Five years ago this month saw the publication of Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 in English. The book topped almost every year-end list and signaled a shift in literary tastes, creating larger audiences for works in translation, historical storylines, and narrative complexity. Between the uncertain future of the publishing industry, the rise of indie presses, new literary magazines, and the Internet and ereaders, the years that followed were bittersweet for the book industry but also a unique and fruitful time for readers. The following 50 books provide several clues as to why that is, and also give a glimpse into the future of… Read More
Say what you want about Tao Lin and his books, but not many authors can write novels that make critics go ahead and question their entire being. And no matter what you end up saying, it’s hard to not reach the conclusion that there are actually two Lins you have to deal with: Tao Lin the writer and Tao Lin the Internet personality. While the latter might be the better known of the two Taos, Lin the writer has made great strides to outpace Lin the human meme with his latest novel, Taipei, culminating with Clancy Martin’s glowing New York Times review of the book that calls it “a gigantic leap forward” and describes Lin as “a serious, first-rate novelist.” The only thing left for him to do is convince all the naysayers. … Read More
The first time I became aware of Marie Calloway was in the late Fall of 2011, when I was serving as Editor-in-Chief of The New York Observer and the paper’s media reporter, Kat Stoeffel, pitched a profile of a young pseudonymous writer who had made a name for herself on sites like Thought Catalog, Tao Lin’s Muumuu House, and via her own blog, wherein she posted stories about sex she’d had with various people she met online.
To be honest, my first thought was, meh. Since the invention of blogging there had been a parade of attractive early 20-something women chronicling their sex lives online, and after a while, the obligatory posts about one’s first threesome begin to blur together. The novelty of the scenario for the writer is not nearly so novel for the reader — and neither were the attendant hyperbolic assertions that being young and female and writing unapologetically about casual sex was a universally positive manifestation of a vibrant third wave feminism, which I thought gave the genre too much credit. Writing about casual sex in graphic terms while being young, female, and attractive was not inherently provocative anymore, nor was it particularly interesting unless it was accompanied by other factors that lent originality to the practice. … Read More
What’s better than a signed copy of your favorite book? Why, an inscribed copy of your favorite book, of course, preferably straight from the hand of your favorite author. While some authors tend to sign books with a simple “my best” or “thanks for reading,” others push the envelope a little more, and — especially with an author notorious for his or her humor — a signature seeker may be blessed with a quip, a bizarre turn of phrase, or even (the holy grail) a little doodle. After the jump, Flavorwire has tracked down a selection of famous authors’ amusing missives, drawings, and insults (produced upon request) as written in the first pages of their books. Check them out after the jump, and feel free to add your own in the comments.
This week, we caught a glimpse of author Tao Lin’s Murray Hill apartment in this cheeky review over at Vice. Though somewhat alarmed at the squalor of Lin’s digs (seriously, can you blame us?), we found ourselves inspired to hunt down a few more shots of notable authors hanging out at home. After the jump, stop by and visit with everyone from Zora Neale Hurston to Paul Auster. Whose apartment would you most like to move into? Let us know in the comments. … Read More
[Editor's note: It's Labor Day, so your devoted Flavorwire team is taking a break. To keep you entertained, we're leaving you with our most popular features of the summer months. This post originally ran June 15th.] We’ve always wondered how many people read specific books to seem cool — and how many people deftly sidestep talking about the books that perhaps cast them in a less-than-flattering light. Recently, we were tickled by an edition of Ask the Paris Review, wherein the always-delightful Sadie Stein answered the question “What’s a book I should read to make girls think I’m smart in a hot way?” by polling her friends and colleagues. The answers, of course, varied widely, proving that it sort of depends on the girl.
Though it’s good to know what to do to seem appealing to the opposite sex, it’s also good to know what not to do — that is, to know which books might send a potential mate running for the hills should they be spotted on your nightstand or peeking out from your back pocket. In the interest of seeing the full picture, we asked both men and women of various sexual orientations to share the books that they think render their devotees totally undateable. So click through to see which titles you should avoid like the plague — or at least hide in a desk drawer somewhere when you’re entertaining — and don’t forget to pitch in with the books that would make you cut and run in the comments. … Read More
This week, Laurent Binet’s HHhH, which we can safely say is blessed with one of the strangest titles we’ve ever encountered, hit shelves. Inspired by the sheer weirdness of the title (we’ll explain what it means later), we’ve compiled a list of some of the most cryptic book titles in literature, from the confusingly short to the numerically based to the grammatically incomprehensible. We’ve left out children’s books, of course — as we’re sure you’re aware, the nonsense words and silly symbols gracing their covers just are too many to count. Click through to check out our list, and if we’ve missed your own favorite cryptic title, let us know in the comments. … Read More
Yesterday marked the release of Miranda July’s newest book, It Chooses You, a quirky piece loosely tied to her newest film, The Future, which will be released on DVD November 29th. July’s style and persona has been the subject of much debate — people usually either love or hate the precious, semi-ironic, self-aware sweetness that we have come to call “twee,” and of which July is one of the most prominent contemporary examples. The reemergence of the pixie princess of literature inspired us to consider a few other authors whose work can veer into the impossibly twee. Now, don’t get us wrong — we’re not saying that twee-ness is an inherently bad thing. In fact, several of the authors on this list number among our all-time favorites in any genre, and we happen to be on team July, at least most of the time. Click through to check out our list of twee authors, or at least authors who write twee books sometimes, in between setting up tea parties for their kittens, who are all wearing argyle socks, and let us know which of them tickle your fancy in the comments. … Read More
It’s official: we’ve found our new favorite blog. Bill Ryan, a New York based book lover, is collecting insults from his literary heroes. It all started around six years ago at a book signing at the excellent BookCourt, when on a whim, Ryan asked Maggie Pouncey to inscribe his book with an insult instead of a dedication. Now, in his wonderfully entertaining blog, Insulted By Authors, Ryan documents his adventures getting insulted by – or not getting insulted by, as the case may be – his favorite authors, and displays the creatively rude missives for our enjoyment. Click through for some of our favorite insults from Ryan’s collection, but be warned – these are word people, and some of their language is quite colorful. Perhaps it is redundant to say, but the faint of heart should not read Amy Sedaris’s contribution. … Read More
Salon asked 18 authors — including Dave Eggers, James Frey, Tao Lin, and Laura Hillenbrand — to name the book they enjoyed most this year and used the results to create a fantastic slideshow. But don’t read it yet! We’ve got a little quiz for you first. See if you can match each author on the list with his or her favorite read of 2010. Highlight the blacked-out boxes under the book titles to check your answers. … Read More