This week, NPR treated us to a list of five of their favorite heroines from the year in literature, women who “want to know things, who want to devour the world,” who “aren’t primarily defined by their desire to love or be loved — or even to be especially lovable — these are sublimely stubborn women, frequently at odds with themselves and always at odds with their times,” who are on quests. We love their list (Sontag, yes) but since they missed quite a few of our favorite literary heroines of 2012, we couldn’t help taking the opportunity to add to it. After the jump, the wiliest, wildest, most kick-ass literary ladies we fell in love with this year — check them out, and since we can’t possible cover every one, be sure to add your own favorites to our list in the comments. … Read More
Was it just us, or did the holidays totally sneak up on everyone this year? If you’re headed to a family gathering this weekend and scrambling for last-minute gifts for your relatives, don’t forget that you pretty much can’t go wrong with a good book. It’s all a matter of picking the right book for the right relative. Sound hard? Well not to worry, dearest procrastinators, we’ve got you covered. After the jump, read through our suggestions (and our second choices) for books for every member of your family. Let us know what you ended up choosing in the comments! … Read More
This year, all are agreed, was a pretty great one for books — but it was a particularly good one for debut novelists, which impressed us over and over again with their ingenuity, seriousness, and talent. This year’s debuts ran the gamut from sci-fi masterpieces to realistic war novels, with several magic-tinged worlds floating around in between. Looks like the novel/this insufferably ironic generation/reading itself isn’t a lost cause after all. Read on for our favorite debut novels of the year, and since we already had to tearfully eliminate quite a few from our list of loves, feel free to add them back on for us in the comments. … Read More
Ten years ago, Dave Eggers published the inaugural volume of his Best American Nonrequired Reading series, which has since attracted a devoted following of outside-the-box readers of all ages. It’s hard to believe the series that anthologized so many of our favorite pieces is already celebrating its tenth anniversary this month, but hey, time flies when you’re reading. Once again, Eggers and his team of student volunteers have outdone themselves, bringing together a compilation of irreverent lists, timely journalism, top short fiction, and graphic pieces representing the best of the year, kicking off with a love letter to the art of reading by Ray Bradbury, completed just weeks before his passing.
To celebrate ten years of the beloved anthology, we picked ten additional “nonrequired” reading selections that stood out to us in 2011 and beyond, all available for you to read online. While we didn’t envy Eggers and his team the task of choosing their twenty best, we embraced their idiosyncratic spirit by choosing the pieces that excited us most. This is in no way a comprehensive list, so be sure to share your favorite pieces that didn’t appear on any college syllabi or required reading lists in our comments section, and then check out The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012 when it hits bookstores this Tuesday. … Read More
A lot of people, when put on the spot, would be hard pressed to come up with a book about war written by a woman. After all, when we think of great war novels, we think of Hemingway, Vonnegut, Heller, O’Brien, Wouk, and their ilk. It makes sense: for a long time war (at least the war that took place on the battlefield) was solely the purview of men, so it stands to reason they would be largely the ones to write about it. But they are not, by any means, the only ones. Today, The People of Forever Are Not Afraid, Shani Boianjiu’s excellent debut novel about teenage girls serving in the Israeli Defense Forces, hits stands, and we liked it so much that we’ve put together a list of a few more great war books (we’ve limited ourselves to fiction — except for one cheat book) penned by women. Read through our list after the jump. let us know if we’ve missed any of your favorites in the comments. … Read More
Fall is always a huge season for the publishing industry. It makes sense: all those back to school feelings making everyone long for stacks of books to carry around, the holiday season right around the corner, beach-goers ready to read Big Serious Fiction again. But this first fall month is a particularly huge one, with a slew of modern masters (Chabon, Smith, Díaz, Rowling, Rushdie) publishing meaty books that we can’t wait to get our hands on. If you’re feeling that wistful back to school reading urge — or just looking for something to hide in the jacket of your chemistry book this fall — we’ve got just the ticket. Click through to check out our list of the books we’re most excited about this month, and let us know which ones are calling your name in the… Read More