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Literature

Fact or Fiction? 9 Unusual Author Deaths

Oliver Tearle | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Oliver Tearle

Sometimes authors don't shuffle off this mortal coil quietly or -- for want of a better word -- normally. Sometimes they meet a sticky and untimely end, and sometimes myths build up around an author's demise and we come to accept legend as fact.

Kevin Barry. Read Him.

Anne Margaret Daniel | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Anne Margaret Daniel

Two books positively straining at their bindings are in your local bookstore right now; pick them up, and you'll be glad you did.

On Teaching the Work of Alice Munro

Daniel Pena | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Daniel Pena

Alice Munro's writing, like all great writing, teaches us to be human. It engages big questions in small spaces: What does it mean to be regional? What does it mean to be Canadian? What does it mean to be a mother? What does it mean to be betrayed?

Fictional Characters We'd Hate to Meet

Dave Astor | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Dave Astor

Among the fictional characters we might want to avoid (if they somehow came to life) are murderers, liars, hypocrites, busybodies, racists, male chauvinists, militaristic men, rotten bosses, the money-obsessed and people who are just plain boring.

Bizarre Love Triangle: Me, Murakami and The Great Gatsby

Kalliope Lee | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Kalliope Lee

Murakami's books have for me served as a commentary on Gatsby. I read his work as if with a Gatsby divining rod, alert to allusions embedded in his narratives, which confirm my understanding of the classic.

How George Saunders Helped Me Find My Intellectual Life

Larissa Zimberoff | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Larissa Zimberoff

But for some, for many just a bit older than I, there was really real programming in the form of The Dick Cavett Show: live television that featured the great literary and cultural personalities of the time.

Deleting Tolstoy

Carl Pettit | Posted 12.08.2013 | Comedy
Carl Pettit

Tackling Tolstoy was an emotional, as well as a financial investment. Even if you couldn't wade through the hefty prose, that beautiful hardback edition would display prominently on your oak bookshelf, right next to your edition of Finnegans Wake, by James Joyce.

How to Enjoy Your Shutdown!

Rob Hiaasen | Posted 01.23.2014 | Comedy
Rob Hiaasen

What better time to look for another job than when you have been inhumanely shut out of your current job and your spirits have been harpooned?

Dissident Gardens: An Interview with Jonathan Lethem

Aimee Pozorski | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Aimee Pozorski

I had known, of course, about the influence of Philip Roth on Lethem, but I had not considered until recently the influence of Ralph Ellison's 1952 masterpiece, Invisible Man.

A Palliative to Obamacare Discord

Joseph Cooper | Posted 11.24.2013 | College
Joseph Cooper

These stories (I'm sure there are others) make vivid the embarrassments and fears of patients; their efforts to deal with deterioration, endure pain, and cope with unhinging and detachment. The reader, the viewer, and the re-reader can take cues from caregivers who ease the way to acceptance.

Fictional Characters We'd Most Like to Meet

Dave Astor | Posted 11.26.2013 | Books
Dave Astor

Some of the best novels have very believable protagonists, so it almost seems sort of/kind of possible to meet them. One of the pleasures of reading is immersing ourselves in a fictional world to the point where we can imagine being part of that world -- at least as a fly-on-the-wall.

This Movie Is Paul Thomas Anderson Meets Thomas Pynchon Meets J.D. Salinger

Bernard Radfar | Posted 11.24.2013 | Entertainment
Bernard Radfar

Now that we know a little too much about Salinger, will the real Thomas Pynchon please step forward. It is time, Tom. I get it, the work is the message, the gift.

A Bad Week for America's Invisible Men and Women, and for Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

Lester & Charlie | Posted 11.23.2013 | Politics
Lester & Charlie

Recently, Congress decided that cutting $40 billion from the food stamps program would be a good idea. After all, that budget works out to a whole couple of bucks a day for a portion of the 40+ million Americans living below the poverty line.

Literature, What Is It Good For?

Evan Gottlieb | Posted 11.23.2013 | Books
Evan Gottlieb

Recently, there has been another outbreak of public debate regarding what value, if any, the teaching of the liberal arts in general, and literature in particular, stills hold for college students.

Literary Monogamy and Polygamy

Dave Astor | Posted 11.12.2013 | Books
Dave Astor

For a number of years, liking a novel by a certain author set me off on a binge of consecutively reading other books by the same author. It made sense. If you love one fictional work by an author, there's a good chance you'll at least like another.

Meaningful Work in The Pale King: In Memory of David Foster Wallace, Five Years On

Christopher Michaelson, Ph.D. | Posted 11.10.2013 | Books
Christopher Michaelson, Ph.D.

That point is the solace the author left behind for us, as we mourn the fifth anniversary of Wallace's untimely passing with the recognition that no more new words from him are forthcoming.

Coraline, by Neil Gaiman: The First Decade

Anne Margaret Daniel | Posted 11.09.2013 | Books
Anne Margaret Daniel

A generation of children has now grown up with, and cherishes, this story of an intrepid, likeable little girl named Coraline Jones, at the end of her summer school holidays in East Sussex, not so long ago.

A Glorious Voice-Seamus Heaney

Lorie Karnath | Posted 11.09.2013 | Arts
Lorie Karnath

hen the world lost Seamus Heaney, so departed among its most glorious of voices. While the gift of his written voice will continue to live on indefinitely, the expressively inspiring tones of the poet's physical sound have sadly been extinguished.

"All Writers Are Egomaniacal, Manic Depressive, Drug-Addicted Alcoholics"

The European Magazine | Posted 11.06.2013 | Books
The European Magazine

For bestselling author T.C. Boyle, writing is both an obsessive-compulsive behavior and the highest thing he can aspire to. He talked with Max Tholl to discuss the educative purpose of art, teaching creativity and the deepest desires of human nature.

Chevy Chase Is Having The Worst Luck

Posted 11.05.2013 | Comedy

He's Chevy Chase, and you're not. And if that means that you're able to read classic works of literature without the books attacking you, you're proba...

Seamus Heaney: Words of Comfort

Anne Margaret Daniel | Posted 11.04.2013 | Books
Anne Margaret Daniel

His family and friends are in mourning for Seamus Heaney, who died in Dublin on August 30. They are joined by a world of acquaintances and admirers, both known and unknown to Heaney himself, whose grieving is for the poet and the man -- if those could be separated.

Fall Into Reading With These Shiny Apple Picks

Kim Michele Richardson | Posted 11.03.2013 | Books
Kim Michele Richardson

Looking for Me draws us into the complexity of finding love, hope and redemption amidst crushing family obstacles. A moving read about finding the jewels amongst the cast-offs of life's heartbreaks.

Why Poetry Makes Sense: An Interview With Stephen Burt

Laura Cococcia | Posted 10.31.2013 | Arts
Laura Cococcia

Stephen Burt and I discussed the instructive and useful nature of poetry: how it's a vehicle for self-expression, a valuable means of understanding the world and a resource that is written for an infinite set of audiences.

Readers Live for That Occasional Transcendent Novel

Dave Astor | Posted 10.30.2013 | Books
Dave Astor

A book that's transcendent for one reader might not be transcendent for another. Still, the hope of finding novels we personally consider extraordinary is one of the draws of loving literature.

Roots of California Bohemia Lurk in a Hollywood Alley

Lionel Rolfe | Posted 10.27.2013 | Books
Lionel Rolfe

Maybe a block or so away from Paramount Pictures, deep in Hollywood, there's a short alley, La Vista Court, which is a real nexus of California bohemianism. It contains an unusual building with a bas relief of the great, bohemian writer Jack London.