American Authors and Literature

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11 Things You Didn't Know About Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway took his life on this day, July 2, back in 1961.

Below are obscure facts about the novelist's life, pulled from old interviews and personal accounts by the writer.

1. Hemingway apparently once lived, got drunk and slept with a bear.

Former New Yorker staff writer Lillian Ross had a …

Ernest Hemingway

Judy Blume Knows All Your Secrets

I read “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” when I was around 10, hidden, as usual, in a big upholstered chair in a back corner of the house. In one of my favorite scenes, a sixth grader named Nancy is mad at her friend Gretchen, who has just gotten her period for the first time. Nancy thinks …

Judy Blume

Does Post-Apocalyptic Literature Have A (Non-Dystopian) Future?

The end of the world sure is taking a long time. Ever since the breakout success of Cormac McCarthy's 2006 novel The Road, America has been degraded, devastated, and decimated time and time again — at least, on the page. Granted, McCarthy didn't invent post-apocalyptic fiction. But he helped spark a …


5 Books That Changed My Perspective of the World

"What is your favorite book?"

I've been asked this question numerous times throughout my life. Even now as a 19-year-old college student, I find this question nearly impossible to answer. I've read hundreds of books in my lifetime; how can I pick just one as superior to all the others?

I think this …


'Welcome To Braggsville' Isn't Quite 'Invisible Man,' But It's Close

Here's only a partial list of great American writers whose names came to mind as I was reading T. Geronimo Johnson's new novel, Welcome to Braggsville: Tom Wolfe, Mark Twain, Toni Morrison, H.L. Mencken, Don DeLillo, David Foster Wallace, Norman Mailer and Ralph Ellison, Ralph Ellison, Ralph …


To Kill a Mockingbird: The first YA novel?

A poll once revealed Harper Lee’s book rivals The Bible in popularity in the US. University student Henry Knight explores why the young especially love it.

The news of Harper Lee’s impending second novel broke the internet. A flurry of tweets from anyone who has ever attended an American ‘middle …


15 Life-Changing Books You Can Read in a Day

Put down your device and celebrate National Reading Month with the best short books — all under 100 pages — literature has to offer

Page numbers vary by edition, but we’ve linked these titles to versions that clock in under 100 pages.

READ MORE: The 100 Best Young-Adult Novels of All Time



Ten books to read in March

Wuthering Heights

We’re Still Getting ‘Huck Finn’ Wrong

A new book reminds us that Mark Twain would absolutely hate winding up on approved reading lists. Like his most famous creation, Huck Finn, he took a dim view of civilization.

The quintessential American novel of rambunctious boyhood contains 13 dead bodies, numerous violent assaults and crimes, and …


In Richard Price's New Novel, Haunted Cops And Cases They Couldn't Close

Richard Price used a pseudonym for his new novel, The Whites, but in retrospect, he wishes he hadn't. "It was going to be different from my other books and I wanted to signal that," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. But by the time he realized it was just "another damn book by me" it was too late to …


Black History Month reading list: the best books this February

The Portable Malcolm X Reader (edited by Manning Marable and Garrett Felber)

As the 50th anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination approaches (21 February), this collection of essays, FBI files, newspaper articles and speeches offers a chance to see the controversial civil rights leader and black …


What if? Alternative history’s butterfly moments reach lift-off

With Ridley Scott’s adaptation of Philip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle now showing on Amazon, alternative history is hotter than ever. The Man in the High Castle was not the first alternative history novel, nor even the first Nazis-win-the-war novel, but it is still probably the most …

Historical Fiction

14 Books to Read This Black History Month

February is not only Black History Month, but it is also the month when many titles by Black authors are released. 2015 kicked off with a wide selections of books and stories to settle into. From history, to biography to great fiction storytelling here are a few gems to propose to your book …

9 Best Bets for This Month

Originally published on Kirkus

January is full of temporary doldrums: you have to pick yourself up from the holidays, trudge back to work and reckon with your goals and the time that’s passing by since everyone won’t stop talking about their New Year’s resolutions. Leave all that by the wayside with …

Book Reviews

6 Reasons 'Huck Finn' Is Not The Dusty Old Classic You Think It Is

If you read Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn back in high school, you were not alone: A 1992 report showed that 70 percent of all public school students, and 76 percent of all parochial students, were assigned Twain's classic. Few critics' lists of the 'greatest American novels' fail to …


The Best Biographies, Memoirs, and History Books of 2014

Nabokov’s love letters, Shackleton’s courageous journey, the unsung heroes behind creative icons, Joni Mitchell unbound, and more.

After the year’s best reads in science, children’s books, psychology and philosophy, and art, design, and photography, here come the finest memoirs, biographies, and …

26 Books to Buy Your Friends and Family


Who are the bestselling authors no-one has ever seen?

For reclusive authors such as JD Salinger, shying away from publicity has never harmed book sales. Lucy Scholes peeks into a secretive literary phenomenon.

In Alex Ross Perry’s latest film Listen Up Philip, Jason Schwartzman plays Philip Lewis Friedman, a moderately successful Brooklyn-based author …


Set In Appalachia, This Rewarding Story Collection Is 'Rich And Strange'

Expect to be good for nothing for a long time after you read Ron Rash. His writing is powerful, stripped down and very still: It takes you to a land apart, psychologically and geographically, since his fiction is set in Appalachia.

Thirty-four of Rash's best short stories from the past 20 years have …

Popular Fiction

Ten books to read in December

From the collected letters of Norman Mailer and Raymond Chandler to new novels by Haruki Murakami and José Saramago, Jane Ciabattari picks the best new reads.

Haruki Murakami

10 Books That Shaped Our Teenage Years

Let me begin with this: The kind of YA (Young Adult) books that are marketed to teens these days (think The Hunger Games) didn’t exist when we boomers were in our teens.

In fact, I’d argue that the first actual YA book wasn’t published until 1967. I’m thinking specifically of The Outsiders by the …


This Is the Water by Yannick Murphy

Much has been made of Yannick Murphy’s exclusive use of the second-person present (“You do this, you do that”) in her newest novel, This Is the Water, …

Popular Fiction

Superstorm Sandy Inspires Bleak, Poetic Landscapes In 'Let Me Be Frank'

It's such a goofy title. Let Me Be Frank with You is the latest installment in the odyssey of Frank Bascombe, the New Jersey Everyman Richard Ford introduced almost 30 years ago in his novel, The Sportswriter. Two more Frank Bascombe novels followed, and now this: a brilliant collection of four …


This Week in Fiction: Dave Eggers

“The Alaska of Giants and Gods,” your story in this week’s issue, is about a woman who shows up in Alaska with her two kids, determined to find someone bold, someone of substance. When did you first think of setting a story in Alaska?

Josie, the protagonist of the story, wants to get some distance …

Dave Eggers

Why The Caged Bird Raps

Maya Angelou: poet, singer, dancer, painter, Grammy winner — and now, hip-hop artist.

The new album Caged Bird Songs takes its title from Angelou's 1969 book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. One of the last projects Angelou worked on before her passing in May, it blends some of her most famous poems …

Maya Angelou

David Cronenberg’s First Novel Is So Good, He Should Ditch His Day Job

On the evidence of this superb debut novel and his last two films (the overegged Cosmopolis and the curate’s egg that is Maps to the Stars), David …

David Cronenberg

The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder Is Finally Published 85 Years Later

(Continued from Page 1)

Despite flashes of the risqué, however, Pioneer Girl is ultimately a very gentle story, and not a radical departure from the …

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Is Stephen King a great writer?

He’s one of the best-selling authors of all time but his work doesn’t get much respect from the literary establishment. Jane Ciabattari asks if that’s fair.

Stephen King has had an uncanny ability to hit the commercial bull’s-eye from the beginning of his career. In the 40 years since his first …


Stephen King On Growing Up, Believing In God And Getting Scared

Hear The Original Interview

"The more carny it got, the better I liked it," King says of his new thriller, Joyland. The book, set in a North Carolina amusement park in 1973, is part horror novel and part supernatural thriller. King talks with Fresh Air's Terry Gross about his career writing horror, …

Stephen King