Maria Semple

The Best Literary Heroines of 2012: An Alternate List

This week, NPR treated us to a list of five of their favorite heroines from the year in literature, women who “want to know things, who want to devour the world,” who “aren’t primarily defined by their desire to love or be loved — or even to be especially lovable — these are sublimely stubborn women, frequently at odds with themselves and always at odds with their times,” who are on quests. We love their list (Sontag, yes) but since they missed quite a few of our favorite literary heroines of 2012, we couldn’t help taking the opportunity to add to it. After the jump, the wiliest, wildest, most kick-ass literary ladies we fell in love with this year — check them out, and since we can’t possible cover every one, be sure to add your own favorites to our list in the comments. … Read More

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The Books That Made the Most ‘Best Of 2012′ Book Lists

December means a lot of things. Our normally latent shopping gene starts itching like crazy, mint-flavored coffee starts sounding like a good idea, and every single media outlet (ourselves included) puts up their “best of” everything lists. Well, ’tis the season. In an effort to distill all those year’s end book round-ups — and let’s face it, be a little meta — we looked at 16 lists from 14 media organizations and counted up the books that tickled the most critics this year. Turns out, they had quite a few differing opinions — on those 16 lists alone, we noted more than 150 unique titles — but also agreed across the board on a few knock-outs. After the jump, feast your eyes on the most popular books of the 2012 best book list season — and let us know if you agree with consensus or think the world’s gone mad in the comments. … Read More

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25 Notable Books Unfairly Overlooked by ‘The New York Times’

Earlier this week, The New York Times published their annual year-end list of the “100 Notable Books of 2012,” as chosen by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. As usual, the list is filled with very predictable (though often very worthy) choices, but this year we were surprised not only by the amazing, under-the-radar books the Times ignored, but by the equally amazing but high-profile and relatively commercial books that also got snubbed. To that end, we’ve compiled an alternative, or an addendum, if you will, to the Times’ list, including both lesser-known books we loved this year, and some big name books we can’t believe didn’t make the cut. Click through to read our list, and if you so desire, register your own addendums to our addendum in the comments. … Read More

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The Flavorpill Guide to DIY Pop Culture Halloween Costumes: Books

Halloween: It’s always more complicated than you want it to be. Even if you’ve got your plans set, it’s a struggle to find the perfect costume — without resorting to the same crappy, overpriced, pre-packaged getups everyone else will be wearing. Thankfully, just as we have done for the past two Octobers, Flavorpill is helping you out with a series of easy DIY costume guides tackling various pop-culture realms. Don’t worry — there’s no sewing involved.

Last week, we took you through a few easy-as-pie options in the realm of television, giving our suggestions on channeling everyone from Hare Krishna Paul Kinsey to Evil Abed, but if you spend more time with your nose in a book than you do catching up on the latest shows (or just want to seem like you do), this week’s installment is or you. While we’re sure this Halloween will see its usual abundance of Poes and Plaths and Maxes from Where The Wild Things Are, we’ve put together a few slightly more original costume ideas inspired by the ups and downs of this year in the book world. Detailed instructions on how to channel a few authors, characters and even entire books after the jump. … Read More

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10 New Must-Reads for August

Another month, another stack of books in our must read pile. For fiction addicts, we have an unusual amount of non-fiction on our list this month — maybe it’s an aftereffect of so much delicious (but oh so sugary) beach reading, or maybe it’s just that we can’t resist subjects as compelling as George Orwell’s diaries, Paul Auster’s memoir, and D.T. Max’s biography of David Foster Wallace. But don’t worry, we have plenty of novels and short stories this month as well, for a well-rounded month full of fine literature, fascinating lives, and some hilarious missives to boot. Click through to check out our list of the books we’re most excited about this August, and let us know which ones you’ve been itching to read in the comments. … Read More

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10 Novels About Lost Wealth and the Great Recession

In a recent Daily Beast/Newsweek poll, 44 percent of respondents reported that their personal economic situation currently makes them upset, while close to a third said it makes them downright angry. It’s been about 2 and a half years since the Great Recession began, and there’s a slew of books you can count on to make your situation seem a little bit better if you’re one of the 9.1 percent of Americans who are still unemployed or if you’re a working stiff who can’t seem to get a break. So enjoy this list, dear readers, because a good novel about the economic slowdown can take the pressure off of another grinding week at the office or on the job hunt. … Read More

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Exclusive: Maria Semple Channels the Sad LA Wife

TV-writer turned novelist Maria Semple had us at Arrested Development. After having worked on that cult favorite, and other series such as Beverly Hills 90210 and Mad About You,  she has recently fulfilled every writer’s dream and published her first novel, This One Is Mine.

After the jump, we get the chance to ask her about the disaffected housewife phenomenon, her favorite books about LA, and the inevitability of re-writes. If you live in New York, you can see more of her tonight, as Maria will be appearing at The Strand to discuss TV writing with her longtime friend Sex and the City creator Darren Starr and to read from This One Is Mine. Event details here. … Read More

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