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11 Unforgettable First Lines in Literature

Off The Shelf | Posted 08.28.2015 | Books
Off The Shelf

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then the first line is the window to the book. A first line can drag you in, shock you, confuse you, or touch you. A first line is what makes you read on. Here are some of our favorite first lines that set the tone for some incredible books.

The Mysterious, Anonymous Author Elena Ferrante on the Conclusion of Her Neapolitan Novels

Vanity Fair | Posted 08.28.2015 | Books
Vanity Fair

BY ELISSA SCHAPPELL "I prefer to think of myself as being inside a tangled knot; tangled knots fascinate me." The Community Bookstore in Park Slop...

The Mysterious, Anonymous Author Elena Ferrante on the Conclusion of Her Neapolitan Novels

Vanity Fair | Posted 08.28.2015 | Books
Vanity Fair

BY ELISSA SCHAPPELL "I prefer to think of myself as being inside a tangled knot; tangled knots fascinate me." The Community Bookstore in Park Slop...

The Mysterious, Anonymous Author Elena Ferrante on the Conclusion of Her Neapolitan Novels

Vanity Fair | Posted 08.28.2015 | Books
Vanity Fair

If readers of Ferrante's three previous Neapolitan novels wonder which one of these women was the brilliant friend, the end of The Lost Child leaves no question. This is Ferrante at the height of her brilliance.

The End of the Tour Fails to Capture the Energy of its Subject

Michael Darer | Posted 08.25.2015 | Books
Michael Darer

Wallace and his work (Infinite Jest in particular) have been formative and dear to me in a way that's difficult to express without sounding disturbed. Wallace's prose is absolutely singular, combining brilliant playful formalism, gleeful trivia and an unabashed devotion to raw sincerity.

A Timeless Beach Read to Treasure and Savor

Off The Shelf | Posted 08.25.2015 | Books
Off The Shelf

Writers come and go with new generations. Young readers today might not know Rosamunde Pilcher. But her books remain as timeless as the classics. I treasure all her books, but The Shell Seekers is her masterpiece. Do yourself a favor: pick up a copy and savor every word.

Cook Like Hermoine Granger and 11 Other Ladies of Literature

Food52 | Posted 08.21.2015 | Taste
Food52

I love throwing dinner parties, but preparing for them can be insanely stressful. I find that it helps to organize them around a specific theme--the more specific, the better. This menu here is inspired by some of my favorite heroines in literature.

Parenting and Print: Defending the Traditional Bedtime Story

Nick Fouche | Posted 08.14.2015 | Books
Nick Fouche

In my experience, encouraging a relationship with books assists in communicating to children the idea of literacy as an invitation to that exciting 'effort' and 'quest' which can also be an adventure in itself.

Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Parenting, Goodnight Guilt: How To Be A Better Parent Than You Have Ever Been

Margaret Hession | Posted 08.13.2015 | Parents
Margaret Hession

To somehow yoke the term parenting with the concept of an obstacle course of terrors seems somewhat frightening, and honestly an unlikely partnership of sorts. And yet, ironically, this description actually comes close to describing the profound mystery of parenting Americans are faced almost every day.

Summer Reads

Poetry Foundation | Posted 08.07.2015 | Books
Poetry Foundation

As much of the country remains in the clutches of a heat wave, we find ourselves daydreaming of languorous, leisurely activities. For us, that always includes reading.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's Short Story Temperature

Anne Margaret Daniel | Posted 08.06.2015 | Books
Anne Margaret Daniel

The manuscripts, and finished typescript, for F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1939 short story "Temperature" have rested quietly at Princeton University for many decades.

A Watchman Sets a Mockingbird Free

Michelle Blair Wilker | Posted 08.03.2015 | Books
Michelle Blair Wilker

With the recent discovery and publication of Go Set a Watchman we are faced with disillusionment of our first fictional love, but we have earned clues into the writing process of a literary genius and opened up a much-needed dialogue about literature and race relations.

Beautiful Ruins: A Wildly Imaginative Work of Art

Off The Shelf | Posted 07.28.2015 | Books
Off The Shelf

I don't think it is much of a stretch to say that narrative voice is the single most important element in fiction.

Black 'Harry Potter' Characters Aren't Just Beautiful -- They're Revolutionary

The Huffington Post | Zeba Blay | Posted 07.28.2015 | Black Voices

There's an unspoken rule in literature: Characters are white unless explicitly described otherwise. Take, for example, Hermione Granger from H...

If I Were Writing the Great American Novel

Dan Truong | Posted 07.27.2015 | Books
Dan Truong

If I were writing the Great American Novel, I would be white. If I were writing the Great American Novel, I would be 10-20 years older. If I were writing the Great American Novel, I would not look at the Wikipedia page for the Great American Novel daily, as if it held some sort of great and terrible secret that would tell me exactly what to write and how to write it.

Learning to Write in Hemingway's Spain

Jane Cutler Yepez | Posted 07.27.2015 | Arts
Jane Cutler Yepez

In an attempt to heal my broken heart, I cast about for ways to fill the empty days that had once been spent with a beloved companion. I searched for activities that were meaningful, or at least distracting.

What Novels Teach Us About Life

Omer Aziz | Posted 07.24.2015 | Arts
Omer Aziz

The irony of novels is that they are dressed-up lies with one crucial caveat: Unlike most lies, novels attempt to reach some fundamental truth of the kind our mostly inconsequential and barely-factual newsfeeds could never match.

13 Pretty "Shimmer-Words" to Make You Sound Cooler

Lulu Salavegsen | Posted 07.24.2015 | Education
Lulu Salavegsen

The only thing that creates a similar eruption of discovery-joy and elation to my finding a book that finds me and the excitement and anticipation to read it is...

Happy Birthday, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald

Anne Margaret Daniel | Posted 07.24.2015 | Books
Anne Margaret Daniel

Despite strife and money troubles, illness and depression and The Great Depression, their honeymoon went on for the next twenty years. If you don't believe that, just read Scott and Zelda's letters to each other.

Want to Fight Anti-Latino/a Prejudice?: 5 Reasons to Bring the Community into the Classroom

Marisel Moreno | Posted 07.24.2015 | Latino Voices
Marisel Moreno

One of the most powerful ways to combat racist and negative stereotypes about U.S. Latinas and Latinos, or any group for that matter, is to be armed with actual facts and data, and to use that information to engage others in learning about and interacting with that particular community.

Gandalf, Merlin, or Dumbledore: Who Was the Greatest Wizard?

Quora | Posted 07.24.2015 | Books
Quora

Dumbledore is the most powerful by a country mile for the simple reason that magic has changed as the world has changed, so what might have seemed like a big deal in 600 A.D., or even 1954, does not seem like a big deal now, and J.K. Rowling wanted to "wow" her audience.

What if it's not About Atticus?

Kristine Holmgren | Posted 07.23.2015 | Books
Kristine Holmgren

If you are reluctant to read Watchman because you love Atticus, get over yourself. This best-seller is not about an old, white man. It's about a strong, iconoclastic, brilliant woman -- powerful and caring.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, on Native Grounds

Anne Margaret Daniel | Posted 07.20.2015 | Books
Anne Margaret Daniel

I've been to Ireland many times before, but never to Waterford. Fitzgerald brought me here -- and to the Irish sides of his family, both the McQuillans and the Fitzgeralds, I'm grateful.

World Is Inchoate Without Iran: A Plea to U.S. Congress

Liaquat Ali Khan | Posted 07.20.2015 | Politics
Liaquat Ali Khan

I respectfully plead that Congress debate the agreement in a balanced and historically-informed manner. Iran is a sophisticated country. The Iranians are a creative people who have lot to offer in the fields of literature, arts, religion, medicine, architecture, and commerce.

For Novelists, Success Is Not Monetary

Steven Petite | Posted 07.17.2015 | Books
Steven Petite

We live in a world where success is considered to be directly correlated to the amount of commas in a person's bank account, and to some degree, success and monetary returns are tangentially related.