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What Kind of Girl Reads Not That Kind of Girl?

Lena Dunham's hotly anticipated memoir Not That Kind of Girl hit shelves less than 48 hours ago. It's exciting. People have been waiting for this for a while. I bet you've already bought it. (I absolutely already bought it.) I bet you've bought it, taken a reading selfie, and already posted it to Instagram, haven't you, sheeple? 

It's okay, the latest selfie trend, Woman With Lena Dunham's Memoir, is actually quite helpful in answering the question: What kind of girl is reading Not That Kind of Girl?

Read More  »

8 Books You Need to Read This October

Each month, Boris Kachka will offer nonfiction and fiction book recommendations, and you should read as many of them as possible.

In a landscape littered with rock stars’ literary larks, the Mountain Goats front man stands out. »

Gillian Flynn on 30 Rock, Flowers in the Attic, and 19 Other Things That Have Influenced Her Work

On Friday, after months of rabid speculation over its ending, the film adaptation of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl (read our review here) will be released in theaters. Flynn, who also wrote the screenplay, spoke with Vulture about the movies, paintings and books that have influenced her career (and the ending of Gone Girl).

As far as I’m concerned, Tina Fey was doing her own “cool girl” riff on 30 Rock every week. »

The 11 Worst Batman Villains

If there’s one thing that promotions for Gotham, Fox’s new Batman prequel series, want you to know, it’s this: Sure, we might not have Batman, but we have so many of his famous rogues gallery. The pilot alone — which coincided with Batman's 75th birthday this year (really, he doesn’t look a day over 35, but to be fair, that cowl covers up a lot of his face) — features versions of the Penguin, the Riddler, Catwoman, and mob boss Carmine Falcone; with three quarters of a century's worth of comics, movies, and TV shows at their disposal, producers have hundreds more bad guys (no, really) to choose from for future episodes.

But not every villain the Dark Knight has faced is worth translating to television. Any series that’s been around for 75 years is sure to have had its share of off moments, and with literally thousands of Batman comics published during that time, there are plenty of adventures he would like to forget. If any of the following guys show up in Gotham, you can rest assured that the bottom of the barrel is very, very close to being scraped.

Picture young Jim Gordon chasing after a man with a massive kite strapped to his back. »

  • Posted 9/29/14 at 5:40 PM
  • Books

Lena Dunham Will Pay Her Book-Tour Volunteers After All

Consider this micro-scandal squashed: Hours after Gawker raised a stink, Lena Dunham announced that she would in fact pay the local artists working as warm-up acts on her upcoming book tour. "As an artist raised by artists, no one believes more than I do that creators should be fairly compensated for their work," Dunham wrote on Twitter. "Some good points were raised and I've ensured that all opening acts will be compensated for their time, their labor and their talents."

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Jonathan Franzen’s Biography Will Be Titled Jonathan Franzen: The Comedy of Rage

Jonathan Franzen, who hates everything from the internet to snark (heh), apparently has no problem with mid-career biographies. The notably cranky author of The Corrections and Freedom gave his blessing to Swarthmore English professor Philip Weinstein to write a biography of him titled Jonathan Franzen: The Comedy of Rage. Weinstein titled it so, reports the New York Times, because Franzen is "working toward turning rage into comedy." He was also careful to note that this isn't going to gossipy: "It’s not an exposé of Jonathan Franzen ... It doesn’t pretend to be a full-scale biography. It’s too early for that. He’s in full career mode. Someone later, a generation from now, will do that biography. It’s a report on who he is." Everyone should tweet about this, because that'll make Franzen, like, so peeved.

  • Posted 9/23/14 at 2:45 PM
  • Books

Why You Should Read (or Reread) Gone Girl This Week

David Fincher's Gone Girl comes out October 3, which means right about now plenty of movie fans are asking themselves: Should I read the book before I see the adaptation? The answer usually varies by project — we recommend watching Game of Thrones before reading "A Song of Ice and Fire" — and in this case, our answer is an uncompromising "Yes." You should definitely read (or reread) Gillian Flynn's 2012 thriller in the scant days before the movie comes out and everything gets ruined for you. Here's why.

(Note: We've tried to make this post as spoiler-free as possible, but like Nick Dunne's internalized misogyny, some may have slipped through.)

You'll need the ending fresh in your mind. »

  • Posted 9/19/14 at 11:45 AM
  • Books

Alison Bechdel: Winning a Genius Grant ‘Kicks Me Out of the League of Being an Everyday Schlub’

On Wednesday, Alison Bechdel became only the second graphic book writer to win a MacArthur “Genius” grant — worth $625,000 and a lifetime of bragging. Her graphic memoirs, Fun Home and Are You My Mother?, turned her tortured family history — she had OCD and liked girls, her mother showed little affection, her closeted father likely killed himself — into multidimensional art. Erudite and beautiful, they demonstrated just how intelligent and uncompromising comics (and coming-out memoirs) could be. We caught up with her via Skype yesterday in Italy, where she’s on a six-week artist’s residency, to talk about the big prize, her next work, and the irresistible charms of Orange Is the New Black.

One of the great things about winning this is I can get more work done. I tend to get paid more to go out and talk about my work than I get paid to actually do my work. »

  • Posted 9/19/14 at 10:10 AM
  • Primer

One Very Important Thing Is Missing From the New Cosby Biography: A Timeline of the Abuse Charges

Thirty years ago this weekend, The Cosby Show debuted on NBC, and its star was catapulted into the comedic stratosphere. The timing is prime, then, for the release of a sprawling biography. Written by former Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker, Cosby: His Life and Times documents the man’s rise from the Philadelphia projects, while also detailing the creation of his family sitcom and the murder of his son Ennis in 1997.

The book is notable, however, for its complete avoidance of sexual abuse allegations that have dogged Cosby for more than a decade. In a statement to Buzzfeed's Kate Aurthur, Whitaker says, "I didn’t want to print allegations that I couldn’t confirm independently." Regardless, their absence is glaring. Consider the following timeline an appendix to the book.

"Tamara Green, a lawyer, alleges that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in the 1970s." »

John Darnielle Explains His Cultural Influences

John Darnielle has been putting out music for nearly two decades as the Mountain Goats, but this week he releases an excellent new novel, Wolf in White Van, which was just long-listed for the National Book Award The book traces backwards through the life of Sean Phillips, who — following a near-fatal incident that has left him disfigured — runs a play-by-mail role-playing game. Darnielle, an unabashed fan of heavy metal and horror films, walked us through some of his main influences

1. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. »

  • Posted 9/17/14 at 9:10 PM
  • Books

Here Is the Longlist for the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction

The shortlist will arrive on October 15 and the winners will be announced November 19. We won't pick a favorite but only one of the authors on this list has recorded an impassioned defense of Justin Bieber.

Read More  »

  • Posted 9/17/14 at 1:05 PM
  • Books

See the Beautiful Book Jacket for Jami Attenberg’s Saint Mazie

In her last novel, The Middlesteins, author Jami Attenberg wrote a tale of family life in the modern Midwest. For her next one, Saint Mazie, due in June 2015, she goes back in time to Depression-era New York City. Here's a look at the beautiful jacket art for Saint Mazie along with a note from Attenberg.

"It does two jobs at once. It tells a story all its own — but it’s also true to the story of the book itself." »

  • Posted 9/17/14 at 10:00 AM
  • Comics

Alison Bechdel Wins MacArthur Genius Grant

Comics memoirist Alison Bechdel is one of this year's 21 new MacArthur Fellows, and she's just the second cartoonist ever to be awarded the honor. Bechdel tells the L.A. Times she's going to use the $650,000 grant to "pay off some debts, save for retirement — really boring stuff." Here's hoping she discussed this good news with another woman and never once mentioned a man.

  • Posted 9/16/14 at 4:45 PM
  • Books

See Neil Patrick Harris’s Very Charming Book Trailer

Since he already wrote the book, Neil Patrick Harris used the trailer for his forthcoming memoir Choose Your Own Autobiography to show off some of his many other talents. As you might expect, NPH is a pretty great magician, and a very bad competitive binge drinker. This is delightful.

  • Posted 9/16/14 at 3:20 PM
  • Movies

Cara Delevingne Will Star in the Latest John Green Adaptation

In a casting move that has author John Green "so excited!" Cara Delevingne and her eyebrows have signed on for the upcoming screen adaptation of Green's Paper Towns. The model will star as Margo, a mysterious young woman who enthralls a nerdy teen played by The Fault in Our Stars' Nat Wolff. This is only the latest installment of Cara Delevingne Conquers Hollywood: She's also appearing in Michael Winterbottom's Amanda Knox–ish film as well as a Peter Pan reboot, and recently broke into directing with a short film of Reese Witherspoon in an elevator.

My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. And Then I Found Myself With Someone Like Dad.

It's no secret that James Brown had a dark side. This summer's biopic Get On Up left out many of the weird, uncomfortable, and simply violent incidents that Brown instituted or participated in. But it wasn't until now that we've been able to get a look at just how frightening the singer could be. Earlier this month, his daughter Yamma Brown published a memoir titled Cold Sweat: My Father James Brown and Me (co-written with Robin Gaby Fisher) that details her life growing up with her often volatile dad. In the excerpt below, Yamma flashes back to a moment when Brown beat her mother in front of her and her sister, then writes about how that violent legacy stayed with her into adulthood.

"The beatings always began the same way, with the same terrible sounds." »

The Death of Adulthood and the Rise of Pleasure, or Why Seth Rogen Is More Serious Than Woody Allen

Adulthood is dead, which is great news to get right before the weekend because it means you can cancel your errands and tedious chores and go on a bender, or perhaps just stay home and reread Harry Potter. In a long and thoughtful (and, more specifically, thought-packed) essay in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine — provocatively titled “The Death of Adulthood in American Culture” — A.O. Scott lassos everyone from Beyoncé to Louis C.K. to Don Draper to Broad City to Huck Finn to Lena Dunham to Madonna and hogties them together as an argument that adulthood, culturally speaking, is down for the count.

It all adds up to a satisfying diagnosis of the current cultural moment. »

9 Books to Read If You Miss Your Favorite TV Comedy

The fall TV season may be upon us, but many of our go-to shows for laughs won’t be returning until 2015, or ever. Don’t despair, fans of Broad City, Parks and Recreation, Archer, the dearly departed Enlisted, and other comedies — Vulture has your back. These humorous books should help with your grief over canceled sitcoms or tide you over until your favorite funny characters return.

Recommendations for fans of Parks and Recreation, Broad City, Silicon Valley, and more. »

Joshua Ferris on the Man Booker Shortlist and ‘Bad Fart’ Reviews

Last year, the Man Booker Prize — the most prestigious book award in Britain and probably the world — announced it would, for the first time, consider any book written in English and published in the U.K. On Tuesday, its judges made good on their threat; on their final “short list” of six books are two Americans: Karen Jay Fowler (for We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves) and Joshua Ferris. To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, Ferris’s third novel, is the often hilarious, often depressing existential howl of a New York dentist embroiled in a pseudo-ancient religion. We called Ferris up yesterday to talk about his new accolade.

I’m now something that’s wagered on, which is usually the domain of horses and dogs. But I think it’s totally cool. »

13 Utterly Absurd Panels From the 1940s Captain Marvel Comics

It’s official: DC and Warner Bros. are developing a Shazam movie, and given that it’s DC, it could very well end up being full of explosions, collateral damage, and costumes that look like somebody turned the brightness way down in Photoshop. But nobody wants that. Instead, DC should look for inspiration in Shazam's early adventures in the 1940s (the so-called Golden Age of Comics), when he dressed in bright red and yellow, his comics outsold Superman's, and he fought giant yeast monsters, a super-intelligent worm who kept trying to take over the world, and troubling lengths of string.

Wait, what?

This is the strange joy of Golden Age comics, and Shazam — or Captain Marvel, as he was known until 2012 — is the best of the early superheroes. He is the alter-ego of a 10-year-old orphan newscaster called Billy Batson, who shouts the word "SHAZAM" whenever he wants to transform. His best friend is a neurotic tiger. Here are some of the weirdest, greatest, most ridiculous moments from Captain Marvel Adventures.

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