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Literature

In Praise of Pre-19th Century Literature

Dave Astor | Posted 02.19.2014 | Books
Dave Astor

Great pre-1800s literature is interesting for reasons in addition to the quality of the work itself. For instance, we see the roots of -- and influences on -- later fiction. We also get a fascinating sense of long-ago life.

Going Public

Carl Fillichio | Posted 02.18.2014 | Books
Carl Fillichio

When we started the Books that Shaped Work in America project, we said that the list, like work in America, was constantly evolving, and that the list would grow based on suggestions from "the public."

Amy Tan's Valley of Amazement and Sex You Don't Want

Audrey Wang | Posted 02.18.2014 | Books
Audrey Wang

I have a complicated relationship with Amy Tan. Reading The Joy Luck Club as a pre-teen, I didn't really relate to the chess-playing genius or the woman stuck in her unhappy marriage, but I thought the overwrought story important for delving into the turbulent, painful history of China

Lucy Grealy, a Friend Remembered

Michael Hafftka | Posted 02.15.2014 | Arts
Michael Hafftka

She died on my birthday and I still feel guilty I was not there to stop her, to have that one conversation that might prevent her from going to extremes.

The Interview as Cruising Ground (Part 1)

Christopher Hennessy | Posted 02.11.2014 | Gay Voices
Christopher Hennessy

My interview with Koestenbaum can read, at least in some moments, like flirting, or even cruising. There's double entendre; there's performance; there's even a moment in which we cozy up over one of his books, tracing fingers over line after sexual line of poetry.

Have Yourself a Very Melville Christmas: In Which We Review Typee, An Old, Perfect Book

Bernard Radfar | Posted 02.10.2014 | Books
Bernard Radfar

It is a grand shame Typee is neglected, all that reading pleasure given away to books that may not deserve your hours in quite the same way. Even with the best readers I know I get a dumbfounded expression when I bring up Typee.

Out of the Closet and Into the Library at Age 8

Richard Alther | Posted 02.04.2014 | Gay Voices
Richard Alther

The Secret Garden cemented my love affair with books -- well, novels -- and their power primarily to shield me from nay-saying, which I came to realize much later as bulwark against internalized homophobia.

When Authors Create Title Characters of the Opposite Sex

Dave Astor | Posted 02.04.2014 | Books
Dave Astor

Do women write the best novels starring women? Do men write the best novels starring men? In many cases, yes. But while there's a lot to be said for "living the gender," there are also some great literary works featuring title characters who are the opposite sex of the author.

Indo-American Arts Council at Fifteen with Who's Who of South Asian Celebrities

Jim Luce | Posted 02.03.2014 | Arts
Jim Luce

No one in Manhattan can throw a gala like Aroon Shivdasani, and the fifteenth anniversary fete of her Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) was everything...

Why I Love (and Teach) Author Fay Weldon

Gina Barreca | Posted 02.02.2014 | Books
Gina Barreca

What gives a writer a reputation as "teachable" but not "great"? In Weldon's case, is it because her writing is forever associated with her successful television work that we're suspicious of her?

New Documentary Celebrates C.S. Lewis and the Acclaimed Author's Quest for Meaning

Juan Vidal | Posted 02.01.2014 | Religion
Juan Vidal

For many years, C.S. Lewis struggled heavily with the argument for intelligent design. "One of the things that may surprise viewers," said John West, editor of The Magician's Twin, "is just how angry Lewis's atheism could be in his earlier years."

12 Fascinating Literary Facts

Oliver Tearle | Posted 01.31.2014 | Books
Oliver Tearle

Ernest Hemingway once took home the urinal from his favorite bar, arguing he'd 'pissed away' so much of his money into it that he owned it.

The Song of Songs and a Sexual Mystery in Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose

Michael Gilmour | Posted 01.25.2014 | Religion
Michael Gilmour

The English translation of Umberto Eco's debut novel The Name of the Rose (Italian 1980) first appeared thirty years ago, and it continues to delight and surprise, even after multiple readings.

For Some Authors, What's Love Got to Do With It?

Dave Astor | Posted 01.25.2014 | Books
Dave Astor

A very frequent fiction theme is "boy meets girl." But some past and present novelists don't pay a lot of attention to romance in their most famous books.

Great Wallflowers in Literature

Maya Rodale | Posted 01.25.2014 | Books
Maya Rodale

Some of the most popular and well-known heroines of literature are the outspoken troublemakers. Think Scarlett O'Hara, Anne of Green Gables, Emma Woodhouse, Becky Sharpe or Lady Macbeth. And then there are the wallflowers.

Sins of the Father: 'Truth Like the Sun' Reviewed

Sunny Bjerk | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Sunny Bjerk

Ultimately, this novel's strength resides in its depictions of characters whose ethics and motivations occupy a liminal, grey space between good and bad, moral and immoral.

Literature for a Better World

Emily Atkinson | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Emily Atkinson

Empathy -- our ability to feel for others -- is what allows us to care for each other, to form communities and friendships, to imagine each other's feelings, to commiserate over each other's pain and share in each other's joy.

Ten 'Modern' Words With Literary Origins

Oliver Tearle | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Oliver Tearle

If you think 'totes', 'fangirl', and 'trick out' are recent idioms, then I'm here to surprise you.

Déjà Vu Can Happen to You

Dave Astor | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Dave Astor

Ever read something in a novel and feel you've read something similar in a novel by a different author? I'm not talking about plagiarism, but a variation on a scene or theme.

Marina Plans 24-Hour Reading of German Fantasy Novel

ARTINFO | Posted 01.23.2014 | Arts
ARTINFO

For 24 consecutive hours, from 2pm on November 23 until 2pm on November 24, the Marina Abramovic Institute and Basilica Hudson will hold a marathon re...

Photographer Harun Mehmedinovic Seeks the Sublime With Bloodhoney* Book Project

Michael Juliani | Posted 01.23.2014 | Arts
Michael Juliani

After some success with his short film, In the Name of the Son, Harun kept crisscrossing the country, traveling ceaselessly as he'd done since landing in the United States, taking pictures of landscapes and skies.

Surprised by C. S. Lewis Fifty Years After His Death

Michael Gilmour | Posted 01.23.2014 | Religion
Michael Gilmour

It was the relatively late work Surprised by Joy (1955) that got me hooked. Here Lewis tells the story of how the atheist became a theist and eventually a Christian.

Another-Chance-at-Love Literature

Dave Astor | Posted 12.25.2013 | Books
Dave Astor

I'm partial to novels featuring characters getting another chance at love. Those protagonists may or may not do better in their next relationship, but at least the "happily ever after" potential can put a smile on a reader's face.

Paulo Coelho Always Stays True to Himself -- a Rare Ideal

Henry Freeman | Posted 12.16.2013 | Books
Henry Freeman

His huge following on social media makes him one of the most influential authors of the present. And he's not shy to speak up and make his point clear. Now, when he saw the list of authors representing Brazil at the Frankfurt Book fair, with him leading the group, Coelho said "no." Consequences? Don't matter!

The Violent Life of a Crime-thriller Writer

Mark Rubinstein | Posted 12.14.2013 | Books
Mark Rubinstein

The potential for violence lives within all of us, and I'm no exception. Violence in my novels is contrived--it's pure fiction--but reflects a core truth about human nature. It's never meant to be gratuitous, but rather serves the story.