2. Patti Smith will make her acting debut in an upcoming episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent that’s based on all of the Spider-Man:… Read More
It’s strange to see a TV character reading a book, since it’s such a solitary activity. But do we really expect them to reference imaginary novels in conversations in their fictional universes? Sometimes there’s a break in the narrative and the outside world comes into the story, alerting the viewer to the fact that both worlds can be fluid. This happens pretty frequently in Mad Men, where time-appropriate novels are read and discussed with bartenders, spouses, or in secret in the ladies’ lounge. (We’re looking at you, Lady Chatterley’s Lover.) Last year, we created a summer reading list of books referenced in the show. This time around, we were inspired by this Tumblr post to expand our focus to include more series, so get ready to discover what your favorite characters leaf through on a lazy afternoon when you’re not around. … Read More
Everyone knows that you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but um, we kind of do it all the time. In fact, half the fun of that anachronistic pleasure known as bookstore browsing is to indulge in that very vice — allowing certain covers or color schemes to catch your eye and draw you over to a tome you might never have picked up otherwise. That’s not to say that the covers, or even the descriptions on the back or inside flaps are necessarily good indicators of the book itself. Some cover designs achieve a perfect pairing of style and substance, some are to the point, and some are wildly off-base, inducing disgust and/or laughter when you actually read the book in question. Enter our new favorite tumblr: the delightfully witty Plausible-Seeming but Tonally Inappropriate Book Covers, in which a mystery artist (artists?) imagines possible bad book covers for some of our modern classics, complete with brilliant (and consistent, and upsetting) accolades from modern American hero Jonathan Franzen. Click through to see some of our favorites and let us know what you think in the comments. … Read More
In response to Russ Marshalek’s excellent post on devastatingly sad books last week, we’ve decided to try and lift your spirits a little during this rainy week by suggesting books that are great escapes from the incessant grind of daily existence.
Last year, Wayne Gooderham wrote a thoughtful piece in the Guardian about emerging from the fog of depression by reading Saul Bellow’s 1964 epistolary tale of Moses E. Herzog — a brilliant but broken intellectual who is constantly writing letters, many which are never sent. Gooderham writes that Bellow renders “a potentially bleak topic in such a poignant and gently humorous way” in Herzog, which is the mark of a very good book. Since we’ve always been suckers for a love story, many of the selections on our list involve affairs of the heart, although we are also inspired by political nonfiction and comedy when they are done well. As always, we realize that any list made will be contentious, so please feel free to suggest alternatives in the comments section below. … Read More
Can authors write for both kids and adults? The Guardian doesn’t seem to think so, but with this list we beg to differ. Sure, there’s some crossover in genre — as we all know, a lot of adults love Harry Potter with all the strength in their muggle bodies — but the books we’ve picked were written expressly for children, regardless of whether or not grown ups like them too, and written by authors who are primarily famous for their adult literature. You may be surprised by who has made the foray into kiddie lit — it turns out that some of the most serious authors we can think of have a warm, nougat center full of laughter and sunshine. Or something like that. Click through to see our list of children’s book written by famous “adult” authors and let us know which of your favorites we’ve missed in the comments! … Read More
In the late 1920s, newspaper columnist, reporter, playwright, and Algonquin wit Herman J. Mankiewicz moved from New York, the hotbed of American literary activity, to Hollywood. A few months later, he sent this cable to his writer friend Ben Hecht: “Millions are to be grabbed out here and your only competition is idiots. Don’t let this get around.” Sooner or later, though, it did. Since their inception, the moving pictures have offered scribes the opportunity for comparatively easy money — a few weeks’ work dashing off a screenplay or a punch-up job to subsidize the year it’s going to take to write The Great American Novel.
Yesterday’s news that Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon will take a pass at the script to Disney’s Magic Kingdom movie (in the wake of Pirates of the Caribbean, that studio will not rest until every square inch of its theme parks have been turned into films) wasn’t a huge shocker — and not just because Chabon has done previous work for Disney, or worked on the script to Spider-Man 2. He is simply the latest respected author to take Tinsel Town up on the offer of a generous paycheck. Join us after the jump for a look at ten other literary figures that did the same. … Read More
Today at Flavorpill, we were tickled by these photos of women’s basketball teams from the early 1900s — particularly the long skirts. We found it adorable that cartoonist/dad Mark Anderson spent nearly two years recreating the alphabet for his kids using LEGO spaceships. We tried (and failed!) to solve … Read More
1. Former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr — who most recently appeared on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab in 2009 — has died of unknown causes. He was 44. [via
One of our favorite underrated movies is Wonder Boys, director Curtis Hanson’s film version of Michael Chabon’s terrific novel. It’s smart, it’s funny, it’s heartwarming, and it’s got a livewire Robert Downey Jr., an understated Michael Douglas, a pre-Spider-Man Tobey Maguire, a pre-Xenu Katie Holmes, and Frances McDormand (who requires no qualifications) — and, on top of all of that, Bob Dylan’s Oscar-winning “Things Have Changed.” Yep, Wonder Boys is pretty much a perfect movie — except for one flaw. … Read More
The results are in on Central Connecticut State University’s annual study ranking the most literate cities in the United States. And guess what? Despite the literary mecca that is Brooklyn, New York doesn’t even crack the top 25. In fact, we’re pretty sure the top 10 will surprise you. But don’t worry if you’re not conversant in the literary classics of our most well-read cities. We’ve matched each with a book that’s set there. Take a virtual roadtrip through America’s most literate metropolises after the jump. … Read More