There have been numerous novels inspired by Jane Austen’s 'Pride and Prejudice,' but Jo Baker’s depiction of what happens below stairs with the servants is the most intriguing yet. Lauren Elkin on a smart fan fiction.
Since its publication in 1813, and most especially in the past few decades, Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice has inspired numerous adaptations, faithful and eccentric: a number of film and television treatments, a couple of musicals, and by my count 171 novels ranging from 2009’s breakout hit Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to lesser-known titles like Pride and Platypus, Fitzwilliam Darcy: Rock Star, and Pride and Prejudice: the Jewess and the Gentile.
Will it finally be Haruki Murakami’s year? What about Svetlana Alexievich and Assia Djebar? If you’re wondering, ‘Who?’ we’ve got you covered with a primer on the top 10 likeliest Nobel Prize in Literature winners ahead of Thursday’s announcement. Plus, a gallery of the biggest Nobel snubs in history.
The sports betting site Ladbrokes opened its book on the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005 and since then has had a remarkable 50 percent accuracy rate. It correctly predicted the winner in 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011. This year, the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami once again has the shortest odds, but you might be unfamiliar with some of the other favorites. Here’s a primer on the 10 likeliest winners so you can study up before the prize is announced.
The 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature is expected to be announced Thursday, and readers are eagerly gearing up for it. But the award is never given posthumously, which creates a dilemma for members of the Swedish Academy: they face the constant risk of failing to honor the best authors of their time. From Joyce to Tolstoy to Woolf, here are some of the giants of literature who passed away before they could be made a laureate. Plus, a gallery of the all the winners since 2000.
John Freeman, the former editor of Granta and author of the new book ‘How to Read a Novelist,’ knows his literary reviews—he has written for almost 200 publications around the world. He picks his favorite books of criticism, from Updike to Edwidge Danticat.
Hugging the Shore by John Updike. For 20 months, between marriages, John Updike lived alone in Boston, “my foam-rubber reading chair three paces from my dining table and two paces from my bed.” Hugging the Shore, Updike’s fourth collection of assorted prose, grew out of this period, and shows what marvelous things can be done with readerly solitude. Filled with travel pieces on Venezuela, essays on going barefoot, and reviews of an astonishing array of writers, from Ngugi wa Thiong’o to Buchi Emecheta to V.
Study says it improves empathy.
Your high school English teacher was right. A study by psychologists David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano of the New School for Social Research claims that reading literary fiction augments our ability to detect and understand emotions. Kidd and Castano randomly assigned 1,000 participants some texts to read, either portions of popular fiction such as Danielle Steel or Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, or more literary texts, such as Téa Obreht’s The Tiger's Wife, Don DeLillo, or Anton Chekhov. They then used a series of tests to measure empathy—in other words, how accurately they could identify emotions in others. Scores were consistently higher for those who read literary fiction. The scientists were careful not to entirely dismiss the more popular authors, saying, “There are likely benefits of reading popular fiction—certainly entertainment. We just did not measure them.”
As Anastasia’s mother.
So there will also be plot in the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Actress Jennifer Ehle has been cast in the Fifty Shades film adaptation as Anastasia Steele’s mother, her rep confirmed Monday. Wait, there are parts of Fifty Shades that aren’t straight-up S&M? Who knew? She joins Dakota Johnson, who plays the heroine, and Charlie Human, who plays 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey.
Her book is released Tuesday.
Elizabeth Smart’s new book tells “what it was like every single day” of the nine months that she was held by two religious fanatics, she told Anderson Cooper on Monday. Now 25, Smart was abducted by Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Brazee, when Smart was just 14, and was held for nine months and raped and abused constantly. Smart’s book on the kidnapping will be released Tuesday. “I didn’t want to go 10 percent and sugarcoat the rest,” Smart said. “I want to reach out to those survivors and those victims. I want them to know that these things do happen, but that doesn’t mean you have to be defined by it for the rest of your life.”
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia believes in the devil. Do you? Religion professor Candida Moss on why the justice’s admission is common—and what the Bible says about devilry.
In an interview in New York Magazine, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia declared that he believes the Devil is a “real person.” Scalia went on to say—in a statement reminiscent of Baudelaire and The Usual Suspects—that the Devil is actively engaged in “getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.” Many, like Scalia’s interviewer, were surprised by his boldness. But the feisty and controversial Justice is on sure footing when he says that this is “standard Catholic doctrine.
The left today shouldn’t look to John F. Kennedy as a liberal pioneer. James L. Swanson and Michael F. Bishop on what the assassinated president really stood for.
Peter Beinart, in “The Rise of the New New Left,” makes a number of interesting and gloomy observations about voting patterns among millennials. But in the course of an otherwise enlightening article, he misrepresents the legacy of one of the most popular American presidents.In a discussion of “political generations” inspired by the work of the sociologist Karl Mannheim, Beinart asserts: “If you are in your late 50s, you are probably too young to remember the high tide of Kennedy-Johnson big government liberalism.
Are you a football fan? This one book will change the way you view the NFL and the price players pay for your enjoyment and dollars. Kevin Fixler on why he can’t watch a game the same way anymore.
I'm unable to watch football these days as I used to. I desperately wish I could, but I just can't. And after you finish reading this book, you won't be able to either. The book is League of Denial, from brothers Mark Fainaru-Wada (co-author of Game of Shadows) and Steve Fainaru (2008 recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting), and it is one that the National Football League probably wishes was never written. The book explores the football factory that was the city of Pittsburgh, why it became the epicenter of the NFL's concussion crisis, and how an improbable character by chance flicked the first domino to set off a devastating chain reaction with which the league is still grappling.
In the tradition of recent psychological thrillers, Fiona McFarlane’s new novel 'The Night Guest' unwraps the breakdown of a woman’s mind. Andrea Walker raves.
The unreliable narrator is a staple of recent psychological thrillers, from Gillian Flynn to S.J. Watson to Tana French. In these novels characters are untrustworthy because they are psychopaths, because they have amnesia, or because they are recovering from PTSD, respectively. Fiona McFarlane puts a distinctive and subtle twist on this trend, with results that are no less gripping. Her main character is a seventy-five-year-old woman, widowed, living alone in a remote beach town in Australia.
Two masters of the crime novel have new works: Jo Nesbo’s ‘Police’ and George Pelecanos’s ‘The Double.’
Police by Jo Nesbo. After starring in nine of Jo Nesbo’s novels, Harry Hole, a talented, troubled detective, needs a break from the violent world his author created for him. Oslo’s chill, humanity’s evil, and a violent, unsolved crime that struck too close to home had made this world seem too much like a nightmare. When he finally surfaces in Police, midway through the story, colleagues notice the laugh lines around his eyes, how happy and rested he seems.
After leading education reform for many years as a public official, education historian, and blogger, Diane Ravitch has emerged as one of the leading opponents of the movement. Ravitch, author of the new book ‘Reign of Error,’ talks to Lauren Streib about how reform has become a cover for privatization.
In 1991, Diane Ravitch was appointed an assistant secretary of Education by President George H.W. Bush, becoming a leader in the education-reform movement for the next decade, when she championed the No Child Left Behind Act that was signed into law by George W. Bush in 2002. But when NCLB failed to produce the results she had hoped for and assessment tests began dominating policy, Ravitch made a 180-degree turn, and she has spent the last half-decade fighting an apostate’s battle.
A new book sheds light on the legendary war photographer’s work in the fashion industry. See iconic images.
You may know Lee Miller as the legendary photographer who captured World War II—but she had a long and fruitful career in the fashion world as well. Miller, who was born in 1907, was multi-faceted: “a war photographer and a fashion model, a Surrealist and a witness with a camera at the liberation of Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps,” writes Becky E. Conekin in her new book, Lee Miller in Fashion (out with Monacelli Press on October 8).
‘To me heaven would be a big bull ring,” the cocky, manly writer par excellence wrote to his good friend F. Scott Fitzgerald from Spain in 1925, and outlines his version of heaven would be—including a house where The New Republic would be used for toilet paper.
To F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1 July  Burguete, Navarra July 1—Dear Scott—We are going in to Pamplona tomorrow. Been trout fishing here. How are you? And how is Zelda? I am feeling better than I’ve ever felt—havent drunk any thing but wine since I left Paris. God it has been wonderful country. But you hate country. All right omit description of country. I wonder what your idea of heaven would be—A beautiful vacuum filled with wealthy monogamists, all powerful and members of the best families all drinking themselves to death.
A new book pulls back the veil on the widespread involvement of women in the Third Reich’s most murderous and brutal activities. An exclusive excerpt from Wendy Lower’s ‘Hitler’s Furies’.
The history of female killers—Hitler’s furies—during the Third Reich has been suppressed, overlooked, and under-researched. Given the ideological indoctrination of the young cohort of men and women who came of age in the Third Reich, their mass mobilization in the eastern campaign, and the culture of genocidal violence embedded in Nazi conquest and colonization, I deduced—as a historian, not a prosecutor—that there were plenty of women who killed Jews and other “enemies” of the Reich, more than had been documented during the war or prosecuted afterward.
How do the underdogs of the world like David beat a giant like Goliath? Malcolm Gladwell answers that question in his new book, and Thomas Flynn speed-reads it for you so you can talk about it at parties.
Chances are you’re going to get caught in a heated cocktail-party conversation in the next few weeks about Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. Gladwell is lucratively good at raising a very general question and presenting a slightly counterintuitive answer—just counterintuitive enough to not seem obvious. He wraps up the package neatly with selective stories, data, and research. Witness the mega-success of his books Outliers, The Tipping Point, Blink, and What the Dog Saw.
Urban explorer Bradley Garrett spoke to Josh Dzieza about the excitement and the pitfalls of poking around abandoned subway stations, skyscrapers, and other off-limits sectors of cities.
Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole a hundred years ago. Everest is littered with oxygen tanks and suffers from traffic jams. But exploration is still happening around the world. It’s just that some of the most interesting expeditions are now much closer to home—right in the heart of the city, in fact. And the challenges aren’t just physical but social and legal: security cameras, trespassing laws, and the common sense that tells you not to jump into sewer systems.
From Daniel Radcliffe’s struggle to shed the specter of Harry Potter to the NFL’s war on brain science, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.
"The Snowden Files" by John Lanchester, The Guardian. When the Guardian offered John Lanchester access to the GCHQ files, the journalist and novelist was initially unconvinced. But what the papers told him was alarming: that Britain is sliding towards an entirely new kind of surveillance society. "Harry Who?" by Susan Dominus, The New York Times Magazine. A masterful take on the celebrity profile follows Daniel Radcliffe’s anguished, frenetic, and even dark effort to rid himself of the specter of Harry Potter.
In 'Across the Ravaged Land,' Nick Brandt captures the stone remains of wildlife that Africa is losing. Nico Hines talks to the ex-Michael Jackson video director about his haunting new work.
Two thousand years ago, the stricken population of Pompeii was buried alive in the red-hot ash of Mount Vesuvius; the result was a preserved display of human suffering whose intensity has been unrivaled in the intervening centuries. Strolling along the shoreline of a lake in Tanzania’s desolate Rift Valley, Nick Brandt encountered a modern version of that haunting scene. The British photographer’s otherworldly portraits of those statuesque figures are recorded in Across the Ravaged Land, the climax to a trilogy of books mourning the destruction of wildlife that once dominated the great plains of Africa.
Report: Cohen to Write Ephron Bio
They were longtime friends.More
CHILL YOUR BONES
CBS Buys ‘Scary Stories’ Film
1980s children’s horror books.More
Oldest U.S. Book Sells for $14.1M
Printed in 1640.More
National Book Award Winners Announced
The Good Lord Bird takes fiction prize. More
STRIKE A POSE
Selfie Is Word of the Year
Beat out twerk, bitcoin.More
Author Barbara Park Dies
Wrote the “Junie B. Jones” series.More