"It had been agreed between them that lighted candles at wayside inns, in strange countries, amid mountain scenery, gave the evening meal a peculiar poetry such being the mild adventures, the refinements of impression, that they, as they would have said, went in for." —The Wings of the Dove, Henry James
Need a gift for that dyed-in-the-wool English major (current, former or future) in your life? Avoid shopping mall hell and check out our second annual (Twisted) Lit Lover’s Holiday Gift Guide, instead. You can check out last year’s suggestions here.
Charmed, I’m Sure: Out of Print Literary Necklaces
Out of Print’s new jewelry line is inspired by works like Alice In Wonderland, Moby Dick, To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby. We especially love these East and West Egg necklaces that have Jay and Daisy’s names on the corresponding backs!
Cover Up: Recovering the Classics Posters
Recovering the Classics’ crowdsourced compilation of redesigned classic book covers would make awesome wall art. (We could spend HOURS browsing). At just $20 for a poster, they’re a bargain, too!
Pillow Talk: Literary Bed Linens
Could anything inspire sweeter dreams than falling asleep between the pages of a book? This "Bedtime Stories" duvet cover is great, though we also are partial to these Shakespeare-inspired throws.
Bag It: Novel Creations’ Purses
The recycled book purses at this Novel Creations Etsy shop would be the perfect accessory to your favorite vintage outfit.
Well-Read Tree : Recycled Book Ornaments
You can feel good about purchasing these affordable ($6) ornaments from repurposed books like Jane Eyre, Gone With The Wind, Little Women and Sense and Sensibility. The Etsy seller has stated she will donate all proceeds from these ornaments to UNICEF’s typhoon Haiyan relief efforts.
Quoth The Raven: Get Warm
Is there a chill in the air….or is it only the words of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” on this cozy infinity scarf from The Literati Club? (also comes in Pride and Prejudice, Alice In Wonderland, The Master and Margarita and The Wizard of Oz.)
Body Count: Shakespeare C.S.I. Chart
Have yourself a morbid little Christmas with this "Shakespeare’s Tragedies: Everybody Dies" poster. You’ll never have trouble remembering which of the Bard’s characters kicked the bucket with this handy, hilarious visual reminder hanging on your wall.
Aristocratic Eats: The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook
Just because you can’t live like a Crawley doesn’t mean you can’t eat like one with the Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook. Includes more than 150 recipes, from Lady Mary’s Crab Canapes to Mrs. Patmore’s Christmas pudding. Whip up some of these delicious delicacies just in time for Season Four’s U.S. premiere on January 5. (Then invite us over for the viewing party!)
*Kim Askew and Amy Helmes are the authors of the Shakespeare-inspired Twisted Lit series of YA novels from Merit Press.
— Falstaff, Henry IV, Part 2.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! May you all be as sated as Falstaff by this evening.
The L.A. Times recently “talked turkey” (literally) about the L.A. Opera’s production of “Falstaff” and the legit food props required on stage each night (including a whole roast turkey that roasts backstage in an oven for five hours before show time!) — Amy
Nothing inspires me more than great literature and provocative prose, so here’s the most recent books to make it onto my very real 2013 holiday wish list. —Kim
1. The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton (NYRB)
Anything published by NYRB, obvs, but oh my: “…Dr. Johnson, Boswell reports, said it was the only book that he rose early in the morning to read with pleasure.”
2. My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead
MLIM “…takes the themes of Eliot’s masterpiece—the complexity of love, the meaning of marriage, the foundations of morality, and the drama of aspiration and failure—and brings them into our world.”
3. At Last by Edward St. Aubyn
The last of the of Patrick Melrose novels, I’m anxious to see how St. Aubyn concludes this disturbing, wonderfully written series.
4. The Looking Glass Brother by Peter von Ziegesar
"The Looking Glass Brother is a feast of memories from one of the last, great estates on Long Island’s Peacock Point. Summers were filled with the glistening water of the Long Island Sound, pristine beaches, croquet games, butlers in formal wear serving dinners and an endless stream of cocktails.”
5. Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures by Mary Ruefle
"No writer I know of comes close to even trying to articulate the weird magic of poetry as Ruefle does."
6. The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
"Take a dollop of Alfred Hitchcock, a dollop of Patricia Highsmith, throw in some Great Gatsby flourishes, and the result is Rindell’s debut, a pitch-black comedy about a police stenographer accused of murder in 1920s Manhattan….”
7. All Souls by Javier Marias
One of my favorite novelists, Spain’s Marias sets this “darkly comic” novel at Oxford.
8. He Died with His Eyes Open (Factory 1) by Derek Raymond
“Murders are a dime a dozen in Margaret Thatcher’s London, and when it comes to the brutal killing of a middle-aged alcoholic found dumped outside of town, Scotland Yard has more important cases to deal with.”
9. Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon
Pynchon, that’s “part noir, part psychedelic romp.”
10. The Devil and the Detective by John Goldbach
“Imagine The Big Sleep via Fernando Pessoa, with a side of Buster Keaton.” Um, yes, please.
These literary love letter napkins from Uncommon Goods are so sweet! Each one carries the complete text of a love letter written by the likes of Emily Dickinson, Jack London, Mark Twain or D. H. Lawrence. Would definitely spark some interesting dinner conversation, too!
The Pre-Raphaelite adoring college student in me is loving this new Vogue cover featuring Jessica Chastain. —Kim
Bottom: Flaming June by Frederic, Lord Leighton
For this week’s “Writer’s Life” Wednesday, we chat about naming our YA book series Twisted Lit. Enjoy!
Amy and I saw the ISC’s fun performance of Cyrano last Friday, and it prompted me to pull together some fun facts about one of my favorite plays—and the real-life duelist who inspired it.
1. Cyrano is set in the 17th century, but it was written in 1897 by the French poet Edmond Rostand.
2. Cyrano was a real person, a 17th c. French dramatist and duelist who combined science and romance in his works and is credited with writing early science fiction (yes, science fiction!).
3. The entire play was written in rhyming couplets of 12 syllables per line.
4. The play is responsible for introducing the word panache into the English language.
5. Writers influenced by the works of the real-life Cyrano include Jonathan Swift, Edgar Allan Poe, Voltaire, Corneille, and Molière.
Yes, it’s easy to get daunted by those lengthy tomes, but let’s face it: the dude really IS hilarious.