In reality, she was the youngest of six children born in Buenos Aires; one of her older sisters, Victoria, founded the legendary literary magazine Sur. Silvina was introduced to a world of intellectuals and artists at a young age. She studied painting in Paris under the artists Giorgio de Chirico, Ferdenand Léger and André Lhote (painters who inspired the surrealists) before giving it up to pursue literature. At the age of thirty, she took the nineteen-year-old Adolfo Bioy Casares, the novelist who would grow up to write The Invention of Morel, as her lover. They married seven years later. … Read More

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Guessing Game: Edgar Allan Poe or Goth Song Lyrics?

Monday marks the birthday of O.G. Edgar Allan Poe — original goth (one of them, anyway). Poe’s morose poems and gloomy short tales populate the annals of gothic literature. The master of the macabre’s life wasn’t exactly cheery, either. Drugs, booze, depression, and family tragedy plagued Poe during his day — but in death we celebrate him with a guessing game only a real goth could appreciate. Inspired by the dank darkness of Poe’s danky doom, we present you with: Edgar Allan Poe or Goth Song Lyrics? Look deep into the abyss for the answers (or simply highlight or double-click them to view). … Read More

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10 Must-Read Academic Books for 2015

As readers, we too often take for granted that the best books of the year are released by the Big 5 publishers. But the truth is that great works of academic writing many times outlast non-academic works when it comes to shaping a given conversation. With this in mind, here are ten must-read academic books slated for 2015, on themes ranging from Islam and liberalism to veterans’ and migrants’ rights. … Read More

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The Nasty Eloquence of Provincial Rage: On Ben Metcalf’s ‘Against the Country’

Rage — like depression, anxiety, megalomania, and even unbridled, manic optimism — may be a sane response to an insane world. (The smothering of these things in the name of “calmness” or “sanity” should at least be met with caution.) But for those of us who aren’t predisposed against rage, its expression may still leave something to be desired. If 2014 was the year of online rage, as some have said, it was also the year of rage often poorly conveyed. Hopefully 2015 can be a year-long declaration of rage unleashed through better words and sentences. … Read More

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