William Shakespeare

Watch Your Favorite TV Characters Talking About Books

If you’ve been paying attention to this space over the last couple of months, you already know that we’re fascinated by the reading habits of our favorite fictional characters. But what’s better than a simple reading list? A little informed dialogue, of course. Or even a few well-placed snarky comments. Recently, we spotted this excellent clip of The Wire‘s D’Angelo talking about The Great Gatsby over at Open Culture, and it inspired us to round up a few more clips of some of our favorite TV characters waxing poetic about their favorite (or least favorite) books. From simple proclamations of Dr. Seuss’s brilliance to Boardwalk Empire‘s very physical commentary on David Copperfield, we love seeing books we love figure into the drama. Click through to watch — and hey, you just might learn something. … Read More

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A Google Maps Tour of Famous Authors’ Homes

Awhile back we took a virtual tour of Old Hollywood film locations from last year’s Best Picture-winner, The Artist. Because there’s nothing we love more than virtual globetrotting and literary legends, we thought we’d take a gander at some of the more notable places that our favorite authors have lived. Hey, why not? From Joan Didion’s sprawling sun drenched estate that was her beloved Quintana Roo’s first home to the narrow passage where Ernest Hemingway lived while writing his ode to Paris, click through to check out Google’s rendition of significant literary locations around the world. Then, let us know in the comments which you’d most like to visit! … Read More

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Exclusive Infographic: The Greatest Books of All Time

What are the greatest books of all time? And who should be the judge? Recently, Brain Pickings pointed out an awesome book of lists wherein 125 famous authors — everyone from Norman Mailer to Claire Messud to Annie Proulx to Stephen King — choose their ten favorite books. The book, The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books, then handily synthesizes all that info (544 works total mentioned in 125 lists) into a few important master lists: namely, the greatest books and authors of all time. Each book is assigned a value based on its position in any given list — that is, “a first-place pick is worth ten points, and a tenth-place pick is worth one point” and so on — and those numbers are then added up to give each book a ranking. We’ve collected a few of the top rankings here in an easy to digest infographic. How many have you read? … Read More

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Read the World’s Great Literature in Graphic Form

This week saw the release of The Graphic Canon, Volume 1, an epic collection of canonical literature reinterpreted in graphic form by some of the best illustrators and comics creators working today. Starting with The Epic of Gilgamesh and working through to the plays and poems of Shakespeare to Dangerous Liaisons (the 18th century French epistolary novel that inspired Cruel Intentions), the book includes tales from a remarkably wide variety of cultures — Tibetan, Incan, Chinese, Mayan, Japanese, Ancient Greek — and adapts both the classics you already know and those you haven’t discovered yet (we know it made us want to read a lot of new stuff). Volumes two and three, forthcoming from Seven Stories over the fall, will continue in a loosely chronological fashion, tackling the rest of the literary canon up through Infinite Jest, which concludes the last book in the series. Click through to see a slideshow of some of our favorite works from volume one, and let us know which ones you like best in the comments. … Read More

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Everyday Words That Were Invented by Famous Authors

The English language is ever-evolving, and in our current era of instant communication, Twitter, and text-message shorthand, it just might be evolving more quickly than ever. We’ve always been fascinated by the way words are invented and take on meaning, and the way an obscure reference can become ubiquitous in an extremely short period of time — particularly those obscure references that come from our favorite manipulators of language, books. In the interest of pursuing that idea, we decided to take a look at a few everyday words that originated in literature, from plays to poems to novels to children’s books. Click through to see our a few of our favorite literary neologisms, and if you feel the urge, add to our highly incomplete list with your own favorites. … Read More

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10 Great Books To Read Aloud

Tomorrow is World Book Night, an annual celebration dedicated to “spreading the love of reading, person to person.” Tomorrow night, tens of thousands of people all across the US, the UK and Ireland will give away free paperbacks in their communities in order to promote reading and the love of printed books. If you want to spread the love of books in a more personal way, however, we came up with another way to celebrate the evening — by having someone read a book aloud to you, or by reading aloud to one of your friends. After all, reading a book out loud to someone else is one of the best ways to truly share and give a love of reading — at least, this author got hers from being read to every night as a child (and yes, sometimes as a grown up). If you’re in Brooklyn tonight, WORD is hosting a bookish event for the occasion. If not, click through to check out our list of wonderful books to read aloud or have read aloud to you, be sure to suggest your own favorite read-aloud fare in the comments, and then share a story with someone you love tonight! … Read More

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10 Books That Would Make Great Theme Parties

We’ve been having a lot of fun with hypothetical party planning over here at Flavorpill — in the past few weeks, we’ve considered which films, albums, and TV shows would make the best theme parties. But since a party isn’t a party without Jay Gatsby’s jazzy blessing and a little bit of Shakespearean place-swapping, we had to round out the experiment with a list of books that we think would inspire the best costumes, decor, and conversation when mixed with a cocktail or two. Click through to check out the theme parties we’d throw around our favorite books, and let us know which novel you’re longing to celebrate in soiree form in the comments. … Read More

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10 of the Best Practical Jokes in Literature

As you may be aware, today is April Fool’s day — and while we won’t be playing any childish pranks here at Flavorpill, we do enjoy a good practical joke or two, especially when said joke is fictional and thus lacking in real-world consequences. Kurt Vonnegut said, “All of fiction is a practical joke—making people care, laugh, cry or be nauseated or whatever by something which absolutely is not going on at all. It’s like saying, ‘Hey, your pants are on fire.'” That may be so, but there are just as many pranksters in the pages of books as there are holding the pens — some innocent, and some not so innocent. Note: practical jokes can range in severity and style, so just so we’re all on the same page, the definition we’re working with is “a mischievous trick played on a person, especially one that causes the victim to experience embarrassment, indignity, or discomfort.” Click through to read our list of ten of the best pranks and practical jokes in literature, and pitch in with any we’ve missed — or just watch Maya Angelou punk Stephen King and Jonathan Franzen. … Read More

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Readers' Choice: 10 More of the Most Powerful Women in Literature

Recently, we compiled a list of ten of the most powerful female characters in literature, and asked you to pitch in with your own suggestions in the comments. And boy, did you oblige us! As one commenter wrote, “This should be the 50 Most Powerful Female Characters. 10 just isn’t enough.” Indeed — even 50 probably wouldn’t cut it. We were excited to see the number of different characters you came up with, and even more excited to see a shining reminder of how many incredibly strong women exist in literature, so we decided to publish a second list with some of the most often (and most fervently) recommended female characters. The beauty about the vast world of literature is that different people are inspired by different things, so everyone gets to have a list of their own, and some of these aren’t necessarily characters we would have picked (though some totally are), but hey — the people have spoken. Click through to see which female characters our readers picked as the most powerful women in literature, and if we still haven’t hit on your favorite, make a case for her in the comments! … Read More

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10 Classic Rom-Com Epiphany Moments

If you just saw Friends with Kids and are considering procreating with your best friend in the hope that it will awaken some latent attraction and end this tortuous search for love already, you’re not alone. But as cultural critics we feel it’s our job, no duty, to point out that although this new rom-com is wonderful and refreshing, it still employs some of the same devices as its predecessors, namely the late-game epiphany. You know what we’re talking about. The moment in which one of the leads realizes their soul mate has been in front of them the whole time. Thanks to dramatic denouement and proper timing, rom-coms have led us to believe it’s a perfectly good idea to date our sex buddies, stepbrothers, and sparring partners. Just click through some of our favorite examples to see what we mean. And as always, we invite you to share your favorites in the comments. … Read More

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