Toni Morrison

The 50 Best Southern Novels Ever Written

The American South has long been seen as the focus of the country’s Civil Rights Movement, carrying with it the stigma of poverty, racism, and anti-intellectualism. Yet the region has also produced a disproportionate number of intellectuals, poets, and writers, possibly because of the complicated and layered identities each Southerner holds within him- or herself. The South has begotten some of our nation’s most important authors, including prize winners like William Styron, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Ralph Ellison, Harper Lee, and that titan of American letters, William Faulkner. These 50 novels are a reminder that the South cannot be defined solely by its failings; it is also responsible for shaping the minds of countless thinkers who offered to American literature essential insights about not only their region but the world at… Read More

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10 Creative Women Over 80 You Should Know

She’s a Broadway legend and an Emmy-winning television actress (playing Jack Donaghy’s mama on 30 Rock) — and now Elaine Stritch is the subject of a vérité-style documentary, which looks back on her colorful career. The brassy 89-year-old actress (then 87) contemplates mortality, retirement, and her domination of the stage and screen in Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me. The Chiemi Karasawa documentary raises familiar questions about career longevity and the innate compulsion to create — all of which are surely on the minds of these incredibly creative women who are also octogenarians (and a few nonagenarians). They seem unstoppable, despite what their ages would have you believe. … Read More

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Toni Morrison, Wallace Stegner, and 10 Other Fiction Writing Teachers

The discussion on whether or not it’s any help to give a university your money, or funds you don’t have that you end up borrowing, so you can sharpen your skills as a writer will no doubt be reignited in the coming days and weeks with the release of the book MFA vs NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction. In truth, it’s a discussion that was going on long before the publication of the book, and one that will probably continue for years after the book comes out. Yet the one thing that is difficult to look past is how much studying with a teacher whose books or articles you respect can actually be a boost to your own work. … Read More

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50 Novels Guaranteed to Make You a Better Person

It’s a new year, and resolutions are flying left and right. Here’s one that’s always on everyone’s mind, beginning of the year or no: how to be a better person. Well, since science keeps proving that reading literary fiction accomplishes that very fact, why not attack a novel in order to spruce up your heart and mind? Click through for 50 novels to make you kinder, cleverer, more productive, and a whole lot more open to the experience of… Read More

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The Best Quotes About Writing From Literature Laureates’ Nobel Prize Speeches

As Alice Munro’s daughter is in Stockholm today collecting her mother’s Nobel Prize for Literature — there won’t be a speech; the frail Munro recorded a podcast instead — we thought we’d offer some of quotes from our favorite Laureates of years past. Here’s a thing I noticed in compiling this list, however: a lot of Nobel lectures are pompous bores! There’s a lot of theory in them sometimes! No good, old-fashioned storytelling about storytelling. Well, except for these people, who spoke with more eloquence and fewer references to French post-structuralists. … Read More

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Toni Morrison Is Still the Most Important Living American Writer

It’s that time of year when American literature fans start to wonder not only whether any American is going to take home the Nobel Prize in Literature, but if Philip Roth will finally get the one major literary award — the biggest of all literary awards — that has eluded him all these years. Even though the odds aren’t in his favor this year, a win for the retired Roth would shore up the claim that 7.7 out of 10 members of the “literati” make: Philip Roth is the greatest living American writer. … Read More

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The Most Stylish People in Literature

Another New York Fashion Week is in the books after today. There were some highs, and there were some definite lows. Lots of pictures of celebrities looking bored while models walked past them were taken, and people tweeted things like this: … Read More

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The New York Public Library’s 7 Best Fall Programs, Ranked

Everybody loves going to the New York Public Library’s “Live from the NYPL” events. There’s something inherently attractive about watching Jonathan Franzen don a head-mic and awkwardly question Don DeLillo about his writing habits. But let’s face it: you’re not going to make it to every event this season. Work will get in the way. So you have to prioritize, and here are the seven events I’d suggest begging, borrowing, stealing, and if absolutely necessary, small acts of violence (against insects only) to attend. … Read More

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50 of the Best Books You Haven’t Read by Authors You Already Love

Looking for something to read but don’t want to stray too far from the authors you know and love? Seeking undiscovered literary gems to talk about at dinner parties? Want to delve into the backlist of a certain Great American Author? Well, Flavorwire has got you covered. After all, sometimes, amazing books just get lost in the shuffle, whether it’s because they’re before their time, fall out of fashion, or their author has one blockbuster that blots out all the rest. Click through to check out 50 great under-appreciated, under-read, and overshadowed novels by 50 of your favorite… Read More

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The First 10 Works of Fiction You Should Read If You’ve Never Read a Book Before

Recently, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver told reporters that — while he has written more than 20 cookbooks — he had never read a whole book until recently, when he finished Suzanne Collins’s Hunter Games sequel, Catching Fire. Oliver said, “I’ve never read a book in my life, which I know sounds incredibly ignorant but I’m dyslexic and I get bored easily.” Fair enough. As a kind of thought experiment, Flavorwire has picked out the first ten books that an adult who is new to reading should pick up. Quibbles or further suggestions? Add them in the comments. … Read More

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