Margaret Atwood

22 Thrilling, Imaginative, and Twisted Genre Books By Women

Potboilers, fantasy lands, murders, noir triumphs, supernatural creatures, and the twisted, thrilling, and dark imaginations that devise them are hardly a male-only literary province. Since Mary Shelley imagined Frankenstein on a night in Switzerland, women have been creating genre fiction alongside men, playing with vampires, dragons, detectives, unreliable narrators, and denizens of outer space. So pack some of these classic genre novels by women in your canvas tote and enjoy reading them this summer at the beach, the pool, or just snuggled up to your air conditioning… Read More

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25 Novels That Will Turn You Into an Environmentalist

Earth Day is upon us, and you know what that means: time to pick up the trash in your neighborhood, or hug a tree, or at least think a little bit about your carbon footprint. Not exactly your cup of tea? Then how about reading one of these novels (er, and two short story collections and one children’s book), each guaranteed to turn you into some kind of environmentalist, whether by scare tactics (post-apocalyptic climate nightmare!) or straight wooing (look at all these pretty plants and things!). And, we promise, none of these is as boring as Walden. Celebrate Earth Day from the comfort of your couch this year, and next year… well, who knows? … Read More

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How Hurricane Katrina Gave Rise to a Flood of Dystopian Fiction

The word dystopia came into being in the 19th century, through two modifications of existing words. First, the utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham, in his Plan of Parliamentary Reform, simply changed the prefix of Sir Thomas More’s Utopia (οὐ or “u” means “not” — so “no place”), which signified a fictional place, to κακό or “bad,” to create cacotopia: a bad place. Decades later, in 1868, Bentham’s disciple, John Stuart Mill, made a speech to parliament in which he reiterated “cacotopia” before upping the ante with his own neologism, “dystopia.” … Read More

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“Because the Night” Belongs to Vivian: Links You Need to See

Did you know Patti Smith’s “Because the Night” — arguably one of her most accessible pieces — actually began as a Bruce Springsteen song that he wrote and rejected? The A.V. Club, in their column “Hear This,” has this week set its focus on songs written by men that women interpreted better. Check it out for more on how Patti Smith vitalized, morphed and rewrote Springsteen’s sloppy seconds and made “Because the Night” one of the most memorable rock ballads of the 70s.  … Read More

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15 YA Writers on Their Favorite Book for Adults

TIME magazine recently ran a big package on “young adult” novels, in an attempt to define the nascent genre, giving us both “The 100 Best Young-Adult Books of All Time” and “17 Famous Writers on Their Favorite Young Adult Books.” Unfortunately, the canonical list failed to reflect the range of stories covered in young adult literature, ignoring current YA literature and calling any work with a teen protagonist “young adult.”

The “17 Famous Writers” list also suffered from a disconnect between the content and the buzzword; despite the headline, it seemed clear that authors were asked about “the books they loved as a child.” As a result, current young adult literature was roundly ignored. With that in mind, Flavorwire wanted to flip the script on TIME‘s “Famous Writers” list by asking some of our favorite contemporary young adult authors about their favorite books for grown-ups. The results, which feature responses that are both sly and serious, range from coming-of-age stories to science fiction adventures. … Read More

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30 Legendary Literary Mean Girls We Love to Hate

Literature loves a mean girl, an archenemy, or just an undermining frenemy. Let’s face it: this archetype is often (though not always) realized as a charming blonde who’s either a snob guarding her place against interlopers or a determined social climber. For every spunky heroine, she’s the prissy antagonist who scorns our protagonist’s rough ways, while her nimble feet fight for their place on the rungs of a given novel’s social ladder. She represents the apex of the idea that men can fight each other out in the open, but women are forced to be underhanded in their jockeying for alpha status. Her machinations make plots get thicker and tension ratchet up. Here’s a selection of literature’s most delightfully nasty mean girls. We love to hate… Read More

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How Margaret Atwood and Zadie Smith Use Technology: An Excerpt From ‘Process: The Writing Lives of Great Authors’

Need a hit of inspiration? In Sarah Stodola‘s fascinating new book Process: The Writing Lives of Great Authors, we see what drives genius. Whether it’s “autodidacts,” “nine-to-fivers,” or “slow and steady,” among others, Stodola takes an intimate and well-researched look inside the habits and traditions of 18 of your favorite writers (including David Foster Wallace, Virginia Woolf, Joan Didion, Toni Morrison, and George Orwell), habits that have led to the production of some of our greatest canonical works. Process goes on shelves (and online) January 20th.

Read an exclusive preview, which looks at Margaret Atwood and Zadie Smith’s very different approaches to technology and the Internet’s role their writing, below. … Read More

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The 50 Sexiest Literary Villains

In The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy, open-mouthed, says “I’ve never heard of a beautiful witch before,” Glinda famously quips that only bad witches are ugly. But ’tis not so — or at least, there are plenty of very bad witches who are the opposite of ugly: beautiful, sexy, charming, devastatingly intelligent, or all of the above. So, in honor of J.K. Rowling’s outrage that we all love Draco so much, here’s 50 villains that we wouldn’t kick out of… Read More

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