So, if we’re to believe David Miliband, head of an International Rescue Committee meant to prevent a full-on outbreak of the Ebola virus, we’re now at an “absolute tipping point” that could lead to “widespread disaster.” Great. With that in mind, here are ten classic novels where the unthinkable — life-slaying pandemic and endless pain — is thought, recorded, and written about at length. These novels will not help you deal with an outbreak of the Ebola virus, but they do pose a lot of interesting existential questions about pestilential doom. … Read More
One of the things literature does better than almost any other medium is allow us to experience another person’s quality of mind, and sometimes even inhabit it. It follows, then, that every avid reader has a favorite literary character — whether they’re beloved for dastardly deeds, tough-girl antics, sex appeal, or a high snark quotient — and that there are many impossibly good ones out there. Click through to find 50 of the… Read More
“I busied myself to think of a story,” wrote Mary Shelley in the preface of her classic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus. “A story to rival those which had excited us to this task. One which would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken thrilling horror—one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart.” Today marks the author’s 217th birthday. She is remembered most for her 1818 gothic tale, celebrated as one of the earliest science fiction works. Shelley’s story has inspired dozens of adaptations. We revisited a few of our favorites. … Read More
Everyone could use a bit of advice now and then. But what if you’re the type who eschews all human contact and prefers to converse only with characters in your books? Well, er, then even they might not be able to help you. All kidding aside, as any avid reader will know, many of the great works of literature are filled with wisdom, which you could do worse than to take to heart — especially in these back-to-school weeks, a time when a little extra advice can always help. Here, you’ll find a few nuggets of humanhood as doled out by literary (read: fictional!) characters who know a thing or… Read More
Picture it: teenage Mary Shelley was on a vacation getaway, with her husband Percy and some of his rambunctious poet friends, like that rogue Lord Byron… and out of the group of legends, it’s Shelley herself who arguably published the greatest work of all at the ridiculous age of 30: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, a book that has penetrated our human consciousness. In honor of Shelley’s birthday this month, here’s a list of 25 other writers who created heartbreakingly beautiful work before they could get a discount on a rental… Read More
Springtime can make even the most devoted of readers a little bit antsy. After all, there are flowers to smell, puddles to jump in, fresh love to kindle. You still want to have a novel in your pocket — just maybe one that doesn’t require quite so epic an attention span. Never fear: after the jump, you will find 50 incredible novels under 200 pages (editions vary, of course, so there’s a little leeway) that are suitable for this or any… Read More
In honor of Valentine’s Day, Flavorwire is deconstructing a few famous pop-culture romances. Here’s our first effort, on Mary and Percy Shelley.
You know, people present the romance of Mary and Percy Shelley as one of history’s great love stories. Possibly because it involved a sudden elopement, and sudden elopements seem so romantic in theory. But they are often just flat-out crazy in practice. … Read More
There is, of course, a very definitive list of 50 books that cover the spectrum of what scares most people — ranging from killer clowns to waking up without any limbs, possessions, haunted houses, bloodsuckers, and more. But it’s when you look past the fright factor to consider what it is about these supernatural stories that keep us coming back for more that you realize how much more there is to the recurring archetypes in horror fiction than just unshakeable fright. … Read More
Conspiracy theories: they’re as fascinating as they are maddening. For every ridiculous idea that the stoner in your life insists on telling you about every time you see him/her, there’s another theory that sounds like it could just be true. Here at Flavorwire this week, we’re investigating conspiracy theories in pop culture: yes, it’s Conspiracy Theory Week! Don’t tell the Illuminati.
There are people who spend years trying to prove certain literary myths and conspiracy theories correct, but most never quite do it. Some of those theories are hilarious, a couple are totally pointless, others are impossible to prove right or wrong, while the most entertaining ones are borderline batshit insane. These are a few of our favorites. … Read More
Here’s Mallory Ortberg at The Toast with news of one of the most wonderful literary meetings in history:
… Read More
History has reached out to you specifically and given you a gift. The gift is the knowledge that Oscar Wilde once put his hand on Walt Whitman’s knee and then they drank elderberry wine together; the gift is that the next day a reporter turned up and Whitman expounded at length on his big, splendid boy.