Zadie Smith

Listen to 15 Literary Icons Reading Their Own Work

One of the most important experiences you can have with your favorite author is to hear them read aloud from their works. But many of us will never get the chance to see our most beloved writer in the flesh. So, after the jump is a collection of 15 writers — some alive, some long gone — reading their own words (all fiction, with the exception of William Faulkner, whose Nobel Prize speech is included because it’s now often taught alongside his novels and stories, and Joan Didion’s memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking).  … Read More

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10 Authors on James Joyce

Happy birthday to literature’s modernist master, James Joyce. Writers are still finding devastatingly beautiful ways to describe the impact that the Ulysses author continues to have on their work, paying homage to one of the most innovative writers of the twentieth century. Here are ten authors on the Irish novelist’s work, life, and enduring influence. … Read More

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What 10 of Your Favorite Cultural Icons Were Up To in College

Thanks to BuzzFeed’s entertaining roundup, we’ve discovered Mindy Kaling’s college comic strip, Badly Drawn Girl. A shrewd look at the facts of coed life, from frat bros to dining hall food, it’s a peek at what Kaling’s comic sensibilities were like long before she wound up in The Office‘s writers’ room. Other cultural notables have had their fair share of cool college projects, too. We took the liberty of looking up what some of our favorite famous people were up to while they were still living in dorm rooms. … Read More

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Literary Snobs: A Ranked Taxonomy

2013 is going out with a bang of literary snobbishness. The latest round comes via John Gallagher at The New Republic, railing against “Hollywood DFW” and the “terrible, terrible idea” of Jason Segel portraying the late David Foster Wallace in a film adaptation of David Lipsky’s Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself. He just can’t imagine such a thing as Saint Wallace being portrayed on screen, especially by an actor mostly known for his comedic roles. How dare they get an funnyman to commit this act of literary sacrilege! Exposing people to Wallace’s work who might have otherwise never known about it? Seriously, just who do they think they are? … Read More

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50 Books That Define the Past Five Years in Literature

Five years ago this month saw the publication of Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 in English. The book topped almost every year-end list and signaled a shift in literary tastes, creating larger audiences for works in translation, historical storylines, and narrative complexity. Between the uncertain future of the publishing industry, the rise of indie presses, new literary magazines, and the Internet and ereaders, the years that followed were bittersweet for the book industry but also a unique and fruitful time for readers. The following 50 books provide several clues as to why that is, and also give a glimpse into the future of… 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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Jonathan Lethem’s ‘Dissident Gardens’: In Praise of Authors Who Aren’t Afraid to Geek Out

When I tell people that Jonathan Lethem’s latest novel, Dissident Gardens, is the author’s most accessible work, I tend to walk away from the conversation thinking I did the person I was talking to, and the author, a disservice. The book isn’t less engaging or a step down from his previous works; what I mean is that Dissident Gardens is Lethem’s easiest novel to follow, and far less genre- and culture reference-dependent than past novels like Chronic City (science fiction) and Motherless Brooklyn (postmodern detective novel). … Read More

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The 50 Greatest Campus Novels Ever Written

No matter how old you are, the back-to-school season holds a certain kind of allure – be it nostalgia for scholarly tradition, the crisping of the days, a Pavlovian need to buy books, or just the satisfaction that you don’t have to be in class ever again. If you’re looking to indulge yourself without the schoolwork, you may take pleasure in another hallowed tradition: the campus novel. That is, books concerning the lives of students, professors, and miscellaneous academics, generally in or around a college. Here are 50 of the… Read More

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Scenes From the Forthcoming East Coast-West Coast Literary War

What do the Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord and the assassination of Franz Ferdinand have in common with a New Republic piece written by Marc Tracy? Hopefully nothing, but the title, “The L.A. Review of Books Declares War on the N.Y. Review of Books,” suggests that the piece could be the earliest document of a literary war between the coasts that will rival the Tupac and Biggie feud of the 1990s.

Since we at Flavorwire are peaceful East Coast citizens who love taking trips out to California without fearing any type of bodily harm, we present this timeline as a cautionary tale of what might happen if what Tracy perceives as aggression on the part of the scrappy upstart Los Angeles Review of Books against the venerable New York Review of Books escalates.  … Read More

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