Turn the Page in Style with Literary Nail Art

Instagrammers rejoice: at last you can celebrate your passion for nail art and dystopian literature with Glitterfingersss’ tutorial to “burned paper nails”! We think it’s totally Fahrenheit 451 and right on point for festival season—book festival season, that is. Check it out below.


Read on for the 9-step tutorial. It’s actually easier than it looks!

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“The Town of Books” : Don’t Even Ask About WiFi


The Kingdom of Hay, in Wales, is more than just a little unique.  The entire “kingdom” is comprised of just 1,500 people but it boasts a whopping thirty second hand book stores… that’s one bookstore for every fifty people! Since 1960, the town has accepted used and discarded books and proudly calls itself  “The Town of Books.”  Kindles and their ilk, as you can see above, are not welcome.

The small hamlet lies on the border between England and Wales. Every year, to celebrate its love of books, Hay-on-Wye (its official name) hosts a literary festival dubbed “The Woodstock of the Mind.”

The town began its transformation to  a book haven in the mid-1960s  when one of its residents, Richard Booth, decided to start buying  books from libraries that were closing, both in the United States and Europe, and shipping them back to Hay-on-Wye. It didn’t take long to amass thousands of used books. Soon, the town had a “booming secondhand book scene.”

In 1988, the town hosted its first festival. In the intervening twenty-five years, the festival has grown in size and regularly attracts names not only in literature but also from science, and, gasp! technology, although those technophiles had better beware. (This year, Google’s Eric Schmidt was in attendance.) The town’s “Prince”  Derek Fitz-Pitt Booth Addyman warns, “People are smuggling e-readers into Hay-on-Wye, but I should make them aware that we are training poodle sniffer dogs to find them.” Probably a joke but…

If you are getting ready to pack your bags for this year’s ten day festival, better hold on. Unfortunately, the festival has just concluded. 2014’s Hay Festival runs from May 22 – June 1, 2014.


A Conversation with Joyce Carol Oates

The eNotes team visited this year’s LA Times Festival of Books to bring you recaps of the captivating interviews with some of the most anthologized writers. You may recognize the first as part of your syllabus if you’ve ever read her infamous short story, “Where Are You Going, Were Have You Been?” It’s the prolific and talented Joyce Carol Oates!

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In 1984 Joyce Carol Oates relegated a manuscript she’d been working on, complete but imperfect, to a dark drawer. As its pages yellowed and mildew took up residence, the would-be novel emerged into the light of day just once every seven years or so, only to promptly return. “Writing is very intuitive,” Oates says of her most recent (or most recently published) novel’s thirty year history. “You can’t quite force it.” Luckily for her readers, the manuscript found its way back into Oates’ hands at just the right time, for now we have The Accursed.

Oates began her conversation on the novel with some explication on its genre. As a formalist, she admits the attraction of writing in various styles. Over the years she has dabbled in just about everything, though the same vein of sinisterness is rather pervasive throughout. As for The Accursed, Oates herself called it her foray into “a neo-Gothic genre… a post-modernist horror.” (In case one couldn’t tell from the book cover, it has a bit to do with vampires.)

But the author could just as easily be noted for dipping a toe into the historical fiction pool, given the number of historic figures who meander in and out of the plot. Set in Princeton in 1905, The Accursed‘s minor players include writers and politicians who lived in the college town at that moment in history; Franklin Roosevelt (then just 23), Upton Sinclair, Mark Twain, and Jack London to name a few, which Oates labels the “Shakespearean sub-figures” of her work. In a minor way, their presence as relative rabble-rousers of their time advances the themes of The Accursed: those of “class betrayal” and racial discrimination—hardly light topics for a vampire novel.

To unpack these themes a bit more, it is imperative to point out the timing of that mildewy manuscript’s resuscitation. When Oates picked it up again in 2010, America had at last elected an African-American man as its president—a decision that is a far cry from the attitudes of 1905 upper class Princeton, though the threads of racial tension remain. The author admits that her choosing to revive the novel at that particular time is not unlike Miller’s writing of The Crucible when he did, since it takes a contemporary problem and places it in another time, thereby highlighting it more.

In all, one could look at Oates’ latest as a Gothic family drama, a supernatural romance story (complete with the bride being kidnapped by a vampiric seducer at the altar), even a historical satire.  Or one could simply recognize The Accursed for what it is outside of Oates’ formalist play—an homage to American history, literature, and themes, however sordid those may be.

Ready to test your knowledge? Take the eNotes Joyce Carol Oates quiz here!