Toni Morrison

Fascinating Photos of Famous Authors as Teenagers

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

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25 Writers on the Importance of Libraries

British children’s author Terry Deary — best known for his Horrible Histories series and controversial chatter about the nation’s school systems — told the Guardian he thinks libraries “have had their day.” He’d prefer that people buy their books instead of borrowing them, claiming that “books aren’t public property.” Deary added, “Authors, booksellers and publishers need to eat. We don’t expect to go to a food library to be fed.” The cranky comments feel like a swift kick in the teeth since libraries around the world are struggling against significant budget cuts each year, and authors have been tirelessly advocating for their importance. We gathered a few passionate statements from 20 writers that emphasize why libraries aren’t “sentimental” institutions. See what Neil Gaiman, Judy Blume, Ray Bradbury, and other writers have to contribute to the conversation, below. … Read More

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The 10 US States With the Greatest Love Stories

Earlier this week, we noticed this map of the country, with a literary love story assigned to each state, over at Amazon. Though the US (and the world) has no shortage of amazing novels of passion, we’re betting you don’t have time to read 50 novels during this the most romantic of months. To help you out (and in case you want to get the perfect book for that special someone this week), we’ve picked the ten states that we think have the all-time best love stories in American literature. Click through to see which ones we chose — and feel free to disagree with us in the comments! … Read More

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20 Books Every Woman Should Read in Her 20s

Recently, we stumbled upon this list of “fun” books that every woman should read in her 20s — needless to say, if you’re even a casual visitor to this space, the books (Confessions of a Shopaholic, Bitches on a Budget) aren’t exactly the ones we’d choose. So, perhaps rather predictably, we decided to put together our own list instead. Now, don’t forget, these are books for women in their 20s — we assume you’ve already read as much Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott as you care to, we expect that you’ve already tackled To Kill a Mockingbird and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Jane Eyre. And though women should read all books about all kinds of things and by all kinds of authors, this list sort of necessarily skews towards  both female writers and characters, given the topic of the day. Click through to check out our reading list — and since every woman should read more than 20 books in her 20s (hundreds, ladies!), add your own favorites in the comments. … Read More

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A Highbrow Halloween Reading List

Halloween is a time for spooky reads, and it’s also one of those days when we feel fine with letting our standards go out the window and reading some terrible-but-amazing fright tales. But what if you want to smarten up your Halloween reading list? Can zombies, werewolves and monsters go highbrow? Why yes they can, and for those of you who prefer your chills to come in a loftier package, we’ve got you covered. After the jump, find ten highbrow Halloween reads, from everyone’s favorite Shakespearean ghost story to poetry about zombies — and since we’re already mourning the ghosts of the books we had to cut from this list, resurrect any of your favorites we missed in the comments. … Read More

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10 of the Creepiest Ghosts in Literature

We know it’s not October yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t indulge in a few extra scary stories as the nights get longer and the leaves start to change. This week saw the release of The Big Book of Ghost Stories, an anthology of spooky tales starring ghouls of all descriptions, edited by Otto Penzler. Though we haven’t worked our way through it yet, we were inspired to think about the fictional ghosts who have creeped us out the most thoroughly over the years — from those inhabiting classic horror stories to those sneaking into more literary fiction. Click through to read about our picks for the creepiest ghosts in literature — and since everyone has their own specific demons to face, let us know which you’d have chosen in the comments. … Read More

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The First Edition Covers of 25 Classic Books

We try not to judge books by their covers — both proverbially and literally — but sometimes we just can’t help it. After all, the cover is your first impression of a book, and can inform the way you approach it. Plus, at least in our experience, any avid reader who carries a book wherever she goes has memories and feelings attached to it that can be instantly dredged up by a peek at the cover art. But of course, most book covers change over the years, whether minimally, correcting for modern fonts and colors, or maximally, going through radical change after radical change, each generation connecting (or not connecting) to a different design. With that in mind, after the jump, we’ve collected a few first edition covers of classic books, some of which may be familiar to you — a certain blue masterpiece will perhaps never fall out of favor — though some have been replaced by much more iconic imagery or fallen out of favor. Click through to reminisce over (or discover) 25 covers of classic books, and let us know if we missed your favorite in the comments. … Read More

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10 Quintessentially American Novels

In case you missed all the cookouts and night-time explosions, yesterday was the fourth of July, and we hope you all spent it wearing red, white, and blue and eating hot dogs on a grassy lawn. We also hope you’re not too sick of American pride, however, because in honor of our country’s birthday, we’ve compiled a list of books that we think are quintessentially American to add to your reading list. Each of these books is wonderfully representative of some slice of the American experience, though of course no country can be the same for all people at all times. Click through to check out our ultra-patriotic reading list, and since a list of ten novels doesn’t even begin to cover it, let us know which books you’d add in the comments. … Read More

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30 Books Everyone Should Read Before Turning 30

Earlier this week, we stumbled across a list over at Divine Caroline of thirty books everyone should read before they’re thirty. While we totally agreed with some of the picks, we thought there were some essential reads missing, so we decided to put together a list of our own. We stuck to fiction for simplicity’s sake, and chose the books below on a variety of criteria, selecting enduring classics that have been informing new literature since their first printing, stories that speak specifically or most powerfully to younger readers, and books we simply couldn’t imagine reaching thirty without having read. Of course, we hope that you read more than thirty books by the time you hit your fourth decade, so this list is incomplete — but we had to stop somewhere. Click through to read the books we think everyone should read before their thirtieth birthday, and let us know which ones you would add in the comments. … Read More

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Contemporary Authors We Think We’ll Still Be Reading in 100 Years

Earlier this week, we read a fascinating article over at The New Yorker that asked the question, “why is literary fame so unpredictable?” Apparently, in 1929, the readers of The Manchester Guardian were asked to vote on the authors they thought would still be read widely in 2029, and their top choice was John Galsworthy, who — though he won the Nobel Prize for The Forsyte Saga in 1932 — is now relatively unknown, or at least not very popular. The article goes on to discuss the difficulty in making predictions of literary prestige over long periods of time, noting a couple things that might give clues (a staunch but small readership of fellow authors, for one). While we concur that this kind of thing often rests on chance, fashion and unforeseeable future circumstance, we thought we’d take a stab at rounding up a few of the contemporary (read: living) authors we think we might still be reading in 100 years. Click through to see our predictions, and let us know your own in the comments. … Read More

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