Posts Tagged: literature
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Go Read Alice: The History of the Diary Novel

Recently I was thinking about books from my childhood like Go Ask Alice, Harriet the Spy, and Dracula. In retrospect, these books made outlandish claims to authenticity, but I bought them literally and figuratively because they included supposedly non-fictional diary pages. As a kid, books like Go Ask Alice seem like a curio, but it turns out they belong to a multi-century line of diary novels for girls that awkwardly straddle patriarchy and feminism.

Diary novels are a product of the Victorian era, with their own fully stocked canon and historically specific conventions; it’s an under-attended but significant genre. Most early diary novels were written by clergy who didn't actually [...]

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PAGE SEVEN: Picking Up Where the "Page Six Spy" Left Off

Yesterday, a "Page Six spy" delivered a report from inside the Kimye wedding. In the future, all aspirational literary references to the "Great American Novel" will be replaced by aspirational literary references to the "Page Six Spy Report." "Florence has bid arrivederci and goodbye to Kanye and Kim," wrote the spy yesterday. "Come back soon, but please, not too soon."

Bye-bye, Kimye. Bye-bye to one of the greatest Italian vocalists of all time. Bye-bye to the golden toilet tower and the marble nudes that weighed half a ton. Bye-bye to the lone spotlight that landed on Kim's crotch. But most of all bye-bye to the 50-year-old woman who passed out on [...]

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Thank You, Dinosaur Erotica

I would like to salute the women who created dinosaur erotica this year. Most of the very short e-books are about cave-women-type people who engage in various types of sex with dinosaurs. Not because they have dinosaur fetishes (at least not that they know of, at first! ahhhh I love it), but because they get caught in unexpected hunting situations, etc. (putting aside that people and dinosaurs didn't live at the same time. PROBABLY). For instance, the opening of Taken By the T-Rex:

Drin!! Can you guess what happens? Haha ahhhh, I just love it so much. I love it, I love it; it deserves the Pulitzer Prize. [...]

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Stone Cold Jane Austen: Diving into "Janeite" Fandom with Deborah Yaffe

Over a hundred years before Jane Austen became a pop-culture phenomenon, a literary critic dubbed her legions of devoted readers “Janeites.” Now her characters are inspiring movies like Clueless, fighting zombies, and appearing on t-shirts (Team Tilney). Austen's own image adorns everything from tea towels to iPhone cases.

Journalist Deborah Yaffe set out to explore Jane Austen fandom from the inside out, and it did not disappoint. She visited the historic sites and read copious amounts of fan fiction, to be sure, but most of the readers she meets are taking their Jane Addiction to entirely different level. Yaffe meets a literature professor whose nom de skate is Stone Cold [...]

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What Jean Rhys Taught Me About Loneliness

My father told me during my rebellious teenage years, “Just please go to college.” After a few scrapes with boys and drugs and sex, I did. I went to UCLA and studied English, where I was introduced to Jean Rhys, the Caribbean-British writer whose turbulent life was filled with lovers and failed marriages, alcoholism and poverty, trips across the continent and even a stint at Holloway Prison.

As a junior I read Good Morning Midnight, a 1938 novel in which an aging beauty named Sasha wanders Paris after an attempted suicide in a London hotel room. In one scene, she daydreams:

Perhaps one day I’ll live again around the corner [...]

9

Better Chipotle Cups

"Starting Thursday, VF Daily can exclusively reveal, bags and cups in Chipotle’s stores will be adorned with original text by [Jonathan Safran] Foer, Malcolm Gladwell, Toni Morrison, George Saunders, and Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Lewis… 'I selected the writers, and insofar as there was any editing, I did it,' Foer said. 'I tried to put together a somewhat eclectic group, in terms of styles. I wanted some that were essayistic, some fiction, some things that were funny, and somewhat thought provoking.'" -VanityFair.com

Some additional suggestions for Foer's consideration below.

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Bradley Cooper Reviews Paradise Lost

“Milton, bro? Milton. Fuckin’—that was the end of it. Motherfucker’s 57 or whatever, blind, dictating it to his fucking daughter-nurse—Paradise Lost? I mean, I just couldn’t… That poem fucking killed me. Satan? That character was un-fucking-believable. I could taste him in my mouth, dude, reading that. I really, really, for some reason, connected with that poem.”

Bradley Cooper is on the cover of GQ this month. Does this bit make you more or less attracted to him? I honestly can't tell. Maybe if he'd said it in French? [GQ]

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The Trouble With Reader-Shaming: A Y.A. Book List

The great debate over whether grownups should read young adult literature—and further, what the nature of reading should be—has come up again, thanks to a piece in Slate telling adults they should feel ashamed about reading books for kids. The headline is particularly prickly: "Read whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children."

Swiftly, a number of smart people reacted to this piece, which is surely as was intended by its very publication (especially its prickly headline). After all, there’s a certain algorithm on the internet that has become known as a [...]

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Opening Lines of Notable Novels, Diagrammed

Can you diagram a sentence? I definitely cannot, and Madame DuMott, third grade grammar enforcer, would kill me if she knew. Pop Chart Lab went ahead and did the work for a collection of opening lines of notable novels, including Pride and Prejudice. They're nice to look at, even if sentence mapping isn't in your skill set:

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When a Man Writes a Woman

When men write women, the results are tiresome. Reading at random, you will occasionally come across a Lisbeth Salander, a Maria Dmitryevna Akhrosimova, or a Ma Joad, a character with interiority and what feels like her own life off the page. Far too often, though, when you open up a book by a male writer—even a good male writer, and occasionally even a great male writer—you encounter ladies who are a variation on one or more of four themes: virgin, whore, mother, bitch. Sometimes, the ladies begin as one (usually "virgin") and progress through the others by the end of the book, because character development! Emma Bovary holds the distinction [...]