Summertime is upon us: sticky subway rides, backyard barbecues, and a general lack of solid television. You should be outside anyway! I know, hilarious. But instead of binge-watching something old on Netflix, why not binge-read a great book series? You’ll get all the enjoyment of sticking with characters for hours and hours, through complicated, folding plots, and you can make it so Hugh Dancy plays every role (what do books look like in your mind?). Plus, you know, you can totally read these outside. Here are 25 awesome literary series to read this… Read More
One of the most influential and essential American literary publications will return to readers after a long hiatus. Today it was announced that Evergreen Review, the longtime project of storied editor and publisher Barney Rosset (who passed away in 2012), will return in a partnership with the independent publisher OR Books. The joint venture will bring Evergreen’s properties — including titles by Samuel Beckett and Marguerite Duras — under the management of OR’s innovative direct-to-consumer publishing model.
… Read More
Not so much into March Madness? Well, perhaps you should look at it another way. March is the perfect month for reading books about madness — it is a transitional time, after all, possessed of both lion and lamb. Plus, you’ll have ample reading time, both outside and inside. The books herein, it should be noted, are those that deal with a kind of literary madness — obsession and absurdity and hallucination — not directly focusing on mental illness proper, whenever the two can be separated. So you won’t find The Bell Jar or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or The Yellow Wallpaper here, though those are all excellent… Read More
Literary biography is a hugely significant, if often overlooked, enterprise. Today, much of what we know about the authors we admire is filtered through an ocean of online mini-biographies, nearly all of which are copies of copies. The original source of an enormous amount of this information is the literary biography, and in the case of most authors, there are precious few examples of such books. Even exceedingly famous authors are gifted only a handful of quality biographies. With this in mind, I’ve come up with a list of 50 essential literary… Read More
The Samuel Beckett we’re taught in America is solitary, dryly humorous, and existentially distressed: basically, he’s an absurdist playwright from a Charlie Kaufman movie. Beyond this, we may know him as a writer of unerringly spare and despairing prose — of the sort that literally gives Salman Rushdie a headache — or as James Joyce’s assistant, or as the guy who drove Andre the Giant to school each day. But we do not, generally speaking, appreciate him as poet. This is regrettable, not only because Beckett began his career as a poet in Paris — and continued writing poetry for the rest of his life — but also because his poetry strips down and by some means intensifies the qualities that imbue his drama and novels. And by this I mean that Samuel Beckett’s poetry wrests a negative infinity out of words without appearing to do much of anything at all.
… Read More
Everyone could use a bit of advice now and then. But what if you’re the type who eschews all human contact and prefers to converse only with characters in your books? Well, er, then even they might not be able to help you. All kidding aside, as any avid reader will know, many of the great works of literature are filled with wisdom, which you could do worse than to take to heart — especially in these back-to-school weeks, a time when a little extra advice can always help. Here, you’ll find a few nuggets of humanhood as doled out by literary (read: fictional!) characters who know a thing or… Read More
We’d like to wish avant-garde icon Samuel Beckett a happy birthday, but something tells us he’d take issue with that. Beckett’s words are tender blows to the heart — superbly morose, always acerbic, and unrelentingly pessimistic. The novelist and playwright had a lot to say about the absurdities of modern life and the tragicomic nature of human existence. Taking quotes from his prolific oeuvre and other sources, celebrate Beckett’s birthday by revisiting his thoughts on the boredom and suffering of being.
… Read More
Happy birthday to literature’s modernist master, James Joyce. Writers are still finding devastatingly beautiful ways to describe the impact that the Ulysses author continues to have on their work, paying homage to one of the most innovative writers of the twentieth century. Here are ten authors on the Irish novelist’s work, life, and enduring influence.
… Read More
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
Over the weekend, Vol.1 Brooklyn pointed us towards a delightful collection of never-before-seen photographs of Ernest Hemingway as a teenager, in all his handsomely smug glory. Inspired, we took it upon ourselves to dig up a handful of snapshots of other legendary authors in those awkward (or not so awkward, as the case may be) teenage years, before they penned the words that made them… Read More