Philip Roth

50 Incredible Novels Under 200 Pages

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

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5 Literary Award Decisions More Questionable Than Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer

Amid all the cheers that have greeted her win, there are those who think Donna Tartt didn’t deserve the Pulitzer Prize for The Goldfinch. Some took to Twitter immediately after the award was announced to either talk about all the other books they thought were more deserving or hypothesize that the prize was an apology for past awards she should have won. Although naysayers aren’t anything new when it comes to major awards, there have been a few other writers whose awards (or lack thereof) rattled cages way more than this year’s winner, and probably for way better reasons. … Read More

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The ‘Mad Men’ Bookshelf: What Will Don Draper Read in 1969?

Few shows in television history have given their writers half as much fun as Matthew Weiner and his crew have with Mad Men. It’s why you always see so many reading lists for the show’s characters and compilations of all the books that have actually been featured on itMad Men is, at its heart, a very literary show, one whose influences are clear because its writers get to embed their favorite books into the story. Taking place in 1969, Season 7 is likely to cover world-changing events like the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, Woodstock, and the Manson Family murders (please hold your Megan death conspiracy theories), but the year was also filled with books that played a huge role in the cultural conversation of the time, and in some cases, had a lasting impact that can still be felt to this day. That’s why it wouldn’t be a surprise to see any of these book covers on the final season of Mad Men. … Read More

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10 Compelling Unnamed Protagonists in Literature

Happy birthday, Ralph Ellison. The late author is perhaps most famous for his 1952 existentialist novel, Invisible Man, which touched upon issues facing African-Americans, as told through one man’s search for his identity in New York City during the 1930s. The title spent 16 weeks on the best-seller list and won the prestigious National Book Award for Fiction in 1953. Ellison’s use of the nameless protagonist echoes themes of social blindness throughout the novel. The narrator describes himself as “invisible” in the prologue:

I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids — and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.

Sometimes misunderstood, other times preferring the cloak of anonymity, the unnamed protagonist has acted as the voice of many throughout literature. Here are ten compelling uses of the literary device. … Read More

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Made for Each Other: Literature’s 25 Most Memorable Love Affairs

Love pops its head into fiction in funny, unexpected ways. Sure, you’ve got your classic literary power couples, but it can also appear in less conventional, less obvious places. With February 14 right around the corner, we got to thinking about some of the best and most unusual examples of two becoming one in literature, and came up with these great bookish… Read More

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35 Perfect Examples of the Art of the Short Story

People can argue all day about the greatest novels, but there is never enough discussion about short story collections. In honor of the first exceptional example of 2014 — Leaving the Sea by Ben Marcus) and the fact that The New Republic is publishing short fiction again, we were inspired to come up with this list of essential collections by masters of the form and up-and-comers alike. Some entries in this canon are anthologies of an author’s complete works, while others are individual books that are perfect on their own; either way, these 35 volumes are required… Read More

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50 Essential Novels for Foodies

‘Tis the season, as they say, to stuff your face. Thanksgiving, that hallowed day of highly caloric foods and oft-tempestuous family relations, is upon us. To celebrate — or just to escape the festivities for a while — why not nourish the foodie in you with some gourmand-friendly literature? Behold, a spread worthy of kings: 50 essential works of fiction to whet your appetite, and then satisfy it, and then satisfy it some… Read More

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Flavorwire Interview: Claudia Roth Pierpont on Philip Roth’s Life, Work, and Misunderstood Women

He may have announced his retirement from writing last year, but Philip Roth has hardly vanished from the public eye; in fact, he has been more willing than ever to take part in such examinations of his life and work as a PBS American Masters episode and the forthcoming authorized biography by Blake Bailey. But New Yorker writer Claudia Roth Pierpont’s Roth Unbound might be the most interesting example for those who want to better understand Roth the writer, rather than Roth the public figure or Roth the person. Although Pierpont (who’s no relation to Roth) does examine Roth’s life, this biographical work is all in service of helping readers better understand his body of work, one whose balance of quality and prolificacy over the course of half a century remains unparalleled. … Read More

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Toni Morrison Is Still the Most Important Living American Writer

It’s that time of year when American literature fans start to wonder not only whether any American is going to take home the Nobel Prize in Literature, but if Philip Roth will finally get the one major literary award — the biggest of all literary awards — that has eluded him all these years. Even though the odds aren’t in his favor this year, a win for the retired Roth would shore up the claim that 7.7 out of 10 members of the “literati” make: Philip Roth is the greatest living American writer. … Read More

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From Jonathan Franzen to James Franco: What Your Hate-Clicks Say About You

Just when you thought it was going to be a quiet weekend, you get Jonathan Franzen talking about how modern life is rubbish and suddenly we’re all — yet again – sent scrambling to identify exactly what it was about his most current essay that got us the most riled up:
… Read More

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