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Looking for read stories about being forced to go in one direction.

Is there a story in the Bible or elsewhere in literature or myth about a person who wants to do many things, but is thwarted, by all sorts of forces, and ends up doing only one? [more inside]
posted by Clotilde on Aug 16, 2014 - 12 answers

Aging in literature and film

As I approach my fifties and confront the reality that parts of my body are wearing out and will never be young and resilient again, I turn to the arts for deeper philosophical understanding of this aspect of the human condition that I am facing. I'd like recommendations of fictional treatments of physical aging which are realistic but compassionate. Guidelines and caveats behind the fold. [more inside]
posted by matildaben on Aug 13, 2014 - 25 answers

How critical was being physically present to the success of your book?

How critical was being continually physically present for readings, signings, interviews and other events to the success of a book? Was most of your successful promotional efforts in the first year online or over the phone? [more inside]
posted by msk1985 on Aug 12, 2014 - 2 answers

Contact for Tom Robbins?

Hi There! I'm trying to contact Tom Robbins about possibly doing a musical adaptation of one of his books. Anyone know who his agent is or how to get in touch with his peoples? THANKS!!!
posted by sunnyblues48 on Aug 12, 2014 - 3 answers

Literary resources for travel to Peru

My lovely wife and I are traveling to Peru in early September. We're looking for novels and stories (maybe poetry too?) that will give us a feel for what things are like there. [more inside]
posted by number9dream on Aug 10, 2014 - 3 answers

Bibliotherapy for misandry?

Can you recommend novels, short stories or even biographies that might help me overcome my fear, distrust and occasional feelings of downright hatred towards men? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Aug 6, 2014 - 25 answers

Short stories with alternating storylines?

I'm looking for examples of short stories that have two oscillating storylines that ultimately intersect. I mean two different characters on two different trajectories whose paths ultimately cross. This is a frequent structure in novels, but I'm looking for short stories where this is done. I'm sure Alice Munro has done it, but I can't think of examples off the top of my head. Anyone know of any?
posted by swheatie on Jul 26, 2014 - 9 answers

Short story identification

What is this short story I read sometime in the late 1990s? Plot involved two teenage girls in the 1960s, Beatlemania, and the terrifying truths of growing up. [more inside]
posted by Ideal Impulse on Jul 23, 2014 - 3 answers

I want to think about something new!

Looking for quality, regularly-updated web content as an alternative to the potpourri discussion-based sites that usually make up my day online. [more inside]
posted by theraflu on Jul 21, 2014 - 11 answers

What Would Be In Your Best High School English Class?

I'm teaching high school-level English next year for students who need a high level of academic support and I want the class to be both highly engaging and content-rich. If you were a kid who LOATHED writing for school, struggled with boring English classes, or can remember what elements you truly enjoyed in your high school English class, what advice would you pass my way? [more inside]
posted by kinetic on Jul 17, 2014 - 46 answers

Need examples of overlapping conversations from fiction

I'm looking for examples from fiction of multiple conversations happening at once, between at least three different people. The more complex the conversation, the better. Better still if it's from a known author.
posted by asher on Jul 16, 2014 - 21 answers

What are the most illuminating findings from the field of Cogn. Poetics?

I have an interest in literary theory but have never really had the time to study it fully. Please help me expand my awareness :-) [more inside]
posted by Musashi Daryl on Jul 16, 2014 - 2 answers

we want stories to spoil

My honors student is planning out her thesis and is looking for enjoyable short stories (that are in the public domain, preferably) that end in a twist. Details (and a few spoilers!) inside. [more inside]
posted by anaphoric on Jul 14, 2014 - 17 answers

Lady-friendly sci-fi recommendations?

After getting really into Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series, I'm looking for similar reading material. Can y'all recommend other sci-fi novels featuring a predominantly female cast?
posted by schooley on Jul 10, 2014 - 22 answers

Suggestions for English literature 1400-1600

I'm interested in reading English literature between Chaucer and Shakespeare and would like suggestions. [more inside]
posted by Thing on Jun 28, 2014 - 13 answers

Half-remembered fairytale

The library of my childhood had a book of fairy tales which I remember fondly but not in very much detail. I remember only one of the stories - perhaps it will ring a bell with someone? [more inside]
posted by Wolfdog on Jun 27, 2014 - 5 answers

Books to take a train by

Next week, I am taking the Empire Builder from Chicago to Portland, Oregon. In a previous question about train travel, someone suggested reading books that take place along your train route. This is an idea I love ... and I have at least 47 hours to pass! So: what are your favorite (kindle) books which occur in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, or Oregon? Bonus for rural themes. I am not a big mystery fan, but if it is particularly excellent, I'll read it. Romance is out. Otherwise, I'm open to anything!
posted by ChuraChura on Jun 20, 2014 - 41 answers

Thoughtful-but-entertaining novels for the nonliterary type?

I'm teaching an introductory course on prose fiction (reading, not writing). What fun post-1900 novel should I put on the syllabus? Should be intelligent, but needn't necessarily be, you know, Literary. [more inside]
posted by gallusgallus on Jun 10, 2014 - 40 answers

Me write pretty one day

How do I craft beautiful sentences? [more inside]
posted by dinosaurprincess on Jun 1, 2014 - 15 answers

Choosing Kindle search terms for non-genre short fiction?

I'm self-publishing a set of short stories on Kindle, and need to choose search terms, which are critical for helping new readers stumble upon my book. However, most examples I see are for either non-fiction, self-help type books, or genre fiction. All I've come up with are overly broad descriptors like "everyday heroes," or ridiculously specific ones like "pediatric nurse kills alligator by hacking gasoline generator." Is there some sort of middle ground, or perhaps a genre term I'm unfamiliar with? [more inside]
posted by helpthebear on May 31, 2014 - 0 answers

Opinionated history books?

I love conversing with people who know history and are sparkling, highly opinionated storytellers. Often these are foreigners or emigrants speaking about their country. They're unafraid to draw sharp, outspoken conclusions that frame major situations (e.g. that some leader was an incompetent fool or that an accident of geography is what will ensure conflict between two groups continues). What are some book equivalents of that conversational experience? They can be on any period or region. I do not want a magisterial treatise. I want a keen-eyed, slicing talk with someone really well-informed and cynical over several drinks who's gonna say what's what.
posted by shivohum on May 22, 2014 - 14 answers

It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.

I am looking for recommendations of great dystopian novels, novellas, and short stories. Any length will do! [more inside]
posted by SkylitDrawl on May 22, 2014 - 39 answers

Shortened or partial Idioms in common use.

You often hear people say things like "When in Rome" or "Great Minds" when people are generally meaning, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." or "Great minds think alike." Is there an actual literary term for these clipped or shortened idioms?
posted by sevcenko on May 22, 2014 - 5 answers

Help me build a diaspora/immigrant experience lifetime to-read list

After finishing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "Americanah," and thinking about how I loved Zadie Smith's "White Teeth," and Hanif Kureishi's "Buddha of Suburbia," I'm finding I want to read more immigration/diaspora/post-colonial literature. Please help me build a lifetime reading list. All geographies welcome. I am very deliberately trying to read more women authors in 2014 and beyond, too.
posted by mostly vowels on May 17, 2014 - 15 answers

Did people really believe the Earth birthed minerals?

After browsing John Comenius' Orbis Sensualium Pictus (per this fine Mefi post), I came across this curiously worded statement in the The Fruits of the Earth section: [more inside]
posted by Chrischris on May 16, 2014 - 6 answers

What book goes well with my box of tissues?

I want to cry my eyes out over a book. It's been a long time since I have and I need the catharsis. [more inside]
posted by quincunx on May 5, 2014 - 88 answers

Female wanderers wanted!

Seeking literary fiction with a transient, often solitary, female hero, please! [more inside]
posted by Isingthebodyelectric on Apr 30, 2014 - 40 answers

To read aloud, that is what I need.

I have an odd job interview coming up. I need advise on a children's book to read to a grown up audience and a two minute poem or "fun" monologue to recite. I think it'd be best if these related to the joy of learning or science. For the book, I might just read part of "Corduroy" because its beautiful and sweet, but what about the other requirement? [more inside]
posted by stormygrey on Apr 21, 2014 - 21 answers

SF/Fantasy books with a 'big reveal'?

RecoFilter: I'm looking for recommendations of books, preferably in the sci-fi/fantasy genres, that have a 'big reveal' somewhere in there that changes the whole perspective of the book or protagonist. Examples would be The Inverted World, The Prestige, or Ender's Game, for example, or the first Star Trek film, or some Lovecraft stories — the whole thing, and all events narrated, appear in a different light after, you know? [more inside]
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Apr 18, 2014 - 43 answers

Literature review hacks, please!

I'm in grad school and am writing a literature review as part of my capstone project. I have done a lot of initial research and have created awesome annotated bibliographies - it's just not enough, though. [more inside]
posted by WaspEnterprises on Apr 16, 2014 - 4 answers

Infamous bars from fantasy

Korova. Chalmun's. Venusville. Strangefellows. What other terrible bars exist in fiction, fantasy and literature?
posted by Jacen on Apr 14, 2014 - 50 answers

Modern Life is Magic

Help me find books that convey a jolly feeling of appreciation for the wonders of modern life. Ideally these would be books that have a sci-fi or fantasy feel, but in which nothing overtly magical or fantastic happens. The best recent examples I can think of are Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, which has all the elements of a fantasy novel but is set squarely in our world, and William Gibson's most recent novels, all of which feel fantastic to me but are grounded in real life. [more inside]
posted by spacewaitress on Apr 10, 2014 - 18 answers

Does The Scarlet Letter belong to a literary genre?

Does The Scarlet Letter belong to a literary genre? How would publishers market the book today, and on what book shelf would you find it in the book store? Same question for The Brothers Karamazov. Could these stories, if they were told in a prose style indicative of the 21st c, find a publisher?
posted by jwhite1979 on Apr 9, 2014 - 12 answers

Name that children's picture book - a tailor traveled the world.

After reading a recommendation here for the utterly delightful Ms. Rumphius, I started thinking about kids books about travel that I used to enjoy. When I was a kid I loved a picture book about a kingdom where everyone had to wear black all the time because the prince or princess had died and the kingdom was in mourning, and an apprentice tailor traveled the world by boat and learned about clothing in different cultures and eventually came home and made beautiful colorful clothing for everyone in the kingdom and the sadness over the kingdom was lifted. I have searched and searched and can't remember anything more about it. Can anyone remember? It was a lovely book and I would like to share it with my daughter.
posted by n'muakolo on Mar 30, 2014 - 0 answers

The American SF "Canon"

For an upcoming project I'm putting together what's meant to be a comprehensive timeline of important (even "necessary") works of American science fiction since the late 19th century. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Mar 23, 2014 - 68 answers

What's the deal with Albertine disparue?

Which articles or books, in English, detail the editorial challenges, contradictions, and ambiguities posed by the competing versions of Proust's Albertine disparue (The Fugitive/Albertine Gone)? [more inside]
posted by Houyhnhnm on Mar 18, 2014 - 1 answer

Name my Bible podcast

I'm thinking about starting up a podcast. It would be, for the most part, deep interpretations of Biblical texts from a critical but appreciative point of view. What should I call it? [more inside]
posted by Pater Aletheias on Mar 17, 2014 - 58 answers

(Very) short plays appropriate for highschool aged students?

I'm looking to find a few very short, preferably one-act, plays that are appropriate for students 14-18. Classics are OK, but I'm definitely more interested in stuff that's more contemporary (post-45?). [more inside]
posted by munyeca on Mar 9, 2014 - 16 answers

Probably not the right word, but "grace" in film and literature?

The movies and films I have in mind are: A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, and The Thin Red Line by Terrence Malick (though many of his films would count). The "technical" definition of grace is such that I'm not entirely sure that's an accurate description of what it is that I see that joins these movies together, but it is certainly something present or mentioned in all three. The things that stick out to me are things such as: forgiveness, that nature is perhaps closer to God(liness), that there is grace/beauty in life despite some of the bad things in it. Do you know of any films and books that might be considered related to my above group given what I've tried to describe?
posted by SollosQ on Mar 8, 2014 - 40 answers

Repository for literary interpretations?

Where can I go to find publicly accessible (preferably online) and well-thought-out basic interpretations and commentary on books? I don't mean reviews, and I don't mean ultra-scholarly theoretical or historical work. I mean commentary and explanation. For example, if I just read The Trial and I wanted to know what some of the standard opinions about its meaning were, where could I reliably go?
posted by shivohum on Mar 7, 2014 - 4 answers

Essential novels of the 20th-21st century

I know next to nothing about 20th and 21st century literature. What are some recommendations for "essential" novels that I can start with? [more inside]
posted by vanitas on Feb 21, 2014 - 52 answers

"Do you believe in miracles?"

Looking for recommendations on film and literature featuring ice hockey. Details inside. [more inside]
posted by sapien on Feb 10, 2014 - 12 answers

More dark thrillers by women?

Another ReadMe Question. Lately I've been really enjoying literary-leaning thrillers and mystery type books authored by women. Can you recommend some more? [more inside]
posted by Lutoslawski on Feb 5, 2014 - 52 answers

Major Depressive Disorder and Imaginative Fiction

I've been depressed for many years. It has sapped my creative powers. I've had enough. How can I live as a depressed person, but elevate above the limitations this has imposed on me in the past to escape into a writing practice that could create imaginative works of fiction? [more inside]
posted by samizdat on Feb 3, 2014 - 15 answers

The Origin of Cathy Ames

Is there any evidence that the character Cathy Ames in Steinbeck's East of Eden was based on a real person? [more inside]
posted by helloimjohnnycash on Feb 1, 2014 - 3 answers

Looking for interesting books about mundane topics.

Seeking suggestions for interesting, wide-ranging books on seemingly mundane or trivial topics. Help, hive mind! [more inside]
posted by Stacey on Jan 31, 2014 - 41 answers

Looking for film/lit examples of pre-destined relationships

There's a trope in literature/film where one character is pre-destined to have a particular relationship with another character (e.g., A and B will always fall in love). I'm looking for examples where this happens multiple times with the same characters. [more inside]
posted by eisenkr on Jan 24, 2014 - 41 answers

What's This Short Story, Part I?

I once read a short story about a kid in New York. I was exposed to it in one of my college courses on the short story form, so it wasn't something I randomly stumbled upon. It was the sort of story that would probably be taught to neophytes studying the form. I can't recall if it was in our Norton anthology (don't think so; I've checked through anthologies from that era) or a copy packet. The bare facts: Brooklyn kid, I think; lived in a Brownstone; at the age when it was time to make a decision about college or work; listened to a Giants (baseball) game on the radio; lazed about in his room thinking; went for a walk (maybe at night?) because he had a big decision to make; feels to me now like the sort of thing that would have been written in the 40s or 50s. I've been wanting to reread this story for 15 years. Finally got around to writing this out and seeking the assistance of Ask Metafilter. Can anyone help?
posted by samizdat on Jan 14, 2014 - 3 answers

How to Score Higher on a Close-Booked English Lit. Exam Under Pressure?

Want methods for memorization, time management, and other study tips... [more inside]
posted by lorn on Jan 10, 2014 - 11 answers

Modern creative types whose success came late?

What are examples, in the last 20 years, of musicians, artists, dancers, writers, and so on who labored long in obscurity and only achieved success, financial and otherwise, after the age of 40? And for those people, how did their success finally come about?
posted by shivohum on Jan 8, 2014 - 40 answers

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