Roberto Bolano

50 Great Genre-Bending Books Everyone Should Read

Sometimes, it seems as though the arguments about genre — be it poetry vs. fiction, fiction vs. nonfiction, literary fiction vs. SF vs. fantasy vs. mystery vs. vs. vs. — will never end. So why not just take yourself off the board entirely? After all, marketing professionals aside, does anyone really care what genre they’re reading if the book is good? After the jump, 50 genre-bending novels guaranteed to enthrall you, whether you’re a literary fiction snob or a die-hard fantasy nerd. Enjoy without judgements! … Read More

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Staff Picks: Screaming Females, Bolaño, and Ned Beauman

Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments. … Read More

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The 50 Best Independent Fiction and Poetry Books of 2014

2014 will go down as a landmark year in independent literature, chiefly because a few longstanding “trends” or “developments” are hardening into verifiable traits of fiction and poetry beyond Big Publishing. Independent poetry, in the works of such writers as Claudia Rankine and Andrew Durbin, is becoming more sophisticated in the way it encroaches upon other forms of visual and literary art. In fiction, a greater tendency toward autofictional novels of emotional maturation — typically in a cruel world — is colliding with the arriving generation’s faith in the bending of genres. The increasing confidence these writers have in their forms is beginning to show in the way they assert themselves against an older generation, sure, but it’s also showing up in the quality of the books. Plainly put: line for line, stanza for stanza, independent writing, and therefore independent publishing, is better than it was just a few years… Read More

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10 of the Most Depressing Places in Literature

After reading Tara Isabella Burton’s American Reader essay, “The Geography of Melancholy,” it’s natural to find yourself thinking about the most depressing cities, towns, and municipalities in literature. Burton points out that, in the real world, “Nearly every historic city has its brand of melancholy indelibly associated with it — each variety linked to the scars the city bears.” She also connects writers and the cities that influenced them — “Baudelaire’s Paris, Zweig’s Vienna, Morris’s Trieste.” There are many more, of course — here are a selection of other depressing places and the writers they inspired. … Read More

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50 Incredibly Tough Books for Extreme Readers

Maybe it’s a Pavlovian response to years of schooling, or that the brisk weather affords more hours inside, or something else entirely, but the fact is this: November seems like the time to take on the heftiest reading on your list. And let’s face the facts: some books are only for the toughest readers on the block, your Sylvester Stallones of literature, as it were. So for those of you who count yourself tough, here’s a list of books for you: some absurdly long, some notoriously difficult, some with intense or upsetting subject matter but blindingly brilliant prose, some packed into formations that require extra effort or mind expansion, and some that fit into none of those categories, but are definitely for tough girls (or guys)… Read More

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20 Great Works of Latin American Fiction (That Aren’t by Gabriel García Márquez)

It appears our old buddy Jonathan Franzen’s reign of terror continues.  He totally bungled an interview with Colombian writer Juan Gabriel Vásquez. Franzen said, “To me it feels as if there’s been a kind of awakening in Latin American fiction, a clearing of the magical mists,” and asked Vásquez if his wonderful new book, The Sound of Things Falling, is a reaction to Gabriel García Márquez and his peers. … Read More

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The Fascinating Stories Behind Classic Book Titles

A book title can make a big difference. After all, as much as our mothers warned us against it, as humans we can never seem to help ourselves from judging books by their covers. And some book titles — whether we’ve read the attendant books or not — are just burned into our brains, ushered in by the collective consciousness. But how did they come to be? After the jump, a few of the fascinating stories behind the titles of classic books, sprung from poems, paintings, and saloon bathroom stalls. Hey, inspiration can come from anywhere. … Read More

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10 Highbrow Books for Smart Stoners

Rejoice, habitual imbibers of the magic herb. This year, the smoke-filled 4/20 falls on a Saturday, so you can celebrate the holiday unencumbered by the work day. If you’d like to supplement today’s festivities with a little bit of quality reading but can’t bear the obvious drug-addled narratives or trippy lit, we’ve got you covered with a list of highbrow books for smarty-pants… Read More

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10 Eclectic Reading Recommendations From Amelia Gray

Earlier this month, a swarm of authors, editors, booksellers, and miscellaneous book people snuck into Boston for the annual AWP Conference, which boasts one of the biggest book fairs in the country. Our friend Amelia Gray (kick-ass Millennial writer, PEN/Faulkner award nominee, and author of the divine Threats) kept a tally of the books she picked up, loved, and was recommended, so that she could recommend them to you. Here’s what she had to say:

At the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference, which Steve Almond called ‘the vast roving capital of American literary anxiety;’ if you’re not running into that ex who is always a dick to you (‘you look like a real bitch in your author photo’), you’re in full-on faux-pas mode with table keepers who stand unwittingly (or worse, wittingly) as symbols of your current or future rejection. Happily, AWP also serves as an easy and fun place to connect with people whose work I love, a time to hang with old friends at the hotel bar, and a great place to pick up a few books. Here’s what I found. … Read More

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The Surprising Meanings of 20 Famous Authors’ Last Names

As kids, we were always fascinated by the meaning of our names — what did they say about us? What ancient history were we somehow connected to? And while we’re not so interested for ourselves anymore (as you can see, this writer has a pretty boring last name), it’s still fun to find out what other people’s names mean. Especially if those other people are famous writers, some of whom are now known only by the words that surround and come from them. To this end, we did some snooping, and using a mixture of foreign language dictionaries and online genealogy databases, we came up with the list below. Some might surprise you — but some fit like a glove. After the jump, school yourself on the meaning of 20 famous authors’ last names, and if you know of any secrets we’ve missed, add to our list in the comments. … Read More

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