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What to read

What to read. A list of lists for book recommendations, includes a compiled "Great Books" Lists with a World Literature list and lots more.
posted by stbalbach on Mar 20, 2006 - 50 comments

William Blake's Grave.

William Blake's Grave. Museums and galleries only have a few weeks left to save William Blake’s long-lost watercolour illustrations accompanying Robert Blair’s poem “The Grave”, before they are dispersed at auction in New York on 2 May.
posted by matteo on Mar 17, 2006 - 25 comments

Through All the Lousy Luck

I first read "Ask the Dust" in 1971 when I was doing research for "Chinatown". I was concerned about the way people really sounded when they talked, and I was dissatisfied with everything else I had read that was written during the '30s. I wanted the real thing, as Henry James would say. When I picked up Fante's "Ask the Dust," I just knew that was the way those kids talked to each other—the rhythms, cadences, racism.
Robert Towne on adapting John Fante's novel for the big screen. More inside.
posted by matteo on Mar 4, 2006 - 17 comments

JIHAD COLA: For the Warrior Within!

Republic World News is a fake news site promoting Robert Ferrigno's contribution to paranoid, apocalyptic literature: Prayers For the Assassin.[MI]
posted by brundlefly on Feb 23, 2006 - 25 comments

The Screw Takes a Bad Turn

The Mystery of Henry James's Testicular Injury
posted by grumblebee on Feb 22, 2006 - 32 comments

On bokes for to rede I me delyte ...

TEAMS, The Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages, in association with the University of Rochester, has long made available an impressive collection of medieval English texts in electronic format. More Middle English texts are available at the University of Michigan's Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse, UVa's Middle English Collection, and Project Gutenberg's Middle English section.
posted by bcveen on Feb 22, 2006 - 15 comments

There she blows!

Melville's Marginalia Online. The study of Herman Melville's creative process has long been hampered by a lack of primary sources. Melville's long lost annotations (they were written in pencil and subsequently erased) to the 1839 book The Natural History of the Sperm Whale have been restored through high-tech innovations such as squinting and digital photography. The results are available here in a PDF file. [more inside]
posted by marxchivist on Feb 13, 2006 - 22 comments

Textual Criticism and the Reliability of Scripture

Reconstructing Aunt Sally's Secret Recipe. Addressing the Retranslations Fallacy, a common misconception about how the Bible we read has been handed down to us. [via]
posted by brownpau on Jan 23, 2006 - 64 comments

Dynamically vacuous

Beyond metaphysics, there is 'pataphysics. Beyond metaphor, there is pataphor.
posted by painquale on Jan 15, 2006 - 49 comments

Graphs Maps Trees

Graphs, Maps, Trees. The Valve is hosting a literary event for professor Franco Moretti's new book, Graphs, Maps, Trees. Moretti aims to reinvigorate literary studies by constructing abstract models based upon quantitative history, geography, and evolutionary theory. PDFs of the original articles: Graphs, Maps, Trees. A review at n+1 is here.
posted by painquale on Jan 13, 2006 - 10 comments

Other literary frauds

Hot on the heels of the JT Leroy and James Frey fracases, here's a list of other literary frauds. Writing is lying, indeed. [via Bookslut]
posted by xmutex on Jan 10, 2006 - 33 comments

Oblivion

The David Foster Wallace Bibliography (in BibTex format) is ridiculously complete. The site also includes a zip file of DFW's essays and mp3s of a round table discussion. [via]
posted by painquale on Jan 10, 2006 - 55 comments

Liberated Literature?

LibriVox is out to share public domain literature via podcast and soundfiles. Free. Volunteers do the reading. The catalog has only a short list of completed works, but there are many "in progress." I was pleased to see Psmith in the City is complete.
posted by mmahaffie on Dec 27, 2005 - 14 comments

Rodney Whitaker Is Dead

The author Rodney Whitaker is dead, taking along with him Trevanian, Nicholas Seare, Benat Le Cagot, and several of his other pen names. Under the name Trevanian he wrote The Eiger Sanction (1972) (which became a Clint Eastwood movie of the same name), Shibumi (1979), The Loo Sanction (1973), The Summer of Katya (1983), The Main (1976), Incident at Twenty-Mile (1998), and others. In real life, Whitaker was the Chairman of the Radio, Television, and Film Department at the University of Texas. He was believe to be 74 years old, and died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow on Dec 17, 2005 - 14 comments

Holy Tango of Literature

Anthology Holy Tango of Literature: "The question of what would happen if poets and playwrights wrote works whose titles were anagrams of their names is one that has been insufficiently studied in the past." Francis Heaney has published his book online under a Creative Commons license, along with the Holy Tango Basement Tapes.
posted by mendel on Dec 6, 2005 - 21 comments

3quarksdaily

3quarksdaily. Just another blog, sure, but a good one. 3quarksdaily is a filter blog much like our very own, but with only 15 users (and an editor). As they say on their about page "On this website, my guest authors and editors and I hope to present interesting items from around the web on a daily basis, in the areas of science, design, literature, current affairs, art, and anything else we deem inherently fascinating." The do an admirable job.
posted by panoptican on Dec 6, 2005 - 26 comments

The Other SF Prophet Meat

How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later is a speech by Philip K. Dick which he never delivered. In it he details his theory of time and reality. A complimentary speech, which he did deliver, is If You Find This World Bad, You Should See Some of the Others. According to one account "people left the auditorium, it was later reported, looking as though they'd been hit with a hammer." Other essays by him in that vein are Man, Android and Machine and Cosmogony and Cosmology.

Here are some excerpts from his exegesis. Also, a collection of interviews with Dick.
posted by Kattullus on Dec 1, 2005 - 119 comments

A novel in twelve fish.

Gould's Book of Fish (full contents of Chapter One) by Tasmanian author/historian/Rhodes Scholar Richard Flanagan is a critically lauded 2002 novel that is the most interesting and accomplished work of fiction I've read in years. Set in the 19th century on a penal colony off the coast of Tasmania, the book is narrated by William Buelow Gould, a convict, charlatan, and possible madman. Here is an audio interview with Flanagan; here's an audio clip of the author reading from his book. (.ra files) Yes, the book is a few years old, but it somehow passed under my radar; and, anyway, a good book is timeless. (Picking up the piscine gauntlet thrown down by Plutor.)
posted by Dr. Wu on Nov 30, 2005 - 15 comments

less of a sauce, more of a glaze ...

The longlisted passages for the Bad Sex in Fiction award are available from the BBC. Founded by the Literary Review of London in 1993, the award "honors" the worst (published) sex writing (by popular authors). Will it be John Updike? Gabriel Garcia Marquez? Salman Rushdie?
posted by mrgrimm on Nov 29, 2005 - 30 comments

Is Jesus a solution or an excuse?

Faith based prisons... Can Gov. Jeb Bush's new drive to introduce God to the inmates make a difference, or was Jesus 'dying for our sins' not enough already? Is Jesus a solution or an excuse?

"Night has fallen. He has died now. A fly crawls over the still flesh. Of what use is it to me that this man suffered, If I am suffering now?" - Jorge Luis Borges
posted by 0bvious on Nov 25, 2005 - 36 comments

Seamus Heaney and the Soul of Antigone

Love that can't be withstood,
Love that scatters fortunes,
Love like a green fern shading
The cheek of a sleeping girl.
Seamus Heaney's search for the soul of Antigone.
(more inside, with Christopher Logue)
posted by matteo on Nov 4, 2005 - 15 comments

"Shaft" in Chaucerian English

Wha be tha blake prevy lawe
That bene wantoun too alle tha feres?
SHAFT!
Ya damne righte!

(Obligatory secondary links).
posted by swift on Oct 25, 2005 - 22 comments

missing masterpieces (of literature)

The 'missing masterpieces' (of literature).
posted by stbalbach on Oct 23, 2005 - 16 comments

"best of the worst on the best"

"This book isn't as good as Harry Potter in MY opinion, and no one can refute me. Tastes are relative!" A review of Orwell's 1984 on Amazon, from a list compiled by Matthew Baldwin at The Morning News with a selection of the funniest one-star reviews of books from Time's list of the 100 best novels.
posted by funambulist on Oct 23, 2005 - 99 comments

Early New Zealand Books Online

Early New Zealand Books Online Keyword searchable texts, all illustrations, and links to images of original pages. The collection currently comprises 20 books (23 volumes) including the majority of those published in the first half of the 19th century. It is hoped to expand the collection over the next few years to cover more significant nineteenth century books.
posted by Catch on Oct 18, 2005 - 14 comments

Pinter who?

It's Pinter. The Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded to the English writer Harold Pinter, “who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression’s closed rooms”.
posted by Termite on Oct 13, 2005 - 34 comments

It took courage to write this poorly, and it will take courage to read it.

It was a dark and stormy night on some distant planet. Thog's Masterclass collects only the finest, most well-honed clunky sentences and mixed metaphors the science fiction community produces. Eat yer heart out, Bulwer-Lytton. [via the website at the end of the universe]
posted by arto on Oct 10, 2005 - 19 comments

Dylan Thomas

Llareggub! Dylan Thomas reading Dylan Thomas and host of others (Shakespeare, Milton, Yeats, Auden, Hardy, and more). 11 volumes of mp3s on Salon, reached after watching a Salon premium ad. [via boingboing]
posted by carter on Oct 7, 2005 - 12 comments

Have you read them?

The fifty most cited books. At the time the list was compiled in the 1980s, the most cited book in the humanities and social sciences was Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions, followed by James Joyce's Ulysses. Noam Chomsky makes the top 20 with two works on linguistics. And, for those who prefer natural science, you should know the most cited scientific paper of all time is Protein Determination by Oliver H. Lowry. Alternately, you could just skip academia and go for the top 40 most important books according to World Literature Today, the 100 most loved according to the BBC, or you could just decide which books matter most to you. So what makes a book important, and which books qualify?
posted by blahblahblah on Sep 22, 2005 - 35 comments

Treasure Hunting

Scientific Sleuth Cracks Code to $54,000 Treasure The treasure was the 12th and last set out in Treasure's Trove , a children's book published last fall. People shared information on many forums. The solution to the Beetle puzzle is in this forum. Missed out? All is not lost. Apparently, a new 14th puzzle has been announced. Maybe we can solve it together.
posted by notmtwain on Sep 22, 2005 - 12 comments

Free good science fiction

Free, good science fiction for download, some you might have seen, some new, all are worth the time. If you have only a few minutes, Michael Swanick's Science Fiction Table of the Elements features 108 short short stories. If you have a little more time, Kelly Link, called by Neil Gaiman "the best short story writer currently out there" has released her much-praised collection Stranger Things Happen. For longer reads, Charlie Stross has made available his cyberpunk novel Accelerando and his Lovecraftish Colder War. The creepier Peter Watts has posted the New York Times Notable Book Starfish, and its sequels as well [previously]. If you haven't had enough, you should check out the Baen Free Library, with books by everyone from Andre Norton to Larry Niven, as well as a large amount of right-of-center combat-oriented stuff by David Weber and friends. Also, the Science Fiction Channel has made available many well-known classic short stories as well as a lot of contemporary Hugo and World Fantasy Award winners [previously]. Finally, you probably already know that Cory Doctorow has four novels available under creative commons. Happy reading!
posted by blahblahblah on Sep 19, 2005 - 59 comments

Artistic interpretations of literary figures

Artistic interpretations of literary figures drawn by comic book artists. Personal favorites: Joe Kubert's Edgar Allan Poe, Dave McKean's Salman Rushdie, Steve Pugh's Lady Macbeth, and Alex Toth's Charlie Chan.
posted by Gamblor on Sep 16, 2005 - 16 comments

Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail

Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail. Best known as the drummer for 1970s punk band The Damned, Rat Scabies grew up with a father interested in the mysteries of the French town of Rennes-le-Château, which may or may not contain the Holy Grail and in the enigmatic priest Berenger Sauniere. Conspiracy theories surrounding the town first popped up in the 1970s book Holy Blood, Holy Grail and gained a certain amount of infamy in recent years from The DaVinci Code. Upon striking up a friendship with his neighbor, journalist Christopher Dawes, Scabies discovered common interests in conspiracy theories and all things paranormal and a shared hatred of the DaVinci Code. Now the pair wrote a book about their alcohol-sodden quest for the Holy Grail that asks the question: What happens when an ex-punk rocker goes looking for the Holy Grail?
posted by huskerdont on Sep 16, 2005 - 19 comments

Aharon Appelfeld

"You see, first of all, to be a Jewish writer is a heavy obligation. My close family was killed. My natural environment, my childhood, my sweetest memories were killed. And so it’s a kind of obligation that I feel; I’m dealing with a civilization that has been killed. How to represent it in the most honorable way–not to equalize it, not to exaggerate, but to find the right proportion to represent it, in human terms."

Also: see this interview with Appelfeld by Philip Roth (NYT); scroll a third of the way down on this page for a stunning interview from Ha'aretz where Appelfeld talks about the importance of Israel; see this extensive interview from Yad Vashem ( pdf, Google HTML); go here for a RealAudio interview with Appelfeld, as well as for excerpts from certain of his many books.
posted by OmieWise on Sep 16, 2005 - 44 comments

All your better deeds / Shall be in water writ.

Our story begins with a flood and the theme continues throughout our literature. On this wet, wet planet of beings who depend on water for survival, deluge is an undeniably universal experience. With the help of a much-maligned organization, the literature grows...
posted by mds35 on Sep 8, 2005 - 4 comments

The Finches Sue Augusten Burroughs

Augusten Burroughs sued for defamation. The family featured in Burroughs' memoir Running With Scissors claims the author cruelly twisted their kindness into abuse to make a quick buck. The contested book is currently being made into a film , with the always entertaining Brian Cox playing the sketchy psychiatrist who adopts the adolescent Burroughs, Joseph Fiennes as the pedophile, Alec Baldwin as the father, and Annette Benning as the bipolar mother. Burroughs has been a long-time contributor to Salon. [This is old news (July 31st) that has only just been widely circulated in the past week.]
posted by ibeji on Aug 22, 2005 - 19 comments

SECRET * BASILISK

BLIT,
a short story by David Langford.
posted by thatwhichfalls on Aug 7, 2005 - 29 comments

Flaubert on Structural Unity

Flaubert on Structural Unity. "I’ve just read 'Pickwick' by Dickens. Do you know it? Some bits are magnificent; but what a defective structure! All English writers are like that. Walter Scott apart, they lack composition. This is intolerable for us Latins". Extracts from the letters of Flaubert (via the very awesome book coolie)
posted by matteo on Jul 29, 2005 - 12 comments

Smart gateway to black lit

Zora Neale Hurston's Glossary of Harlem Slang. Profiles of black writers including Audre Lorde, Chester Himes, The Last Poets and Linton Kwesi Johnson. The complete list of Coretta Scott King children's book award winners. Lots of informative off-site links. A lively forum filled with juicy gossip, among other pleasures. Just a few things you'll find at the African American Literature Book Club.
posted by mediareport on Jul 27, 2005 - 11 comments

Looking forward to the Half-Blood Prince?

DO NOT READ ANYONE LOOKING FORWARD....! BIG SPOILER! So reads every post on a Harry Potter forum, where spoiler-vandals have turned after getting locked out of the official forum. I'm afraid to even link you directly, with warnings, to the spoiler -- you'll have to click through. Meanwhile, the news reports leak after leak.
posted by NickDouglas on Jul 14, 2005 - 28 comments

The Invisible Library

The Invisible Library is a collection of books that only appear in other books. Within the library's catalog you will find imaginary books, pseudobiblia, artifictions, fabled tomes, libris phantastica, and all manner of books unwritten, unread, unpublished, and unfound.
posted by carter on Jun 28, 2005 - 20 comments

Peter Weiss and the Aesthetics of Resistance

The Aesthetics of Resistance. The first part of Peter Weiss's 3-volume novel Die Ästhetik des Widerstands (1975-81) has, after many delays, finally been published in a Joachim Neugroschel’s English translation: a major, though largely-unheralded literary event. The book ‘stands as the most significant German novel published after The Tin Drum.’ [more inside]
posted by misteraitch on Jun 28, 2005 - 7 comments

Bibliture

Reason #48713 for teaching the Bible in schools: "The classics of British and American literature are filled with biblical allusions that would be lost on a reader without basic knowledge of the Bible"
posted by afx114 on Jun 22, 2005 - 200 comments

Yet again !

All should see him before the Cholera arrives ! Beautiful Moon, with thy silvery light, Thou seemest most charming to my sight; As I gaze upon thee in the sky so high, A tear of joy does moisten mine eye. William Topaz McGonagall , the worlds greatest poet (again).
posted by sgt.serenity on Jun 8, 2005 - 7 comments

PST TTL

MNMLST POETRY is an essay by Bob Grumman about a strand of poetry that he claims is "unacclaimed but flourishing". Here are poems in this vein by Aram Saroyan (2), jwcurry, LeRoy Gorman, bpNichol, Michael Basinski, John M. Bennett, Karl Young, John Martone, Ian Hamilton Finlay and finally some mathemaku by Bob Grumman, the essay's author.
posted by Kattullus on Jun 8, 2005 - 12 comments

Houllebecq on H.P.Lovecraft

Great Cthulhu emerges from his slumber. Disaffected, reactionary, pro-sex tourism and anti-Islam, Europe's most controversial living writer Michel Houllebecq lovingly profiles H.P. Lovecraft. [via rw]
posted by Bletch on Jun 4, 2005 - 16 comments

The third of the "Big Three"

50 years with Lew Archer A detailed tribute to classic hard-boiled mystery writer Ross Macdonald, including a fascinating interview with Macdonald's biographer. Considered one of "the big three of the American hard-boiled detective novel" (with Hammet and Chandler), Macdonald has unfortunately "slipped to the back shelves." He had a lifelong lover's quarrel with Hollywood and - oh yeah - probably saved Warren Zevon's life back in 1979.
posted by mediareport on Jun 3, 2005 - 10 comments

identity theory

Interviews: Russell Banks, Susan Orlean, Tibor Fischer, Azar Nafisi. | Writing on social justice: Susan Power on Bosnia. Barbara Erenreich on poverty. | e-books: Aristotle, Emma Goldman, Buddha. | New Non-fiction, fiction. | Hundreds of Reviews. Graphic Art, Poetry, Music, and much more from identity theory, one of the best literary websites I've encountered, thanks to an incredulity-inducing amount of work by what seem to be volunteers. Wow. (Specific interviews already MeFid in these threads.)
posted by louigi on Jun 1, 2005 - 1 comment

Dracula, Blogged

Dracula Blogged: Bram Stoker's vampire novel, published by its own calendar. According to the site description:

Individual pieces of the novel will appear on the calendar dates indicated in the text, starting with Jonathan Harker's May 3rd Bistriz journal entry, and finishing up with November 6 and the final Note.

Be sure to check the comments, which are full of interesting tidbits about the novel, Stoker, Transylvania and historical accuracy (or innacuracy, as the case may be).
posted by LeeJay on May 26, 2005 - 14 comments

The newist book

The newist book from the world of Jim Henson about the man who spoke through puppets, I mean muppets.
posted by Viomeda on May 9, 2005 - 13 comments

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