Mark Twain

20 Great Southern Short Stories

The American South has produced an incredible amount of great literature. Earlier this month, we published a hearty list of classic novels to come out of the region. But for those who don’t have the hours to devote to Southern culture’s long-form masterpieces, there’s plenty of great short fiction set south of the Mason-Dixon, too. Featuring some famous tales by literary greats like William Faulkner, Mark Twain, and Flannery O’Connor, this list is a great way to start exploring Southern short… Read More

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The 50 Best Southern Novels Ever Written

The American South has long been seen as the focus of the country’s Civil Rights Movement, carrying with it the stigma of poverty, racism, and anti-intellectualism. Yet the region has also produced a disproportionate number of intellectuals, poets, and writers, possibly because of the complicated and layered identities each Southerner holds within him- or herself. The South has begotten some of our nation’s most important authors, including prize winners like William Styron, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Ralph Ellison, Harper Lee, and that titan of American letters, William Faulkner. These 50 novels are a reminder that the South cannot be defined solely by its failings; it is also responsible for shaping the minds of countless thinkers who offered to American literature essential insights about not only their region but the world at… 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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25 Fabulously Cranky Mark Twain Quotes

Mark Twain was born on this day in 1835. He lived until his 70s, which he considered “the time of life when you arrive at a new and awful dignity.” The writer regarded old age with the same acerbic wit that made him the greatest humorist of his time. Tragedy always seemed to be knocking at Twain’s door. He lived through the death of three children and his wife, and financial troubles weighed heavy on him — but for Twain, “humor [was] the great thing, the saving thing after all.” We’ve gathered 25 of Twain’s crankiest quotes that celebrate the father of American literature’s sharp tongue. … Read More

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12 Vintage Advertisements Starring Famous Authors

Nowadays, you aren’t likely to find a famous novelist shilling for their favorite brand — for one thing, most writers just aren’t as recognizable as your average actor, and for another, well, they’re artists. But it wasn’t always that way: quite a few writers have appeared in advertisements over the years, even lending their own words to support a product. Yep, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck: both sellouts. We kid, we kid. After the jump, check out a few famous writers selling everything from alcohol to… well, it’s mostly alcohol. Have a favorite vintage literary ad we’ve missed? Link to it in the comments! … Read More

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The Devil’s 10 Best Appearances in Literature

We’re in the middle of spooky season, a particularly American phenomenon where the supernatural meets the commercial. There’s plenty of candy corn, jack-o’-lanterns, and people slapping together last-second costumes so they can look like sexy Dracula, a sexy mummy, or a sexy flesh-eating zombie.

It’s all good, clean fun (if you don’t count toilet-papering a house as “dirty”), even though the holiday does have its roots in both pagan and Christian traditions. Still, it’s hard to deny that there is something downright evil about contemporary Halloween. And who is the personification of all evil? The devil, of course. … Read More

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6 Inspiring Self-Publishing Success Stories (That Aren’t ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’)

Carson Mell’s Saguaro may well be the best originally self-published title to come out this year. Thanks to the folks at Electric Literature, the book finally has a more traditional publisher, and is available now for your reading pleasure. … Read More

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20 Photos of Famous Authors in Awesome Costumes

Halloween is fast approaching, and if you’re the writerly (read: introverted, inside-cat) type, you may be experiencing some anxiety about dressing up in a costume and walking the streets. But take heart: some of your very favorite authors have been known to don a costume from time to time, too. So it must be cool, right? This slideshow is also appropriate for those itching to wear a literary costume this year but who have already worn out their Poe ravens and DFW bandannas: go meta and dress as one of your favorite authors in one of their costumes. Click through to see some amazing writers dressed to the… Read More

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8 Famous Authors on Government Incompetence

No matter the era, no matter which side you are on, and no matter where you live, the government will find ways to break your heart. Obviously the entire American federal government shutting down is an extreme case, one with massive ramifications, and that, quite frankly, makes us look really stupid to the rest of the world. … Read More

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35 Great Travel Books That Will Take You Around the World Without a Plane Ticket

Travel writing is a glamorous but difficult genre. To a reader it’s an easy sell: you get to go to fantastic places and see unusual things without spending the money. But for a writer, getting your tone right can be tricky. The speaker’s narration of the exotic wonders of the place they’re visiting can quickly turn condescending and even racist. Only the most skilled writers can toe the line. Like, you know, Steinbeck. In this list, I’ve observed the following parameters: no recent blockbusters, as many of the world’s regions as one could possibly fit, and steering away from the older, 19th-century popular travel books unless there was something particularly remarkable about… Read More

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