I’m looking for recommendations for conventional short stories that are reasonably easy to read and have some literary merit. When I say “conventional”, I mean stories that have a distinct plot, with recognizable characters, and some kind of clear resolution at the end. [more inside]
I think I know what reading against the grain means and it seems like a common phrase and practice in academic arenas, but who said it first? [more inside]
I'd like to stock up my Kindle relatively inexpensively (and am also a little overwhelmed by the phenomenal quantity of cheap public domain books available). What are the best works of literary fiction under $2 available for the Kindle? Preferences/requirements inside. [more inside]
I am looking for suggestions for a short, sentimental/heartwarming/heartfelt poem or quote about heirlooms, family tradition or hand-me-downs to include on a gift for my grandmother. This is a thank-you gift for letting me wear her wedding dress at my own wedding and a tribute to the family tradition of marriages on the same date. [more inside]
I have always been fond of writing poetry, but lately I seem to want to expand my writing craft towards short stories. I think the most notable clincher for writers to improve their overall craft is simply by reading voraciously; with an eclectic wide range of authors and literary works. What are some wonderful literary works, authors, playwrights, short stories, non-fiction, fantasy work, et cetera. Can you recommend for me? To further my own voice and writing craft. [more inside]
Hey all, a particular literary conversation has gotten stuck in my head for days and I can't source it. I've tried every number and combination of Bing/Google searches, but it may be that I'm not getting the exact words right in the phrase. [more inside]
I'm watching a documentary on Netflix called "New York in the 50's" about poets, journalists, and free thinkers in the Village during the Eisenhower administration. The interviewees keep referencing a self-conscious attempt to emulate life in Paris in the 1920s. So two questions come to mind: 1) Where is this occurring today? Does it only appear in hindsight? Accordingly, 2) Where else have such flowerings occurred? Paris in 1848? Prague in 1968? Has the internet made this kind of location-based creativity irrelevant?
What are some good novels that have a high-concept speculative element in the background, but aren't quite about that? [more inside]
Do you know something about the history of publishing? Help me out. [more inside]
In Poul Anderson’s “The Last of the Deliverers,” (spoilers ahead) he describes a future America in which, for all practical purposes, cheap solar energy and a culture of decreased desires for material advancement (people are essentially satisfied with a comfortable, but low, standard of living) have led to a kind of utopia. The plot of the story is, more or less, that two representatives of remnants from an older culture – a small-government type in the Barry Goldwater mold as well as a member of the American Communist Party – meet in a village and argue about the virtues of their respective ideologies, but cannot appreciate that social evolution and the lack of scarcity produced by it has made their political differences (and their politics) largely pointless and obsolete. So how am I to understand the last half-paragraph of the story, which seems to undercut the entire story in a most paradoxical way: [more inside]
Most of the academic textbooks I've read have had a drawn-out presentation style based on psychological observations as part of an effort to project a particular voice. [more inside]
Book suggestions for a gift exchange recipient that combine business, Haruki Murakami, David Foster Wallace, and/or music? (here's hoping my recipient isn't also a Mefite!) [more inside]
John Steinbeck included this inscription in a friend's copy of Cannery Row: Kahn ni melm Sarat Twini Sener Ni Melm Siri Here is a copy. Any ideas on what it could mean are much appreciated. [more inside]
I want to submit my short story to the kind of literary magazine that I'd actually enjoy reading. Do you have any suggestions? [more inside]
Identify this book. Literary novel, probably a first novel, published between 1994 and 1997, written by a guy who had taught writing at Harvard. The only thing I remember in it is an obsessive character in the desert who has welded multiple trailers or mobile homes in a circle so he can obsessively walk in circles inside them. [more inside]
I am looking for recommendations for bibles in languages other than English, specifically for their literary qualities. [more inside]
So people like to name-drop authors and works that those who went to university and/or have a curiosity about the world should know as part of the basic vocabulary of being an educated Westerner. For example, "Kant" or "Dickensian", or "Gertrude Stein". I would like to learn this stuff, please. [more inside]
I am finishing my associate of arts degree. I am trying to think of possible career paths. The careers I am thinking of are related to librarian work, academia, reading/literacy teacher, speech language pathologist. Some of my interests/strengths are clerical work, very creative, research/writing, counseling/teaching, art layout, health, the outdoors. I like working with children. Are there any careers along these paths that I should consider ?
Bookish Mefites, help me come up with a list of literary sad sacks. [more inside]
I forgot the name of this young author I like. He writes weird, short fiction and had a crazy LiveJournal page (or something outdated like that). I think he's connected with HTMLGiant or some similar hip online literary site. [more inside]
I'm ready to try and publish, but it turns out all my work is an unsaleable length. What are my options? [more inside]
Like many people, I have A Novel... I have been working on it for a while and now have the opportunity to submit it to a friend of a friend who expressed interest. How am I supposed to act? What do people expect from novel-submitter-people? [more inside]
Can anyone tell me what this Aztec literary/oratorical technique is called? [more inside]
What are the realistic odds of a movie studio buying rights to fiction? What steps could one take to even attempt this? [more inside]
What well-known/classic stories involve someone being transported to a magical world, from which point onwards he/she is primarily trying to get home? Important: the main character must meet fantastical characters on the journey, who eventually become his or her allies or guides. [more inside]
Can you recommend a good online literary short fiction writers' community? [more inside]
In 84 Charing Cross Rd Helene Hanff's 1st letter to the bookshop Marks and Co., written in October 1949, says she's responding to an ad she saw by them in the Saturday Review of Literature. One little problem: I recently went over a library archive of the Saturday Review. I couldn't find an ad from Marks and Co. in any of the October issues of 1949, nor in any of the issues in September, August, or July. This involved looking at both the display ads and the small-print classifieds. It also involved looking at the Saturday Review's 25th Anniversary issue, August 6, 1949, which was more than triple the size of a typical issue of the time (180+ pgs vs. 50+ pgs, and so many one-off advertisers it had an index to them). So... Has anyone ever seen this ad, that caused such a big change in Hanff's life? Did she perhaps get the magazine wrong? If so, which magazine was it in, and when?
Again moved by the shimmery beauty of Broken Social Scene's "Market Fresh", after not listening to it for a long time, I decided to look up the song lyrics. I'm interested in people's interpretation of them.. [more inside]
Literary eerie suspense novelists: I've read and loved a certain type of author and I am looking for more like them. Their main novel tropes are unreliable narrators (i.e., are they being haunted by a ghost or their own mind?) and a good balance of suspense and philosophy (well-paced novels of ideas with likable, believable characters). Prose style is literary and intelligent but not metafictional. [more inside]
Recommend me some qualitative studies with literary qualities [more inside]
Mind freeze: what is the word/term for a literary mistake in a piece of fiction like the wrong stovetop chimneys in Charles Dickens? Something an author has put in a period piece but could not possibly exist in the time the work of fiction took place? [more inside]
Help me read 2666. Or, y'know, not read it. [more inside]
Please help me find the name of the novel where God literally falls to Earth, stone dead, from Heaven.
I'm looking for the name of a novel in which God, portrayed as a gigantic being thousands of feet tall and weighing millions of pounds wearing robes and having a flowing white beard, quite literally falls to earth from heaven, stone dead. The story is all about the repercussions on Earth after this event.
Should I try to move from the newspaper industry to the book publishing industry? Or is this just jumping from one sinking ship to another? Canada-specific advice appreciated. [more inside]
I"m looking for good hints on teaching a literature survey course to (mostly) college freshmen. This will be my second year of this course, and I really need to make some changes from the way I approached it last year. Any hints from current/former teachers or students would be more than welcome! [more inside]
What kind of mellowish, retroish virtual entertainment can I suggest at my friend's Second Life sim? [more inside]
As a writer trying to press into the next stage of my career, how can I emphasize in my publishing history that "small press" isn't always a euphemism for "vanity press"? [more inside]
What are the great patterning works of literature? In Book by Book, Michael Dirda presents a list of what he calls “patterning works” which he describes as books that “. . later authors regularly build on, allude to, work against.” and which he says “ . . . ought to lie at the heart of any structured reading program.” [more inside]
Is the use of meronym and synecdoche the same thing? If not, please illustrate. I am confused.
What's the best literary equivalent of Alien/Aliens? [more inside]
I need famous drinks from famous books. Kind of like how Holden Caulfield always drank Tom Collinses in Catcher in the Rye. Or how the Famous Five always had Tea with their scones. Thanks!
I just finished John Fowles, The Collector, and I need it's opposite. Spoiler inside. [more inside]
Really cool freeware word games? [more inside]
Can the hive mind help me by suggesting some good, but simple, literary costume ideas for halloween? [more inside]
Deep breath: I am the online editor for a New York college's undergraduate literary journal's blog, and a complete beginner. I'm wondering about increasing net-presence, keeping the site timely, and making it vibrant. Very open to ideas. Hive mind? [more inside]
The phenomenology / ontology of text: has anyone examined this issue directly in philosophical, literary and/or critical terms? [more inside]
What are your favourite pieces of creative nonfiction? [more inside]
Can you recommend a literary agent or attorney? I'm in the US. [more inside]
What one book will allow others to gain the truest insight into the soul of each city or region [more inside]
Question about obscure science fiction short story, "Allegory," by William T. Powers, which was reprinted in Groff Conklin's 13 GREAT STORIES OF SCIENCE FICTION. The question is: what is this story an allegory of? To put it another way, is there some real-world or historical event that this story is a comment on? [more inside]
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