Margaret Atwood

30 Writers’ Invaluable Advice to Graduates

Graduation season is fast approaching, the time of the year when some of our favorite writers are tasked with summing up the wisdom to be accrued from the process of growing up in ten succinct minutes of witty truth. These days, a successful graduation speech has the very real chance of going viral, and then living forever as a book: from David Foster Wallace’s This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, About Living a Compassionate Life to Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art, the best graduation speeches are finding a new life. This crop includes the brand-new Congratulations, By the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness by George Saunders, a pretty-in-print encapsulation of his 2013 Syracuse Graduation speech. It’s reason enough to collect 30 of the best, wisest, and pithiest pieces of advice from the greatest writers to attempt the graduation… 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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The New Classics: 21 Writers Tell Us Which Books They’d Add to the Canon

What makes a book a classic? We’ve been revisiting the question recently thanks to a piece by Laura Miller at Salon,which explored what makes a book worthy of inclusion in the canon. Should David Foster Wallace be counted among the greats? Does Slaughterhouse-Five stand alongside Ulysses and the novels of Charles Dickens? Do these questions even matter? We asked a handful of critics, writers, and publishing industry people for their take on which new and underrated books should be considered… Read More

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Margaret Atwood, Jo Nesbø, Anne Tyler to Write Updated Versions of Shakespeare Classics

Pop culture loves a good Shakespeare modernization, from West Side Story to 10 Things I Hate About You to Baz Luhrmann’s… Read More

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10 Literary Portraits of a Young Artist

Today marks the 97th anniversary of the publication of James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man — a novel that has come to epitomize the journey of the angsty artist on the threshold of becoming. If you never grow tired of reading about isolated figures turning their backs on family dysfunction, religious oppression, and social burdens in the wake of individual consciousness, head past the break. Here are ten other books that explore the interiority of creative passion, unbridled youth, and artistic evolution. … Read More

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Why I Only Read Books by Women in 2013

In December 2012, I read Joanna Russ’ How to Suppress Women’s Writing. In the book, Russ identifies the arguments that many people make to discredit female writers — “she only wrote one book,” “this isn’t a serious/important enough topic,” “she wrote it under a pseudonym because she wanted people to think she was a man,” and so on — and coolly dismantles them, one by one.

I’m already what I’d call a card-carrying feminist. Even before reading Russ’ book, I made an effort to seek out and support up-and-coming female writers, who generally get less publicity and support than their male counterparts. But after reading Russ’ book I realized that there was still much more I could do to advocate for female writers. I flashed to the famous Tallulah Bankhead quote about how best to support the theater: “Don’t be an actress, darling, be an audience.” … Read More

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20 Famous Authors as Dolls

How best to prove your adoration of a particular writer? Make a doll in their likeness, of course. Or if you’re a little less than crafty, buy one. Or, you know, just look at them on the Internet. This last bit you can accomplish right now. Yes, your favorite authors have been immortalized as everything from action figures to wooden works of art to paper dolls to LEGO figurines, and you’ll find 20 of them after the jump. As an added bonus, many of them are buyable, so if you’re still looking to fill your favorite bookish friend’s holiday stocking, look no further. But be prepared for them to think you’re slightly creepy. … Read More

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50 Essential Novels for Foodies

‘Tis the season, as they say, to stuff your face. Thanksgiving, that hallowed day of highly caloric foods and oft-tempestuous family relations, is upon us. To celebrate — or just to escape the festivities for a while — why not nourish the foodie in you with some gourmand-friendly literature? Behold, a spread worthy of kings: 50 essential works of fiction to whet your appetite, and then satisfy it, and then satisfy it some… Read More

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50 Books to Inspire Artists of All Kinds

Today marks the release of one of the most long-awaited novels in recent memory: Donna Tartt’s third novel, the glorious, sprawling, Dickens-esque romp The Goldfinch. The book is backboned by its eponymous painting, and much concerned with art of all kinds, so to celebrate its release, and to suggest a little artistic inspiration for those who’ve already read it (or will have in about three days), we’ve put together a list of 50 books for artists: to inspire, to entertain, to shake up the system. Some of these books are about visual art, some are visual art in themselves, some just strike us as the kind of thing that might keep an artist up at… Read More

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The 50 Scariest Books of All Time

The air is getting crisper, the nights are getting longer, and All Hallow’s Eve draws near. You know what that means: it’s time to curl up with a book guaranteed to give you the shivers — or at least make you check the locks twice. Here, for your horrifying pleasure, are 50 of the scariest books ever written in the English language, whether horror, nonfiction, or speculative futures you never want to… Read More

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