Last Friday, Jessica Roake over at Slate lamented the fall of Holden Caulfield in the esteem of modern teenagers — “The problem is that Catcher in the Rye is no longer a book for cool high school students,” she writes. “Catcher in the Rye is a book for cool high school teachers.” A host of factors have added to the books current lack of cool, the most important probably being its ubiquitousness on modern high school syllabi — how can something truly feel underground, transformative, if your teachers are assigning it?
“The perfect teenage book should feel like it’s being passed around secretly, its message too raw and powerful for adults to understand,” Roake explains. “It should inspire highlighting and ponderous margin notes that embarrass you 20 years later. Most of all, it should feel like it’s speaking directly to you, and only you, even if everyone else in your class is working on the same essay question.” We totally concur, and after the jump, we’ve put forward ten novels that we think might just have the chops to replace our beloved Catcher in our collective teenage imaginations. But then again, maybe nothing will ever replace it. Click through to check out our list, and if you don’t see your favorite, add and argue in the comments.
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This week saw the release of Paul Auster’s second memoir, Winter Journal, wherein he turns his eye from the portrait of fatherhood he explored in The Invention of Solitude to his mother’s life, and her death, and the ever encroaching inevitability of his own death. Inspired by this new and deeply affecting work by one of our greatest contemporary authors, we started thinking about our favorite literary memoirs, from the contemporary to the classic, those that suck us in and leave us gasping for breath as well or better than any novel. Click through to see the books we chose, and if we’ve missed your own favorite, make a case for it in the comments — we can always use another book to read!
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We’re not sure why it seems so hard to adapt a memoir to the big screen. Though hundreds of movies made each year are adapted from novels and short stories, relatively few are built from memoir — despite the fact that the form has been at least as popular as novels in the last two decades, and may be more beloved by the general public. So why are there so few memoir-to-movie deals? And why are the ones that do exist often not very good?
After seeing the film adaptation of Nick Flynn’s great memoir Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, slapped with the anesthetized title Being Flynn, Slate‘s David Haglund wonders “if memoirs simply lose too much in the conversion from first-person prose to a medium in which genuinely first-person narration is very difficult to sustain.” It’s true — film is a third-person medium, not perfectly suited to portraying interior life. Plus, while we might slog through a poorly written novel on account of a ripping story, for us at least, a successful memoir has to rely even more on great line-by-line writing — a really beautifully written one can get us to care about the writer’s most petty grievances — and that may be difficult to translate to film. While the reviews of Being Flynn are mixed so far, we got to thinking about the few really great films adapted from memoirs. Click through to see our picks, and let us know if we’ve missed any of your favorites — or why you think the form is so hard to adapt — in the comments.
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With summer comes sunshine, idle afternoons, and book lists meant to fill up sunny, idle afternoons with reading. We decided to make a one-stop location — a list of lists, if you will— to help navigate your page-turning adventures this season. Expect a radiant dose of business, politics, education, and pure pleasure to accompany your beach blanket and sunscreen. Leave a comment with a link — or just a few suggestions — if you’ve a summer reading list you’d like to share.
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Stephen Elliott’s new book The Adderall Diaries: A Memoir of Moods, Masochism, and Murder expertly weaves together the story of the author’s writer’s block (a byproduct of his relationship with his abusive father) with the trial of Hans Reiser — a computer programmer accused of murdering his wife, Nina. The linchpin: Sean Sturgeon, Hans’ former best friend, Nina’s former lover, and a former member of San Francisco’s underground S&M scene. Now a born again Christian, he claims to have committed eight and a half murders. Could this be one of them?
Elliott decides to write a true crime book and begins to obsessively follows the case. He realizes that there are some interesting parallels with his own past, and the project becomes an Adderall-fueled creative marriage between the two. After the jump, Elliott talks to Flavorpill about the act of writing, the problem with assuming motive, and the current state of things with dad.… Read More
Today at Flavorpill, we experienced The Final Four Of Everything. We were as disgusted as the A.V. Club at the prospect of an American Gladiators movie. We grabbed the new Animal Collective song, “Bleed,” and then checked out Rihanna’s comeback track, “Silly Boy.” (No, we weren’t juxtaposing these for irony, but… Read More