Everyone knows that princesses are really lame. That is, the typical pop culture princess — all baubles and fancy dresses and complete lack of agency — is really lame. But luckily, some princesses break the mold (or even break the bones of their enemies). This week, we’ve been hearing a lot about The Princess Who Saved Herself, a book that “reinvents the princess myth” for the modern girl, so it seemed like a good time to take a look at a few other badass princesses you might not have heard of (yet). Sound the royal trumpets and make way: here come ten princesses who are the opposite of lame — some fictional, some historical, all… Read More
Patricia C. Wrede
Everyone knows that, statistically at least, girls read more than boys. But the classic, canonical growing-up books, at least in American culture, tend to represent the male experience — I’m thinking On the Road, The Catcher in the Rye, everything ever written by Bret Easton Ellis or Michael Chabon — and while these are great books, suitable for boys or girls, the question remains: where are the books for girls to grow up on? Well, they’re definitely out there, if perhaps assigned less often in schools to readers of both genders. And so I propose a Girl Canon, populated by books not necessarily for girls but which investigate, address, or represent the female experience in some essential… Read More
There’s been a lot of talk about genre in the air recently (well, really, when isn’t there?) — what it means, whether it’s changed, whether it’s even useful or important anymore. But no matter what is said, there’s still that lingering stigma that keeps worthy works of genre (for clarity, we’re mostly talking fantasy and science fiction, with a little historical fiction, mystery and crime thrown in for good measure) from ascending to full classic status: being taught in high schools, appearing on all-time best-book lists, etc. Some genre novels have already crossed the border into pure classic territory — Brave New World, Slaughterhouse-Five and 1984 are all genre and established classics by any measuring stick, The Lord of the Rings is so ubiquitous and grand that it’s forced itself into the canon, and let’s not forget that Wuthering Heights is a ghost story, and so, of course, is Beloved. To add to that list, here are 25 genre novels that should be considered classics. Add even more, if that’s your desire, in the comments.
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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
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
The Internet loves nothing more than cats, but it’s rare that we look beyond the cute photos and memes to more seriously consider their place in our world. Flavorwire’s Highbrow Cat Week is an attempt to remedy that, with a series of pieces devoted to analyzing their impact on the cultural realm.
Looking for something that’s kind of like a cat video, but a little more literary? Writers have long been inspired by their pets, and particularly, it seems, by their cats. It’s not surprising then that our feline friends figure prominently in some great books, from Russian classics to YA masterpieces to that one book everyone has definitely read. After the jump, find ten of the greatest books starring kitties of every persuasion. Is this list missing your favorite? Add it in the comments.
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Yesterday, we were saddened to learn Donald J. Sobol, that the author the Encyclopedia Brown series, has passed away at the age of 87. We loved the Encyclopedia Brown books as kids, and the sad news sent us on a little trip down memory lane — but not just for Encyclopedia and Sally, for all the YA series that brought us joy as, well, young adults (and, we admit, since then). Just for fun, we’re going to look beyond the obvious choices, but rest assured that we consider The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter books, and The Hunger Games series to be among the best as well (even at the tippy top). It’s just that we think they’re so well established already that you really don’t need to see them on a list like this — you can probably just look over at your shelf. Click through to see a few of our most beloved YA (and older children’s book) series of all time, and if we’ve missed the books that made your younger self spin, please share the wealth and add to our list in the comments.
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Last month, we read a great article by Deborah Weisgall entitled The Mother of All Girls’ Books, which extolled the virtues (and “secret subversiveness” of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel Little Women. “It was Alcott’s genius,” Weisgall writes, “to fill the didactic frame of a girls’ book with her ambition — with disturbing ideas, anger, and frustration as well as her father’s inspiring and impossible striving for moral perfection, to which her mother provided a humane antidote.” Though she makes no overt claim in the article, it’s clear that for Weisgall, Little Women is the epitome of what a book for girls should be: vivid and captivating, intense but relatable, full of wisdom, and just good literature. Of course, we agree.
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One of our favorite gentlemanly blogs, The Art of Manliness, recently posted a list of their picks for the 50 best books for boys (specifically for ages 9 to 12, but really for boys of all ages). We liked it, but then we thought — what about the girls? Are we going to let our young girls be relegated to Mormon propaganda like Twilight and stories about simpering princesses? We think not! Here are our top ten choices of books for girls and young women — we have some overlap with TAOM’s list (because why should girls only read books about girls?) but we’ve also picked out some spectacular novels particularly for the young ladies. Our claim: boys will like them too. Let us know what we’ve missed — we limited ourselves to ten and we know there are lots more out there — and tell us about your personal childhood… Read More