This week, we read a great interview with Meg Wolitzer (whose just-released novel The Interestings is currently being enjoyed by more than one member of this office). “Men,” she says, “with very few exceptions, won’t read books about women.” Though not exactly a new idea, this pronouncement gains a little force by coming hot on the heels of GQ‘s “The New Canon: The 21 Books from the 21st Century Every Man Should Read,” which contains (you guessed it, drumroll please, etc.) three books written by women. Though we won’t disparage any of the books that made the list, we will offer our own — as an attempt to work towards ameliorating the problem laid out by Wolitzer and neatly exemplified by GQ. After all, though there are three books by women on their list, only the Munro could really be said to be primarily about them. After the jump, 21 books by and about women that we think every man should read. … Read More
Recently, we took in a fascinating article entitled “What Should Children Read?” over at the Times‘ Opinionator. In it, Sara Mosle briefly outlines elements of the new Common Core State Standards, contentious national curriculum guidelines which will begin to be implemented in public schools in 2014, and takes a look at some of the arguments over the new standards, suggesting that part of the problem is that high school English curriculums are often lacking in good narrative nonfiction that appeals to teenagers. Inspired by this question of what high school kids should be reading, we’ve put together an essential reading list of narrative nonfiction and memoir, from the canonic to the contemporary, that we think would benefit anyone under (and let’s face it, over) the age of 18. Click through to see our picks, and since every high schooler, past or present, should read way more than ten nonfiction books in their lives, be sure to add your own favorites to our list in the comments. … Read More
“I grew up with American comics — lots of Dracula, lots of Batman,” says Persepolis artist and filmmaker Marjane Satrapi. “I ended up in a studio where everyone was making comics, and I said to myself, ‘This is the work for, you know, for nuts,’ because you have to be like a monk, you see. You do the same thing over and over.” Of course, after working on her own comics for a while, she “realized that I was a monk myself, inside.” This is only one of the great moments from Satrapi’s edition of Beginnings, director Chiara Clemente’s series of Sundance Channel short films in which artists tell stories about getting started in their field. Other highlights include watching Satrapi draw her most famous character — herself — and talk about how she always identified with “cool guys.” Watch the badass in action below. … Read More
We’re not sure why it seems so hard to adapt a memoir to the big screen. Though hundreds of movies made each year are adapted from novels and short stories, relatively few are built from memoir — despite the fact that the form has been at least as popular as novels in the last two decades, and may be more beloved by the general public. So why are there so few memoir-to-movie deals? And why are the ones that do exist often not very good?
After seeing the film adaptation of Nick Flynn’s great memoir Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, slapped with the anesthetized title Being Flynn, Slate‘s David Haglund wonders “if memoirs simply lose too much in the conversion from first-person prose to a medium in which genuinely first-person narration is very difficult to sustain.” It’s true — film is a third-person medium, not perfectly suited to portraying interior life. Plus, while we might slog through a poorly written novel on account of a ripping story, for us at least, a successful memoir has to rely even more on great line-by-line writing — a really beautifully written one can get us to care about the writer’s most petty grievances — and that may be difficult to translate to film. While the reviews of Being Flynn are mixed so far, we got to thinking about the few really great films adapted from memoirs. Click through to see our picks, and let us know if we’ve missed any of your favorites — or why you think the form is so hard to adapt — in the comments. … Read More
Art Spiegelman’s MetaMaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic hits shelves this week, and being huge fans of Spiegelman (and particularly Maus) we couldn’t be more excited. First published twenty-five years ago, Maus has become a modern classic, though it is at times a difficult and disturbing novel. MetaMaus delves into the history of the book with hundreds of pages of answered questions and supporting information and is sure to satiate any fan — at least for a while. If you’re anything like us, you’ll need something to keep your graphic novel kick going when you come up for air, so we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite disturbingly brilliant graphic novels, including the famous Maus. Click through to see our picks, and let us know if we’ve missed any of your favorites in the comments. … Read More
Okay, so it’s in French. But we’re sure that many fans of Marjane Satrapi — the graphic novelist who told the story of her youth in Iran in the wonderful books-turned-film Persepolis – already know the story behind Chicken with Plums and will want to see the first trailer for the movie version regardless of the language barrier. For those who aren’t familiar with it, Satrapi’s 2006 graphic novel is set in ’50s Tehran and follows her great-uncle, Nasser Ali Khan, a musician who withdraws from the world and his family after his instrument is broken and he realizes he won’t be able to replace it. The Chicken with Plums film finds Satrapi reunited with her Persepolis partner Vincent Parronaud, and, judging from the beautiful look of the trailer, the decision to make a live-action, rather than animated, movie was a good one. Chicken with Plums will debut next month at both the Toronto and Venice film festivals. … Read More
Occasionally when we’re on the 1 scoping out all of your reads, there’s a title that we just can’t see no matter how much we squint or how long we wait for a page turn, or train lurch that shifts the book ever so slightly. We’re intrigued and we cra buy generic viagra
ne our necks (as inconspicuously as possible) in hopes of seeing it. We wonder if people are starting to notice.
This morning, there was a particularly frustrating lady sitting diagonally from us with a behemoth of a library book between her hands. There was a dead white guy on the cover. MARK TWAIN? No. EDGAR ALLAN POE? No. Blast! We didn’t recognize the face, and wow was the protective, plastic covering reflective, making it even harder to make out what the tiny black font said.
As the train screeched to a stop at 18th Street, and the lady closed the book and stood up to take her leave, we managed to catch the fine print as she walked past and waited for the door to open. VICTOR HUGO! Mystery solved. A quick Amazon search confirmed that the cover was in fact that of Modern Library’s LES MISERABLES. We hope you appreciate our dedicated detective work. … Read More