We’re always on the lookout for cool pop-culture related visual art, so we can’t thank the good folks at Brain Pickings enough for drawing our attention to Israeli artist Noma Bar and his book Guess Who: The Many Faces of Noma Bar. This 2007 volume collects 50 of Bar’s minimalist vector portraits of iconic figures from the world of film, science, literature, politics, music, and more. We’ve picked out ten of our favorites from the book; check ‘em out after the jump. … Read More
Today marks the release of David Graeber’s new book, Debt: The First 5,000 Years. In this red-bound tome, Graeber explains the concept of debt and credit and the ramifications of both, except he does so in a way that is accessible for those who are in the mood to question the current global economic set up. He writes, “Looking over world literature, it is almost impossible to find a single sympathetic representation of a moneylender.” Which got us thinking about the the anxieties involved in owing debts and what we could learn from the stories of hardship and redemption below. In these tales, the debtors are to be pitied, but at times their actions can be shocking. What are some books you would add to the debt debate, dear readers? Let us know in the comments section. … Read More
After our recent roundup of 25 great parties on film, it occurred to us that movies aren’t the only medium to have depicted fantastic fêtes. So, to help you gear up for a celebratory July 4th weekend, we reached out to Flavorpill staff and readers alike to get their nominations for liteature’s best bash. With their help, we’ve come up with a list of ten great gatherings we would love to have attended. Keep the party going by adding your favorites in the comments. … Read More
Anyone who’s a fan of comedy or Tool or found themselves in a side room at a party thrown by their college’s “stoner frat” has probably heard the Bill Hicks bit that reminds us, “The musicians who made all that great music that’s enhanced your lives throughout the years were real fuckin’ high on drugs.”… Read More
You might know Diane Farr as agent Megan Reeves in the television series Numb3rs, but we prefer her in the FunnyOrDie skit, AssCastles. Farr recently released her “concept memoir,” titled, Kissing Outside the Lines: A True Story of Love and Race and Happily Ever After, where she introduces her relationship with her Korean-American husband in order to explore how other couples and their families have dealt with miscegenation issues. Though the writing isn’t stellar, the fundamental premise is a good one, since we still very much live in a racist country, despite all the “post-race” discussions we all had following the 2008 presidential election.
With this in mind, we decided to run a list of 10 controversial couples in literature. We all know the forbidden romance between Romeo and Juliet and Heloise and Abelard, but what about other works of literature that feature transgressive love? The categories are as follows: Age difference, racial difference, star-crossing, class mixing, same-sex relationships, extramarital affairs, and our favorite: sibling love. … Read More
As Virginia Woolf writes in Orlando: “Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than merely to keep us warm.” In this way, Coco Chanel was correct when she purportedly said that “fashion is not something that exists in dresses only,” as it both shapes and responds to the world around us. The fashion collections below are inspired by works of literature and the trends therein contained, whether its the sober clothes of independently-minded Jane Eyre or the tightly-laced bodices taken from de Sade’s velvet boudoirs. Or we could reverse the process as Sonia Rykiel did and pen the novel in response to the clothing. Anything goes in fashion, right? … Read More
There has been a lot of talk about books and sex in this space lately, and it’s not just because of yesterday’s holiday. Anyone who has taken English 101 knows that literature has its share of dirty old men — the lascivious, the leering, and the lewd, the men who concern themselves with the baser instincts and darker drives, the author equivalent of the creep in the corner, stroking his chin and staring at the rears of the teenagers. Herein, some of the dirtiest, most salacious and scandalous men in letters, a list of the Top 10 Dirty Old Literary Men. … Read More
In his new book All in a Word, linguist Vivian Cook examines both the history and meaning of words through an assortment of games, lists, puzzles, and quotes. Of the more than 100 entries, we found ourselves geeking out the most over #53 “Chaucer’s Words” and #68 “Majestic Radiance (Shakespeare’s New Words)”. While Cook notes in both instances that the famed writers probably didn’t invent the words listed, as much as make the first recorded use of the language around them, it’s interesting to see who’s responsible for what. Click through to check out our handy chart; we’ve even bolded some of the words that we found the most entertaining. … Read More
Puns, rhymes, and other wordplay have long been the hallmark of winning children’s lit. Treasured works like Alice in Wonderland and A Light in the Attic have proven that the deeper the rabbit hole of absurd double meanings and nonsensical tongue twisters, the better the brain candy. Next in line in this fanciful tradition is Salman Rushdie’s pun-filled boy adventure story, Luka and the Fire of Life. From Fire Bugs with heated tempers to in-console-able mothers who don’t understand video game paraphernalia, Rushdie creates an alternate universe full of doppelgangers and tellingly named distant lands that make for a treacherous journey rife with double meaning and obvious humor.
Outside the realm of children’s books, the pun as a literary technique has held a patchy reputation. Although puns today are mostly associated with their unfortunate ubiquity in porn titles and textbook humor, virtually every literary genre through the ages has employed the pun — whether for wit, flourish, or thematic exploration. Here is a list of some creative uses of the pun, and the notable highs and lows of its use as applied by everyone from bards to boy bands to The Bible itself. … Read More