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:
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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.
People say it all the time: they’d love to get into science fiction or fantasy, but they’ve no idea where to start. If this is you (or if you’re one of those stubborn folks who looks snootily down on genre), listen up. Your trusty Flavorwire editors have a few suggestions for you — that is, a whole 50 sci-fi and fantasy novels that are well worth your time, whether you’re brand new to the concept of dragons and/or spaceships or a seasoned… Read More
“Poets don’t draw. They unravel their handwriting and then tie it up again, but differently,” Jean Cocteau once said. When examining the handwritten poems of famous authors — those made popular by their texts and several famous for other art forms — there is an unparalleled intimacy that typed words cannot convey. Many of these poems were born from spontaneous bursts of creativity or late-night meditations, unsparing and instinctive in thought. Words are ostensibly silent, but these handwritten poems speak volumes about their creators. See what poets put pen to paper and revealed their inner worlds. … Read More
Mary Shelley was only 21 years old when she published her first (and greatest) novel, Frankenstein. A small London publishing house quietly issued 500 copies in 1818 of the gothic novel about a scientist who invents a monster that vows revenge on his creator after being rejected by society. On March 11th, the book was finally publicized — to the shock and horror of many. Images of the lumbering creature have evolved and endured through cinema and literature in the 195 years since Frankenstein was born. We’re celebrating this anniversary by looking back at several vintage book covers that reveal a fascinating history of bringing Shelley’s “modern Prometheus” to life. … Read More
In case you haven’t heard, a massive storm is slated to sock the Northeast over the next two days as Hurricane Sandy, combined with a wintery cold weather system (that’s why it’s earned the seasonally-appropriate nickname “Frankenstorm”) threatens to slam into us. If you live anywhere on the East Coast or thereabouts, we imagine you’ll be wanting to stay inside for the foreseeable future, so we’ve put together an essential stormy weather reading list to get you in the hurricane mood and keep you busy while the weather rages. The lights might go out, but books don’t run out of batteries. Just don’t forget the… Read More
Today marks the release of Jami Attenberg’s The Middlesteins, a portrait of a woman obsessed with food and the efforts (or non-efforts) of her family to get her eating under control. We can say pretty confidently that the book made us never want to overeat again, and we got to thinking about the other books that make us want to give up our vices. After all, any sin you can dream up has probably been written about, usually by someone French. After the jump, find examples of the seven deadly sins in literature (whether actually deadly or just unfortunate). Indulge in a little naughtiness-by-proxy, and then let us know which sinful characters we missed in the comments. … Read More
Well, we can never get enough of poking fun at the unduly critical, can we? Last week, we shared fifteen scathing early reviews of classic novels, and some of you pitched in with some of your own favorites. We took a few of your suggestions, both here and at Metafilter, added a few more of our own, and put together a second list of a few more critics who got it wrong, this time hating on Hemingway, Tolkien, Steinbeck and more. Now don’t get us wrong — everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but that doesn’t make it any less fun to judge the past from the future. Click through to read ten more scathing early reviews of books we now consider to be classics, and chuckle over how you know better (or admit that you secretly agree) in the comments. … Read More
Halloween is a time for spooky reads, and it’s also one of those days when we feel fine with letting our standards go out the window and reading some terrible-but-amazing fright tales. But what if you want to smarten up your Halloween reading list? Can zombies, werewolves and monsters go highbrow? Why yes they can, and for those of you who prefer your chills to come in a loftier package, we’ve got you covered. After the jump, find ten highbrow Halloween reads, from everyone’s favorite Shakespearean ghost story to poetry about zombies — and since we’re already mourning the ghosts of the books we had to cut from this list, resurrect any of your favorites we missed in the comments. … Read More