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The Secret to Making Your Brain Learn a New Language Fast

You’ve always wanted to learn a new language. In fact, it’s top three in your bucket list. You were originally encouraged because everybody selling …

Language

The Unsaid: The Silence of Virginia Woolf

<i>This essay is from an introduction to a new Italian translation, by Anna Nadotti, of “To the Lighthouse,” which will be published later this month by Einaudi.</i><p>Here is where the artist Adeline Virginia Stephen was born. She lived in this house, at 22 Hyde Park Gate, in west London, for the first …

Literature

Vladimir Nabokov’s Passionate Love Letters to Véra and His Affectionate Bestiary of Nicknames for Her

Long before <b>Vladimir Nabokov</b> (April 22, 1899–July 2, 1977) became a sage of literature, Russia’s most prominent literary émigré, and a man of widely revered strong opinions, the most important event of his life took place: 24-year-old Vladimir met 21-year-old Véra. She would come to be not only his …

Virginia Woolf on How to Read a Book

<i>“The mind, the brain, the top of the tingling spine, is, or should be, the only instrument used upon a book,”</i> Vladimir Nabokov wrote in his treatise on what makes a good reader. <i>“Part of a reader’s job is to find out why certain writers endure,”</i> advised Francine Prose in her guide to reading like a …

50 Books Guaranteed to Make You More Interesting

Everybody out there could stand to be a little more interesting. Yes, even you, trilingual lion-tamer astrophysicist reader. And you know what makes …

Books

The Day Dostoyevsky Discovered the Meaning of Life in a Dream

One November night in the 1870s, legendary Russian writer <b>Fyodor Dostoyevsky</b> (November 11, 1821–February 9, 1881) discovered the meaning of life in a dream — or, at least, the protagonist in his final short story did. The piece, which first appeared in the altogether revelatory <b>A Writer’s Diary</b></i> …

How to Read Intelligently and Write a Great Essay: Robert Frost’s Letter of Advice to His Young Daughter

“The sidelong glance is what you depend on.”<p><i>“Only a person who is congenitally self-centered has the effrontery and the stamina to write essays,”</i> E.B. White wrote in the foreword to his collected essays. Annie Dillard sees things almost the opposite way, insisting that essayists perform a public …

How to Read a Book | The Art of Manliness

1. Open book.<p>2. Read words.<p>3. Close book.<p>4. Move on to next book.<p>Reading a book seems like a pretty straightforward task, doesn’t it? And in some …

Why Men Should Read Fiction | The Art of Manliness

Theory of mind isn’t something that we’re born knowing how to do. Children start developing theory of mind around three or four years old. Until …

The 10 Greatest Books Ever, According to 125 Top Authors (Download Them for Free)

Earlier this month, we highlighted The 10 Greatest Films of All Time According to 846 Film Critics. Featuring films by Hitchcock, Kubrick, Welles and …

Paris Review - Italo Calvino, The Art of Fiction No. 130

Interviewed by William Weaver, Damien Pettigrew<p>Issue 124, Fall 1992<p>Upon hearing of Italo Calvino’s death in September of 1985, John Updike commented, “Calvino was a genial as well as brilliant writer. He took fiction into new places where it had never been before, and back into the fabulous and …

Literature

Paris Review - Jeffrey Eugenides, The Art of Fiction No. 215

Interviewed by James Gibbons<p>Issue 199, Winter 2011<p>At the MacDowell Colony in 1994.<p>Born in Detroit in 1960, Jeffrey Eugenides lived through the city’s last glory years as the heart of the American auto industry. His first two novels, <i>The Virgin Suicides</i> (1993) and <i>Middlesex</i> (2002), are rooted in …

Literature

Nevermore

By Sadie Stein October 3, 2014<p>The frontispiece from <i>Edgar Allan Poe: A Centenary Tribute</i>, 1910.<p>On October 3, 1849, a delirious Edgar Allan Poe was found in a Baltimore ditch dressed in clothes that were, reportedly, not his own. He died four days later at Washington Medical College. There are …

Paris Review - Umberto Eco, The Art of Fiction No. 197

Interviewed by Lila Azam Zanganeh<p>Issue 185, Summer 2008<p>The first time I called Umberto Eco, he was sitting at his desk in his seventeenth-century manor in the hills outside Urbino, near the Adriatic coast of Italy. He sang the virtues of his <i>bellissima</i> swimming pool, but suspected I might have …

Literature

Paris Review - Paul Auster, The Art of Fiction No. 178

Interviewed by Michael Wood<p>Issue 167, Fall 2003<p>In 1985, after seventeen New York publishers had rejected <i>City of Glass</i>, the lead novella in The New York Trilogy, it was published by Sun and Moon Press in San Francisco. The other two novellas, <i>Ghosts</i> and <i>The Locked Room</i>, came out the next year. Paul …

Literature

Paris Review - Haruki Murakami, The Art of Fiction No. 182

Interviewed by John Wray<p>Issue 170, Summer 2004<p>The author at his jazz club, Peter Cat, in 1978.<p>Haruki Murakami is not only arguably the most experimental Japanese novelist to have been translated into English, he is also the most popular, with sales in the millions worldwide. His greatest novels …

Literature

Paris Review - Jonathan Franzen, The Art of Fiction No. 207

Interviewed by Stephen J. Burn<p>Issue 195, Winter 2010<p>Jonathan Franzen’s fiction bears the mark of a Midwest upbringing, his books preoccupied with quiet lives nurtured there and broken apart by contact with the rest of the world. But four long novels into an unusually public ­career, Franzen now …

Literature

Paris Review - Alice Munro, The Art of Fiction No. 137

Interviewed by Jeanne McCulloch and Mona Simpson<p>Issue 131, Summer 1994<p>There is no direct flight from New York City to Clinton, Ontario, the Canadian town of three thousand where Alice Munro lives most of the year. We left LaGuardia early on a June morning, rented a car in Toronto, and drove for …

Literature

Paris Review - Jack Kerouac, The Art of Fiction No. 41

Interviewed by Ted Berrigan<p>Issue 43, Summer 1968<p>Jack Kerouac, ca. 1956. Photograph by Tom Palumbo<p>The Kerouacs have no telephone. Ted Berrigan had contacted Kerouac some months earlier and had persuaded him to do the interview. When he felt the time had come for their meeting to take place, he …

Literature

Paris Review - Don DeLillo, The Art of Fiction No. 135

Interviewed by Adam Begley<p>Issue 128, Fall 1993<p>Don DeLillo, ca. 2011. Photograph by Thousandrobots<p>A man who’s been called “the chief shaman of the paranoid school of American fiction” can be expected to act a little nervous.<p>I met Don DeLillo for the first time in an Irish restaurant in Manhattan, …

Literature

Paris Review - Vladimir Nabokov, The Art of Fiction No. 40

Interviewed by Herbert Gold<p>Issue 41, Summer-Fall 1967<p>Vladimir Nabokov in 1967.<p>Vladimir Nabokov lives with his wife Véra in the Montreux Palace Hotel in Montreux, Switzerland, a resort city on Lake Geneva which was a favorite of Russian aristocrats of the last century. They dwell in a connected …

Literature

What’s everyone reading on the London Underground?

Books

How to buy rare books the right way

A chance encounter with a rare book changed the course of Subbiah Yadalam’s life.<p>Though Yadalam had been an avid book buyer since he was 10, he stumbled across a book at the Bangalore Club library in 2004, which opened up a world he never knew existed.<p>Castes and Tribes of Southern India, a …

Books

18 Common Words That You Should Replace in Your Writing

It’s a familiar scene: you’re slumped over your keyboard or notebook, obsessing over your character. While we tend to agonize over everything from …

Read 14 Great Banned & Censored Novels Free Online: For Banned Books Week 2014

We well know of the most famous cases of banned books: James Joyce’s <i>Ulysses</i>, Henry Miller’s <i>Tropic of Cancer</i>, Allen Ginsberg’s <i>Howl</i>. In fact, a full 46 …

Readers Predict in 1936 Which Novelists Would Still Be Widely Read in the Year 2000

Few know as much about our incompetence at predicting our own future as Matt Novak, author of the site Paleofuture, "a blog that looks into the …

What Is the Price of Perfect Equality?

Some of the best analyses lie not in the field of economics, but in books like The Giver—dystopian tales sitting on shelves marked Young Adult.<p>The world is an increasingly unequal and unfair place, economists tell us. Every year, it becomes a little harder to picture what equal opportunity and …

5 Stunning Novels For Language Lovers

Ben Lerner's <i>10:04</i> has garnered praise for the author's psychological insight and deft wielding of words -- poet Maggie Smith called the writer's skills "intellectual, aesthetic, and empathetic." His focus on language could be owed to his background as a poet, and continuing interest in poetry -- …