Mark Twain

The Writing Tools of 20 Famous Authors

It’s no secret that writers can be quite particular about their writing tools. Some might call it an obsession or fetish, but the pens, pencils, notebooks, and other implements that authors have used to create their most famous works endlessly fascinates us. After reading an ode to the beloved Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602 pencil, adored for its smooth, firm graphite, we had to find out more about the tools of the literary elite. Take notes, and save your pennies to purchase these writing instruments for… Read More

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50 of the Best Books You Haven’t Read by Authors You Already Love

Looking for something to read but don’t want to stray too far from the authors you know and love? Seeking undiscovered literary gems to talk about at dinner parties? Want to delve into the backlist of a certain Great American Author? Well, Flavorwire has got you covered. After all, sometimes, amazing books just get lost in the shuffle, whether it’s because they’re before their time, fall out of fashion, or their author has one blockbuster that blots out all the rest. Click through to check out 50 great under-appreciated, under-read, and overshadowed novels by 50 of your favorite… Read More

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Jane Austen’s Most Famous Trolls, Critics, and Doubters

Such is the modern state of affairs that if you successfully argue that they should put Jane Austen’s face on a British ten-pound note, you will find yourself subject to rape, bomb, and death threats on the Internet. That’s what happened in the last little while to a British feminist who took up the cause, and everyone who swiftly came to her defense. And now, as a result, we are looking at the inauguration of a Twitter “report abuse” button which pretty much everyone points out is going to be a mess to administer. It’s all very baffling. … Read More

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13 Author Quotes That Will Make You Hungry

After obsessing over her blog, we knew that Kate Christensen’s autobiography Blue Plate Special, told with a side of some of her most memorable meals, would be an enjoyable read. It’s one of those rare examples of a book that can make you happy, sad, and also really hungry for lapin á la cocotte, and it got us thinking about some other great writers’ pithiest and most appetizing thoughts on food. … Read More

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The First 10 Works of Fiction You Should Read If You’ve Never Read a Book Before

Recently, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver told reporters that — while he has written more than 20 cookbooks — he had never read a whole book until recently, when he finished Suzanne Collins’s Hunter Games sequel, Catching Fire. Oliver said, “I’ve never read a book in my life, which I know sounds incredibly ignorant but I’m dyslexic and I get bored easily.” Fair enough. As a kind of thought experiment, Flavorwire has picked out the first ten books that an adult who is new to reading should pick up. Quibbles or further suggestions? Add them in the comments. … Read More

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Lewis Carroll’s Letter to Alice Liddell and Other Artifacts From the NYPL’s Children’s Books Exhibition

Last Friday, an essential exhibit for book lovers and onetime children of all stripes opened at the New York Public Library: The ABC Of It: Why Children’s Books Matter. Within, you can find the copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that belonged to Alice Liddell, a recording of E.B. White reading from Charlotte’s Web, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s family copy of Mother Goose, complete with annotations on which sections were too scary for the children, the original Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed animals, and more delights. Take a look at some of the treasures the exhibit has to offer after the jump, and head on up to the NYPL to see the show in person before it closes next March. … Read More

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Fascinating Early-20th-Century Color Photos of Famous People

There are some historical figures who we always think of in black and white. After all, the world trucked on in monochrome, Pleasantville-style, until the middle of the 20th century, right? Well, not exactly. In fact, color photography dates back to the mid-1800s — the first three-color process photo was taken in 1855, but it wasn’t until 1907 that the first commercially viable method of color photography, Lumière Autochrome, was invented — and perhaps unsurprisingly, photographers jumped to take snapshots of their famous friends. Below, some notable characters, from Mark Twain to Auguste Rodin, whom we usually see in black and white, showing their true colors. … Read More

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10 Forgotten Fantastical Novels You Should Read Immediately

Fans of magical prose and magical worlds, take heart. Titan Books has recently released a special limited edition version of steampunk legend James Blaylock’s The Aylesford Skull, a classic from one of the genre’s trailblazers. To celebrate the release, Blaylock has put together a list of forgotten or ignored works of literature that have inspired his own writing, and should be must-reads for anyone interested in science fiction or the fantastic. … Read More

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Richard Tuttle’s Incredible One-of-a-Kind Bindings for Classic Books

Put away that e-reader and take a peek at the incredible book cover art of Richard Tuttle. Tuttle, whose work was recently featured at Book Patrol, creates one-of-a-kind bindings for classic novels, interpreting the stories as beautiful, often cheeky sculptures. Tuttle explains: “I make literary artifacts. They are designed to pull books down off the shelf and display them in the salon, gallery or home as if they were works of art, which, of course, they are. Whether binding books with leather, paper, paint, wood, and found artifacts or building sculptures to encase the volumes, I seek to find a perspective that shouts out a piece of the essence of the literary work. I try to put myself in the author’s or character’s mind to say something about the time it was written in; the attitude that is explored and expressed; the magic that makes it a work of art.” Most of these unique editions are available (for a pretty penny) at Franklin Books. Even if you don’t have the cash, you can ogle them to your heart’s content after the jump. … Read More

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Famous Books You Didn’t Know Were Censored

Most fans of literature and free speech will be well aware that censorship (or at least attempted censorship) is alive and well in the United States. Recently, a parent objected to the un-expurgated version of Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl, calling her descriptions of her budding sexuality “pornographic.” This person is rather behind the times — those passages were originally cut because of the chance that they might offend, but reinstated later on. But Frank isn’t the only author whose raciest passages were cut before publication. Feast your mind on the following selection of books that were censored or expurgated from their original, more scandalous formats. … Read More

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