I've started reading the the entirety of Richard Stark's Parker series, and I can't help noticing that the ages of cars are always mentioned. It's never just a Pontiac, it's a "two year old Pontiac." Or, "The Cadillac was four years old." Did cars in the '60s have ridiculously short life spans? What's the deal?
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]
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]
I'm looking for examples of novels without protagonists. See inside for details. [more inside]
I'm trying to remember the name of a novel I read when I was in school. I believe it was Canadian, and the main character was a goodhearted but simpleminded, somewhat overweight female prostitute living in a small town. I also believe the title was her nickname; I thought it was "Sweetie," but that has proven to be incorrect.
Ancient Roman and Greek civilizations set my imagination ablaze, and while I've loved Homer's works right now I'm interested in works written in, say, the last century that take place in those times, or thereabouts. [more inside]
What novels and short stories do a good job of depicting television? Mostly I'm interested in characters watching TV, but I'll also accept answers like 1984—where (a slightly different version of) TV plays a major role in the plot.
i really like the slow/subtle treatment of ennui/cultureshock/different manifestations of love/and the engaging "nonplot"
I have in mind two (fiction) classics on the subject: An Enemy of the People (Ibsen) and The Winter of Our Discontent (Steinbeck). I would appreciate it if you could guide me to other valuable works on this issue.
Another episode of Ask Metafilter, book-title detectives. [more inside]
South African novel? A Boer seduces a black girl, they have sex in his Mercedes Benz. The book deals with the seduction that comes before, and the problems afterwards. The white guy is NOT cast as a villain. My friend read this book in the 70s and is looking for it. Thanks!
Excellent Action Scenes In Books? I'm looking for examples of tense, fast paced action sequences in novels and short stories. The written equivalent to the cinematic on-the-edge-of-your-seat-oh-crap-the-person-may-die-how-will-they-escape thing. Bonus if the situation is complex yet reads like a clear, clockwork machine. [more inside]
I'm looking for a realistic political novel that's not a spy thriller. [more inside]
What-was-that-book-filter: 70's or 80's (?) heist (?) novel that involved shutting down L.A. by closing a couple of freeways and the central telephone switching system. [more inside]
Foreign Literature filter: Non-depressing but non-dumb novel/other literature in written English, written Spanish and Audiobook (either/both languages). [more inside]
I remember a college professor telling me about a book, probably Latin American, possibly magical realism, in which the table of contents could be shuffled around according to some provided lists, and the book re-read accordingly, acquiring new meanings and interpretations with each shuffle. What is it called? Also welcome: suggestions for novels with a similar style or feeling, or which play with the medium in a similar way (I've already read House of Leaves).
I need a book about Shakta (Indian goddess) mysticism! [more inside]
Looking for the title of a Japanese novel that involved a cat murder. [more inside]
Looking for teachable, modern, western and nonwestern examples of "quest" narratives in literature? [more inside]
Please recommend mystery/thriller novels with incredibly complex plots. [more inside]
What novel, published in the last five years, will keep my interest and be not-too-overly-verbose as to make my job harder (I have to write a paper discussing it's literary merits)? [more inside]
What sci-fi novels feature small community habitats which are the petri dishes of social/political experimentation? By "habitat" I mean a structure or ship that's totally isolated and self-sufficient. Dystopia in miniature! [more inside]
People talk about "writing the Great American Novel." What do you think are valid examples of the G.A.N.? What novels, American or otherwise, did you enjoy reading and wish you had written?
I crave a great novel that's as addictive as a popcorn movie. Please recommend me some literary page-turners. [more inside]
Can anyone recommend good novels about gay people? Not just genre fiction but actually literature? It seems to me there must be, but I've never been able to find any.
Long Sighted: What's the novel where a character has their eye stretched to the back of their head, thus enabling a kind of second sight?
Help me find this book! It's about a family, possibly from the North of the UK / Scotland, but the thing I remember most is one of the brothers travelling through South America. He washes up on a riverbank, plants almost grow up around him. Local indigenous people save him and he becomes a medicine man. [more inside]
What are some vivid examples of nostalgia in film and literature? [more inside]
Is there a reasonable English translation of Goethe's "The Sorrows of Young Werther" in the 1787 version? Thomas Carlyle and the nowadays authoritative translation by Burton Pike both used the 1774 version, but Goethe went thoroughly over it for his Complete Works. Online and printed editions fail in most cases to tell the version used. Can you recommend a book or even an online source?
Why do novelists use "________" in place of a character's name? [more inside]
I'm reading Richard Ford's A multitude of sins short stories collection, and I find it rather dull... (less powerful Raymond carver to me) but it seems that he's considered as a "master of the short story" (Esquire), "one of the country's best writers" (San Francisco chronicle)... Could you give me elements to modify my judgement ?
I am trying to get a better understanding of Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" **Spoiler Alert** [more inside]
What one book will allow others to gain the truest insight into the soul of each city or region [more inside]
What is the 19th Century illness that disfigures Esther Summerson of Dicken's Bleak House? [more inside]
Literature filter: Novels in the form of a first-person diary (day-by-day entries, or entries set against calendar dates). Can you name any good examples, particularly contemporary? I'm aware that it was relatively common format in earlier novels (for example, Dracula). [more inside]
I've just finished my first novel, now how do I revise this thing? [more inside]
Anybody know any good novels either about or a good chunk of which is set in the Caribbean? [more inside]
Everybody hates this, but I need help identifying a book so I can "rebuild" a preteen, YAL library... [more inside]
Has Finnegans Wake ever been translated? How?
Has anyone vastly improved -- or just changed -- someone else's already published writing by editing? [more inside]