Graduation season is fast approaching, the time of the year when some of our favorite writers are tasked with summing up the wisdom to be accrued from the process of growing up in ten succinct minutes of witty truth. These days, a successful graduation speech has the very real chance of going viral, and then living forever as a book: from David Foster Wallace’s This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, About Living a Compassionate Life to Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art, the best graduation speeches are finding a new life. This crop includes the brand-new Congratulations, By the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness by George Saunders, a pretty-in-print encapsulation of his 2013 Syracuse Graduation speech. It’s reason enough to collect 30 of the best, wisest, and pithiest pieces of advice from the greatest writers to attempt the graduation …Read More
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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