Margaret Atwood

10 Phenomenally Tricky Books Everyone Should Read

This morning, we read Laura Miller’s piece on “sneaky author tricks” over at Salon, in which she muses on the dangers of metafictional, tricks-y writing — one of her points being that if an author’s going to do it, he’d better do it well. Like Miller, we are rather fond of authorial tricks, and considering that today is April Fools’ day, we thought we’d collect a few of the best here. Click through to see a few of our favorite tricky books. … Read More

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Fascinating Photos of Famous Authors as Teenagers

Over the weekend, Vol.1 Brooklyn pointed us towards a delightful collection of never-before-seen photographs of Ernest Hemingway as a teenager, in all his handsomely smug glory. Inspired, we took it upon ourselves to dig up a handful of snapshots of other legendary authors in those awkward (or not so awkward, as the case may be) teenage years, before they penned the words that made them… Read More

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10 Famous Novelists Who Have Dabbled in Comics

This week, we were delighted to come across You’ll Have to Save That For Another Time, a comic written by Dave Eggers and drawn by Noah Van Sciver, over at Trip City. Unaware as we were that Eggers had any talent for the comic strip, we were inspired to go hunting for other noted novelists who’ve made forays into the graphic form, whether official (that is, published) or personal. Keep in mind that we’re focusing on novelists who went to the colorful side as opposed to the other way around, so you won’t find Neil Gaiman (mastermind as he is), Warren Ellis, or their wonderful ilk here. Check out some novelists who can also write comics after the jump, and if we missed your favorite cross-over, be sure to add it to our list in the comments. … Read More

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The Fascinating Self-Portraits of 20 Famous Authors

They say writing is a form of self-expression — but it’s not the only one. And if we had to guess, we’d bet that many of our favorite authors have a little bit more going on in their heads than the average person, so it makes sense to us that their creativity might spill out into other mediums. To that end, we’ve curated a small selection of wonderful visual self-portraits by famous authors — from scribbles to full-on oil paintings, from cheeky one-offs to serious painterly studies. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments. … Read More

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The 10 Greatest Dystopian Love Stories in Literature

This week saw the release of the brilliant Ariel Djanikian‘s debut novel, The Office of Mercy. Djanikian’s book drops you into a deliciously paranoid world that we’re confident will go down in history with the best of them, so we asked her to put together a list of her favorite dystopian love stories (just be sure to mentally add The Office of Mercy to her list). Here’s what she told us: “Dystopian tales seem to go hand-in-hand with scintillating, high-octane love stories: perhaps because dire circumstances have a knack of drawing people together, perhaps because claustrophobic repression makes the highs and lows of love affairs that much more potent. These ten books boast plenty of heart-stopping love triangles, as well as romantic pairings with some changes: robots, clones, and cyborgs get in on the action. They are love affairs that question how much feeling we have to offer, and how much trust we can risk in the face of political pressures. Love is never the cure-all for these characters, but it can be an intervention, as Jeanette Winterson says, against powers of destruction.” … Read More

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20 Books Every Woman Should Read in Her 20s

Recently, we stumbled upon this list of “fun” books that every woman should read in her 20s — needless to say, if you’re even a casual visitor to this space, the books (Confessions of a Shopaholic, Bitches on a Budget) aren’t exactly the ones we’d choose. So, perhaps rather predictably, we decided to put together our own list instead. Now, don’t forget, these are books for women in their 20s — we assume you’ve already read as much Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott as you care to, we expect that you’ve already tackled To Kill a Mockingbird and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Jane Eyre. And though women should read all books about all kinds of things and by all kinds of authors, this list sort of necessarily skews towards  both female writers and characters, given the topic of the day. Click through to check out our reading list — and since every woman should read more than 20 books in her 20s (hundreds, ladies!), add your own favorites in the comments. … Read More

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A Required Reading List For the End of the World

Well, we’ve made it folks: it’s the end of the world. Or, er, maybe it will be, sometime today. In these end times, we’ve been thinking about our dear friend P.J. O’Rourke, who once quipped a quip that’s always nagging at the back of our minds: “always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” Well, readers, the day has come. Now, whether anyone else will be around to see your cool death-read is a separate question, but if you need a little guidance as to what to keep on your person for posterity, we’re here for you. After the jump, a few books we think would send you off with a bang — whether today or years from now. Get on it. … Read More

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Contemporary Authors as Adjectives

Today marks the release of George Orwell’s Diaries, the influential writer’s personal writings from the years 1931 to 1949, published for the first time in the United States. Orwell is one of those writers who is so infused in our collective imagination and culture that his name has become its own adjective: “Orwellian” is used to describe a totalitarian government or situation similar to the one in 1984. Like Kafka, whose “Kafkaesque,” has come to mean not only “like Kafka’s writing” but also the more disconnected “marked by a senseless, disorienting, often menacing complexity,” Orwell’s namesake will probably continue to evolve, becoming a term one understands even without reading a word of his writing. But what about more modern writers? After the jump, we’ve speculated on a few (tongue-in-cheek, mind you) definitions for the adjective-ized versions of contemporary authors — sure, some of their names don’t exactly lend themselves to common adjectival endings, but that’s okay. The English language is ever evolving. And in that spirit, we challenge you to play our game and make up your own in the comments! … Read More

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The 10 Best End of the World Novels

This week marks the release of The Dog Stars, the debut novel by adventure writer Peter Heller, a stunning, hope-riddled end-of-the-world story about a man and his dog nine years after almost everyone else on earth has been eradicated. We think this novel is bound to become a classic, and it got us thinking about a few of the greatest apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic novels of all time. Click through to check out the books that — to our minds — make up the best of the best in end of the world lit. And as ever, if we’ve left off your own personal favorite, add to our list in the comments! … Read More

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Shoey Nam’s Multi-Faceted Portraits of Famous Writers

In Shoey Nam’s Loved and Labored series, which we recently spotted over at Juxtapoz, the London-based illustrator depicts some of his famous writers in lovely delicate line drawings. Even more interesting is the fact that each portrait is at least two — and sometimes three — portraits in one, depicting the subject at various stages of their writing life or even just in opposing moods, often with one version of the writer peering over the shoulder of the other, reminding him of his presence. Nam writes, “I chose to illustrate a set of literature figures, as writers have the tendency to carry a certain haggardness and cynicism of the world on their faces, which are often reflected in their words…. I tried to focus on depicting the figures’ mannerisms, such as the look on the face when concentrated, the way one smokes, holds objects, as well as the lines/traces/marks formed on faces that suggest their habitual face expressions.” Click through to check out Nam’s portraits of famous writers, and then be sure head over to his website to check out a similar series of musicians, plus even more of his work. … Read More

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