Like many people lately, I'm feeling low about the state of things--specifically, language. My recent reading consists solely of political news and analysis as well as, for relaxation, hard-boiled detective novels. I've lost, over the past few months, all sense of language as exuberant, playful, abundant, dazzling, rich with pleasure. Can you help pull me out of my language funk with suggestions of novels, short stories, poems, essays that will delight and surprise me, that I can sink into like a warm luxurious bath? [more inside]
I would like my students to add annotations to select online chapters of public domain texts we are reading. Google Docs would work, but I would prefer that the end product be accessible to the world at large, so I don't have to export their work and publish it anew. There are 20 students in the class, and so I'm worried about students overwriting each other's work. Is there a cheap, free wiki installation that can handle multiple, simultaneous edits? [more inside]
What are some of your favorite editions, versions, or retellings of fairy tales or folk tales or other stories in adjacent genres? I'm interested in beautiful illustrations, or well-written prose, or any other reasons that you love that specific version. If you have one preference for younger kids and a different for older kids, tell me that too! [more inside]
My wife is just beginning her second trimester, so it looks as though I'll be a dad in July. I'm pretty excited about this. I'd really love to instill an appreciation for canonical literature at an early age since it was so important to me as a kid and now as an adult. [more inside]
I like quiet books that are inward-facing, but I need to diversify my reading list beyond white male authors. I like introspection (think Knausgard or Proust), interpersonal relationships (Austen), or beautiful descriptions of natural environments. I don't like high melodrama, violence, or sexual violence. Do you know of any non-white and/ or female authors that fit into these categories?
What apps have you found or know to be useful when preparing a 8th grader for multiple Spelling Bees? [more inside]
I have occasionally enjoyed audiobooks, but it's been hit and miss. My attention isn't 100% with audio, so books that are relatively simple to follow seem best, right? And of course a great reader is crucial. I usually read recent books classified as "literary fiction," and I have a huge to-read list. Which ones should I pick for audio and which should I save for paper? [more inside]
Is there a more specific literary description for the kind of trickster who arrives abruptly, seems fun and magical at first, quickly upends the social order in a malevolent, often horrifying way, and then disappears again, just as abruptly? [more inside]
Can you recommend books that have explicit and hot sex scenes? The book has to be good enough writing and plot-wise, but it's the good sex that I'm really in the mood for! I'm not looking for romance genre or erotica. [more inside]
Any recommendations? I'm particularly looking for reasonably priced paperbacks - novels, short stories, anthologies.
Please recommend well-written cozy mysteries that won't make me angry. [more inside]
I find myself wondering if the rise of global authoritarianism might be deeply—like, inextricably—connected to the maturing nature of technological surveillance, or perhaps just global telecommunications more generally. Since I'm probably not the first person to think about this, I'm curious what stories, novels, long-form articles, or other analyses (fiction or nonfiction) are out there that focus on speculating/extrapolating what happens after the age of the authoritarian panopticon. Bonus points for plausibility; not really looking to get too "far-out."
I'm interested in reading first-person accounts of what it's like to be in a society that is falling apart - either through dissolution into civil war (e.g., Syria, Rwanda) or turning from a relatively free to oppressive government (Nazi Germany, Iran). [more inside]
I like what I've read of Borges so far. I was browsing Project Gutenberg and wondering if there are any authors of a similar cant who can be found there. I like reading old books. Thanks.
For the past couple of years, I've been doing an informal, personal challenge to read a new-to-me book published in each year from 1900 to 1999. The only decade I haven't touched yet is the first, and I'd appreciate recommendations for books published from 1900 through 1909. [more inside]
Short story about a male high school teacher who has a crush on his wild student. Help! [more inside]
Help me find a short story from days of yore! Once upon a time, back in the 1990s, I read a short story in a high school anthology... [more inside]
After my umpteenth round of reading Farley Mowat and getting overly emotional listening to Stan Rogers, it's time to expand my horizons a little. What novels or nonfiction books would you recommend that are about or set in the Maritimes? [more inside]
Inspired by the challenges that I've seen other people set for themselves, I'd like to take a break from reading only books written by white guys. [more inside]
I'm looking for recommendations of longer books to read to my 5yo daughter. We recently read The BFG and that was pretty much perfect - obviously I'll try some of Dahl's other books, although they do seem to feature an awful lot of cruel and abusive family situations. So, who's the Roald Dahl of the 21st century? [more inside]
When I was younger, I had a book that was poetry and stories for children. Poetry included poems and illustrations by Edward Lear; the stories included "The Carp in the Bathtub," a Pecos Pete? story and possibly an excerpt from "Anne of Green Gables." The stories were illustrated. I have Googled this to death, tried looking up books via Library of Congress online, no luck. Any ideas? Thanks.
I want to read journals and letters by people in their fifties and sixties. It could be anyone, anywhere, any century. I prefer good writing, and some levity. Most of all I'm looking for a sense of personality, text that brings the writer to life. The writer in his/her late middle age has lived several decades. They are settled in themselves, yet they still struggle. They look forward to years ahead, and they ponder mortality. What do they have to say? [more inside]
Or failing that, academic papers or blogs where I can try to figure out his literary references? [more inside]
I'm looking for horror recommendations (defined as broadly as you wish). I'd like books with a deeper resonance, the kind you keep thinking about after you finish, but books that make you feel as well. My favorite writers are Shirley Jackson, Peter Straub, Caitlin R. Kiernan; I don't care as much for Lovecraft and the more cosmic stuff. Ideally this would be a book you would describe as being emotionally moving or compassionate as well as creepy. The further off the beaten path, the better.
Can you identify this (possibly Borges) short story? Years ago I read a story that I'd like to read again, if only I could find it. It went something like this: A detective is pursuing a murderer . . . [more inside]
I'm an enthusiastic reader, across pretty broad boundaries; literary fiction is probably my favorite, but I also enjoy good sci-fi/speculative fiction, mysteries and thrillers as well as quite of bit of non-fiction, including history, science and true crime. What I've never been able to manage though, is to even read, let alone enjoy poetry. [more inside]
I'm interested in catching up with the latest developments in the evolution of the mystery novel. What should I read? [more inside]
What are some great quotes, poems, or literary excerpts about being an outsider, a constant traveler, or a countryless foreigner?
I'm looking for examples of archaeology of the present day, and/or of the ruins of the modern world, from the perspective of the future, as expressed in fiction or film. These could be major plot points, recurrent themes, or merely passing references. [more inside]
Yesterday, I ran across the proverb "Great cry and little wool, as the devil said when he sheared the hogs," along with the explanation that this came from "an old mystery play, David and Abigail, based on 1 Samuel." Where/when was this mystery play performed, and is its text available? [more inside]
I recently enjoyed The Builders by Daniel Polansky immensely. I also enjoy other books about anthropomorphised or semi-anthropomorphised animals in a medieval, heroic or fantasy setting like the Duncton Wood books and (to a lesser extent) Redwall. It's so much fun! Any recommendations for similar books in this genre? [more inside]
I'm going nuts trying to remember which piece of classic literature/famous book cover uses Lydian: https://www.myfonts.com/fonts/mti/lydian-mt/pro/ [more inside]
Looking for comic title for non-reading young girl with strong visual narrative. [more inside]
Please help me find writing and art about feeling or being invisible to the world. [more inside]
What are some excellent annotated versions of already excellent books? [more inside]
It could be a novel, a non-fiction book, a diary, poem or play. Bonus question: how about the weirdest book from other global literary traditions?
I would like to broaden her mind a little and give her a selection of comics to see which she likes best and see if she takes to reading as a life habit. [more inside]
I'm looking for an essay I read in a collection of critical essays on the origins of literary genres - its thesis was that since the gothic tradition often reversed or undermined mainstream Victorian ideals, it could be seen as a sublimated response to colonial guilt that couldn't be expressed in public. The argument tied it into the practice of keeping looted Egyptian mummies in parlors and the first sprouts of Gothic arriving from the idea of something old and dead and foreign in your home that might be out for revenge. Ring any bells?
Looking for short novels composed of fragments, vignettes, etc. Examples: Michael Ondaatje's The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, Elizabeth Hardwick's Sleepless Nights, Danielle Dutton's Margaret the First. [more inside]
What poems / readings would you recommend for a 50th Anniversary? My parents have been having health issues so I would prefer to avoid the usual "ha ha you're falling apart" joke poems about pills and getting infirm. They are somewhat stoic but have a good sense of humor.
In search of novels, memoirs, and other literary works where physical ugliness (NOT beauty, primarily) is a major subject/theme. Thanks!
In the first chapter of Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep, Marlowe says "I'm thirty-three years old, went to college once and can still speak English if there's any demand for it. There isn't much in my trade." What does he mean by that? [more inside]
What are the most interestingly designed children's books? I am wanting to find ones with holes in the pages, unusual bindings, strange covers, textures inside, or simply unusual illustrations. Any advice?
Hey Brilliants, I hope you are all enjoying the beginning of spring! I am researching a new project on secession and am looking for examples in literature, film, tv, etc. of stories that are about a US state or city trying to secede from the union. I'm somewhat aware of Texas' ability to secede but am wondering if anyone has written anything about what would happen if another state or city tried to secede. Thanks so much :) [more inside]
I remember reading a short story some time ago, about a little girl who was (I think?) trapped in an invisible labyrinth, and had a salamander (possibly two?) that were her companions. The salamander(s) always had to be moving or they would die/turn to stone. Eventually one (or both) saves the girl, sacrificing himself in the process. Where can I find this story?
I have a faint recollection of reading an essay by C. S. Lewis, in which he discusses reading poetry, and suggests moving one's lips while reading. Does this ring any bells? [more inside]
I'm trying to remember the author and title of a story (at least, I think it's a story). All I really remember is a parent, I think a dad but I could be wrong, sitting in traffic on a bridge. I believe there are at least two kids in the car, and there might be some kind of accident or disaster ongoing or impending, hence the traffic. Possibly earthquake related because I think it's in the Bay Area? I'm pretty sure it's the Golden Gate bridge? But it might just be a generic/elsewhere bridge and I made it the Golden Gate in my mind. It could also be an opening/early scene in a novel? But I feel pretty sure about the short story part, at least. I wish I remembered more, but I know this exists and it's driving me crazy. Short story with parent(s) in car with kid(s) on bridge, possibly set in the Bay Area: ringing any bells?
Are there any book reviewers out there who have great reputations as book reviewers? [more inside]
Looking for fiction, lyric essays, poetry, or theoretical texts that discuss emotional and verbal abuse in romantic relationships. Interested in both fiction and non-fiction, but not interested in self-help, psychology, life coach-y type lit, nor YA novels. [more inside]
[Book recommendation filter] Must be literary. Must be wildly absorbing. Ensemble casts of characters preferred but not required. The longer, the better. Did it sweep YOU off your feet? Tell me about it! [more inside]