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Critical Contexts for Writing : a reading list

I've been asked to put together a longish reading list for a BA Art/Literature module, and I'd love some ideas for texts outside my current knowledge. The list should cover a series of genres and contexts, with writing from, and about, the history and theory of art, journalism, academia, design, architecture and film. Writing on design and architecture are particularly outside my knowledge. What innovative and critically significant writings can you recommend across any of these subject areas? [more inside]
posted by 0bvious on Dec 14, 2012 - 8 answers

How the Other Half Lives (or, you know, Murders People)

Recommendations for fiction about the rich and all their trappings, imposters within that world, or stories where the mighty fell and then rose again? [more inside]
posted by dean winchester on Dec 12, 2012 - 27 answers

Blind me with science.

Help me discover recent 'Best Seller' scientific journal articles to read in 2013. [more inside]
posted by deludingmyself on Dec 10, 2012 - 5 answers

Where are the metasatirical horror novels?

I've been tasked to find metasatirical horror novels: horror novels (or short stories, I suppose) that explore, criticize and parody their own genre tropes. What are the prose equivalents of The Cabin in the Woods and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon?
posted by Faint of Butt on Nov 30, 2012 - 15 answers

World's Worst Dinner Parties

Examples of banquets/dinner parties gone horribly wrong? [more inside]
posted by Cash4Lead on Nov 27, 2012 - 37 answers

who uses fUnNy gRaPhIcaL cOnVenTiOnS??!$%?

I am looking for examples of authors who have used unconventional graphical conventions in their work, published in traditional dead-tree form (books, magazines etc.). Excluding graphic novels, comics etc. Obvious example would be e.e. cummings using lower case; perhaps other poets who use text unconventionally. but novels? There's the big S at the start of Joyce's Ulysses. But what authors have exploited the graphical possibilities of the printed medium in an extensive way? thanks.
posted by cogneuro on Nov 27, 2012 - 46 answers

What happened to Sauron's other rings?

TolkienFilter: What happened to the rings Sauron gave to the elves, dwarves, and men?
posted by Egg Shen on Nov 24, 2012 - 13 answers

Tell me the stories of San Francisco...and help me tell others!

Help me teach the stories of San Francisco! [more inside]
posted by guster4lovers on Nov 23, 2012 - 27 answers

What are my options for doing a PhD long distance?

What are my options for doing a PhD long distance? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Nov 17, 2012 - 11 answers

Short stories sought

Recommend me up some short stories. Inside, I'll tell you what I likes and what I don't likes. [more inside]
posted by !Jim on Nov 15, 2012 - 39 answers

Helplessness at a busy crosswalk

Can you help me identify a 25+ year-old short story that describes someone unable to cross a city street? [more inside]
posted by argonauta on Nov 13, 2012 - 10 answers

Influential manifestos?

The Communist Manifesto. The 95 Theses. The Cluetrain Manifesto. Dogme 95. What are some other influential manifestos, political, religious, sociological, artistic, or otherwise, either past or present?
posted by shivohum on Nov 7, 2012 - 50 answers

The Great Re-Education

I realized recently that as a college graduate with a B.A. in Philosophy, i know absolutely nothing. I want to educate myself in classic literature, great music (folk, jazz, classical), philosophy, poetry, and art. Where should i begin? The project seems overwhelming to me. I'm throwing out the TV and i want to occupy my time with material that will help me grow as an individual. Any ideas? Suggestions?
posted by hiddenknives on Nov 4, 2012 - 21 answers

Interpreting film and literature -- is it meant to be confusing?

In film and literature, how does one deal with the smorgasbord of themes and lack of a single, unifying meaning? [more inside]
posted by archagon on Nov 4, 2012 - 17 answers

Why is George Jean Nathan the only person in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five whose death does not merit a "So it goes"?

Why is George Jean Nathan the only person in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five whose death does not merit a "So it goes"? [more inside]
posted by straight on Oct 26, 2012 - 6 answers

Nothing on my bookshelf was written by a woman. Help!

I looked at my bookshelf recently. Nearly every writer on there is dead and male. I should rectify this. Which books by women, living or dead, might I like? Details inside. [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Oct 24, 2012 - 52 answers

Hybrid story-essay works?

Kierkegaard's Either/Or, Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, Nathalie Sarraute's Tropisms, Roland Barthes' A Lover's Discourse - what other authors or works consist of this kind of smattering collection of short, plotless, hybrid essay-prose poems?
posted by shivohum on Oct 16, 2012 - 18 answers

Celebrating the Death of Arthur

Has anyone ever written an Arthurian novel with the Round Table as the bad guys? I am specifically *not* talking about books from the perspective of Mordred or Morgaine (or any of their cognates.) There are lots and lots of those. [more inside]
posted by restless_nomad on Oct 13, 2012 - 7 answers

I guess some people really do read it for the articles.

Asking for a friend: what is this bawdy folk-ish story involving a criminal, a judge, the judge's wife, and forced sex with a goat? [more inside]
posted by Bardolph on Oct 11, 2012 - 0 answers

Is it ok if I just eat the blossoms

What are your tricks specific to getting through tough literature? [more inside]
posted by skrozidile on Sep 24, 2012 - 31 answers

Writers of fiction are smart peoples and they knows stuff

How does a writer like Kim Stanley Robinson, or any writer for that matter, obtain and integrate the vast amounts of knowledge necessary to create a fully detailed and realistic world on the page? [more inside]
posted by Che boludo! on Sep 22, 2012 - 17 answers

Looking for a book to last me a month

I'm going to be spending the next few months backpacking in the wilderness. I'm looking for 1-2 long books that would both be a great read and would last most of the trip if possible. [more inside]
posted by aleatorictelevision on Sep 16, 2012 - 37 answers

Help me identify this short story

What's the story where the guy talks to a bunch of dead people and then finds out he's dead? [more inside]
posted by nzero on Sep 15, 2012 - 12 answers

Looking for classic children's literature to read to my class of five year olds

Please recommend me classic children's literature to read aloud to five-year-olds. [more inside]
posted by schmoo on Sep 15, 2012 - 32 answers

Memes and Themes: Best bits of children's picture books?

Looking for lists of memes, themes and repeated elements in children's stories that I can use in entirely new stories I'm making up for actual children. [more inside]
posted by booksherpa on Sep 13, 2012 - 8 answers

I want examples of many different fictional companies and products from literature!

I want examples of many different fictional companies and products from literature! [more inside]
posted by Cantdosleepy on Sep 6, 2012 - 28 answers

What is this thin, elusive book called?

Need help identifying book. [more inside]
posted by mr.marx on Sep 5, 2012 - 2 answers

Fantasy novels with enchanted guns/weapons?

What fantasy/SF/steampunk/cyberpunk novels feature guns or other modern or futuristic weapons with enchantments or magical effects on them?
posted by shivohum on Sep 4, 2012 - 16 answers

Background reading for Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day

Another book recommendation question. I'm looking for a few general history books to read as preparation for diving into Thomas Pynchon's "Against the Day". [more inside]
posted by Lorin on Sep 4, 2012 - 9 answers

Great fight scenes from literature

I'm looking for great fight scenes from literature. I've seen the questions on fight scenes from movies and I'm not looking for those (or TV or comics). Books only, please (I suppose plays count, but you can safely assume I'm familiar with every fight scene from Shakespeare). [more inside]
posted by zanni on Aug 28, 2012 - 25 answers

Paging Dr. Freud--and his 21st century medical school reading list.

Paging Dr. Freud--and his 21st century medical school reading list. [more inside]
posted by availablelight on Aug 21, 2012 - 10 answers

Good books about a bad thing.

Looking for good books on cancer. [more inside]
posted by Stagger Lee on Aug 20, 2012 - 6 answers

What's it like to live in Shanghai from a native's perspective?

Recommendations for Chinese literature that presents average Chinese citizens in context of a modern Chinese urban setting [more inside]
posted by TheOtherSide on Aug 12, 2012 - 4 answers

The Best of Contemporary Literary Characters

Please help me find contemporary literary/fictional characters that make you want to love them, hate them, or -- even better -- both. [more inside]
posted by GnomeChompsky on Aug 2, 2012 - 44 answers

Authors like Ian McEwan?

In what literary tradition is the work of Ian McEwan? Which authors, past or present, are stylistically related?
posted by shivohum on Jul 31, 2012 - 9 answers

Looking for South African novel

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!
posted by Tom-B on Jul 17, 2012 - 10 answers

stories about working for yourself; achieving success.

stories about working for yourself; (fearing and achieving) success. [more inside]
posted by ebesan on Jul 16, 2012 - 4 answers

What to read after P.G. Wodehouse?

Now that I've worked my way through P.G. Wodehouse (I think, some books have different titles so it is difficult to keep track), what should I read for laughs? I like to read books that are so funny that I laugh out loud. For years, that was P.G. Wodehouse (and Saki). I've now read those novels and stories too many times. I need to leave them for a few years. What should I read now?
posted by Area Man on Jul 15, 2012 - 79 answers

Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?

What are some rhyming kids' books (4-7 yrs) that are actually enjoyable for the poetry, as well as the story and pictures? [more inside]
posted by Bardolph on Jul 13, 2012 - 25 answers

Looking for specific gay erotica that's vanished

Looking for a gay erotic short story that I read a few years ago [more inside]
posted by soulsteelgray on Jul 1, 2012 - 2 answers

Guns aren't lawful; Nooses give; Gas smells awful; You might as well live -- And Other Inspirations.

I'm doing research for an artistic work exploring the theme of suicide, and I seek 1) a particular recent article arguing that life is not worth living and 2) the most provocative, interesting works on suicide from artistic, philosophical, social science, journalistic, religious or medical perspectives. [more inside]
posted by reren on Jun 30, 2012 - 9 answers

Postcards for the Pokey

My little brother is currently in jail, and will likely be staying there or in a similar facility for quite a while. He is only allowed to receive postcards, and softcover books mailed from Amazon or B&N. If either of these items violate the byzantine regulations (details contained within), they will not reach him. What are some creative things that are basically just pieces of paper (no paint, stickers, double layers, etc) I can send as postcards? What are some books that won’t be taken away for sex, drug, gang, etc content you’d recommend for a 23 year old male who never really read for pleasure, recently earned his GED, and likes Hunter S. Thompson? [more inside]
posted by Juliet Banana on Jun 28, 2012 - 100 answers

If only literary inference was axiomatic...

How do I get better at reading literature? Looking for books, lectures, and your perspective. [more inside]
posted by dragonfruit on Jun 25, 2012 - 23 answers

I am a sick man... I am a wicked man.

I'm looking for examples of and quotes about cowards and wretches in film, literature, philosophy, and painting. [more inside]
posted by outlandishmarxist on Jun 12, 2012 - 17 answers

What the hell is "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" trying to say?

Alright guys. I just finished Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. [more inside]
posted by Tevin on Jun 11, 2012 - 25 answers

Books with characters who know they're characters?

What books feature characters who realize that they are characters in a book, or related concepts of that sort?
posted by shivohum on Jun 7, 2012 - 50 answers

What conveys the importance of marriage and/or love in approximately 1-3 minutes?

Wedding readings filter... I realize this has been asked before, but new members are constantly being added and new material is constantly being generated, plus there's always a bit of individual nuance. In short, I'm looking for an entirely non-religious wedding reading for a humanist ceremony. A few more details inside. [more inside]
posted by slide on May 26, 2012 - 14 answers

help queer my summer reading list please!

What are some great (somewhat) recently released novels/books/memoirs with queer/LGBTQ themes or characters? [more inside]
posted by kylej on May 23, 2012 - 31 answers

What is the ultimate mashup of science and belief/religion?

I'm looking for a book that is essentially a mashup of behavioral economics, social psychology, neuroscience, wisdom/bible literature, and mythology. [more inside]
posted by Slacker Manager on May 23, 2012 - 13 answers

Should an 11 year old read Kafka?

Is Franz Kafka to intense to give to an 11 year boy? [more inside]
posted by senseofsurreal on May 10, 2012 - 32 answers

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