John Danchisko

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To Kill a Mockingbird: too simple a moral tale?

After last month's encounter with DH Lawrence, it's a relief to come to a book that is as easy to like as it is to admire. Easy, in fact, to love. I …

Southbank Literature festival celebrates Martin Luther King and Mandela

Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech, the life of Nelson Mandela and the writing of Albert Camus are among the subjects of special events at the Southbank Centre's Autumn Literature season.<p>The historic 1963 speech of Martin Luther King, the achievements of Nelson Mandela and the literary …

Black History

The Greatest American Novel? 9 Experts Share Their Opinions

For 'Star-Spangled Banner,' A Long Road From Song To Anthem

All over the country on Thursday, fireworks will light up the sky. In many places, those fireworks will come with a patriotic soundtrack — one that wouldn't be complete without "The Star-Spangled Banner." The song officially became America's national anthem in 1931, but it's been around since the …

Quiz: are you smart enough to pass the US citizenship exam?

Topics<p>US Congress<br>• Opinion<p>US constitution and civil liberties<br>• US supreme court<br>• History<br>• US politics<br>• quizzes<p>Reuse this content

Steven Spielberg eyes Grapes of Wrath

Steven Spielberg is set to acquire the rights to John Steinbeck novel The Grapes of Wrath, with a view to producing a new film adaptation for …

Shakespeare identity debate reignited with TV challenge

The perennial dispute over Shakespeare's true identity has been reignited after Alexander Waugh threw down a challenge for Shakespeare scholars to …

The greatest literary takedowns of all time

Attacks on literature’s sacred cows are nothing new. Here are some of the most memorable<p>It has been a season of literary takedowns, but then it usually is. You can always get a rise out of the otherwise lethargic reading public by launching an offensive against one of its icons. In the past two …

“The Lottery” Letters

When Shirley Jackson’s story “The Lottery” was first published, in the June 26, 1948, issue of this magazine, Miriam Friend was a young mother living in Roselle, New Jersey, with her husband, a chemical engineer who worked on the Manhattan Project. An exact contemporary of Jackson’s—both women were …

‘Animal Farm’: What Orwell Really Meant

<i>Following is an excerpt from a letter from George Orwell to Dwight Macdonald, written in December 1946, soon after the publication of</i> Animal Farm <i>in</i> …

The Books Flavorwire Staffers Read Too Early – Flavorwire

Earlier this week, writer Matthue Roth published <i>My First Kafka: Runaways, Rodents, and Giant Bugs</i>, a collection of Kafka stories re-told for …

rereading the best courtroom dramas

In the summer of 2011, I sat through every day of a murder trial at the Central Criminal Court, at London's Old Bailey, as research for my new novel. …

Jeannette Walls: ‘You don’t need the literary world’

Jeannette Walls, one of the bestselling authors of recent years, is best known for memoir, especially <i>The Glass Castle</i>, her indelible account of growing up in a poor, dysfunctional family. With her new book, <i>The Silver Star</i>, she turns fully to fiction, though, as she recounts here, her work is still …

Must Every New Coming-of-Age Novel Be 'the Next Catcher in the Rye?'

For decades, reviewers and readers have eagerly compared works of fiction about young people to J.D. Salinger's 1951 classic—which is more apt in some cases than in others.<p>Free Press; Little, Brown and Company; Penguin<p>In April, <i>Publishers Weekly</i> endorsed Ben Lytal's latest novel, <i>A Map of Tulsa</i>, by …

RT @SAtechnoChic: This was so much fun! I know my students would love this for writing Lego Story Starter. #iste13 http://t.co/MopI1YMxXr

Author Richard Matheson, 'I Am Legend' Writer, Dies At 87

Author Richard Matheson, whose injection of humanity into science-fiction tales engaged audience for more than five decades, has died. Matheson's work included <i>The Shrinking Man</i>, <i>I Am Legend</i>, and numerous other movie and TV scripts, including episodes of <i>The Twilight Zone</i>.<p>Matheson was 87. His death …

14 Things We Learned From Stephen King’s Reddit AMA

Last night, everyone’s favorite multitasking, hyper-prolific author/producer/actor/director/screenwriter Stephen King joined the folks over at Reddit …

Recognizing That Poets Don't Peak Early: T.S. Eliot Reads Shakespeare

T.S. Eliot was the quintessential conceptual young genius. He published "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," the most frequently anthologized American poem of the 20th century, at the age of 23, and <i>The Waste Land</i>, which many consider the most influential poem of the century, at 34. Younger poets …

This column will change your life: what's so wrong about giving up on a book?

It's the season of "beach reads" and Best Summer Books lists – and thus, also, the season for the re-emergence of the perennial question of when, if …

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

For 20 years, Stephen King has had an image stuck in his head: It's a boy in a wheelchair flying a kite on a beach. "It wanted to be a story, but it wasn't a story," he tells <i>Fresh Air's</i> Terry Gross. But little by little, the story took shape around the image — and focused on an amusement park …

It's a Brave New World, We Just Live In It

George Orwell's name is being thrown around a lot these days. It should be Aldous Huxley's.<p>Almost immediately, the press invoked George Orwell to characterize the drama unfolding around Edward Snowden's revelation of PRISM, our National Security Administration's digitally omniscient domestic …

Academics will need both the physical and virtual library for years to come

Ask someone to describe an academic in the throes of research and there's a good chance that description will include a physical library (or at least …

The 50 Books Everyone Needs to Read, 1963-2013

The thing about reading is this: it takes a long time. There are innumerable books in the world, and many more good ones than can be read by any …

Books

How 8 Famous Writers Chose Their Pen Names

Scottish author Iain Banks died earlier this week after battling gall bladder cancer. With him died his <i>nom de plume</i> Iain M. Banks, under which he …

Sylvia Plath speaks to millennials

Fifty years after it first published, “The Bell Jar” has never seemed more prescient<p>In <i>Annie Hall</i>, the character of Alvy Singer quips, “Sylvia Plath, interesting poetess whose tragic suicide was misinterpreted as romantic by the college girl mentality.”<p>While Plath has been romanticized, to minimize …

The Silence Artist: On The Selected Letters of Willa Cather

<b>Willa Cather</b> did not want her letters published, ever. She could not have been clearer or more emphatic on this point. There is, then, a respectable …

'Salinger' Trailer: One of Literature's Most Famous Recluses, Uncovered – /Film

The trailer for <b>Salinger</b> plays like a great thriller, especially with the opening scene establishing the capture of one of very few photographs of …