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Writers Between the Covers: The Scandalous Romantic Lives of Legendary Literary Casanovas, Coquettes, and Cads

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  219 ratings  ·  57 reviews
What happened off the page was often a lot spicier than what was written on it...

Why did Norman Mailer stab his second wife at a party?  Who was Edith Wharton’s secret transatlantic lover? What motivated Anaïs Nin to become a bigamist?

Writers Between the Covers rips the sheets off these and other real-life love stories of the literati—some with fairy tale endings and other
Paperback, 286 pages
Published October 29th 2013 by Plume (first published October 2013)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  219 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Mar 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
If you personally know an author/writer DO NOT give their significant other this book for Christmas. With the exception of one or two it seems that writers cannot be (1) married, (2) monogamous or (3) happy, they do however derive great inspiration from the muse of disastrous love affairs. Touching on iconic writers from Agatha Christie and Lord Byron through to Hemmingway and Arthur Miller not one sheet is left unturned.

This book is broken into small chapters with whimsical titles like “All Wa
Bill Peschel
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There’s nothing that strengthens a marriage like spending time with another couple. It’s a bonding experience to dissect their lives afterwards with your spouse and no greater joy than to finish with “thank God we’re not like THEM, honey.”

“Writers Between the Covers” is like a 25-lesson course in couples counseling (with 25 sidebars bearing provocative titles such as “Six Degrees of Copulation,” “Romance with Death,” and “The Wit of a Wounded Woman” in case you didn’t get the point). In fact, t
Nov 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
By far, this has been one of the most entertaining and enjoyable books I've read this year. It never ceases to fascinate me how some of the most celebrated (and notorious or controversial) writers lived and LOVED. To quote Pat Benatar, "Love is a battlefield." The story cited in this book on the love life of F.Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald amply bears out that quote. I also found interesting Norman Mailer's outlook on love and his relationships with the many women in his life. He seemed to have thi ...more
Oct 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a great book that deliveries on its title. A coffee table book that lends itself to reading a section and then easily moving on to something else or continuing through the literary gossip that fills its pages. My only complaint is that it was too repetitive in parts and it made me want to stop out of the boredom that comes with the same structure being used to introduce the literary figure over and over again. Even with that complaint I would recommend this book for anyone who likes to r ...more
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2013
This is chock-full of fascinating details about the love lives and scandalous affairs of famous authors. I had no idea! Anyone familiar with the lives of our classic authors (Mailer, Nin, Keroauc, Ian Fleming, and many more) probably won't be surprised at their shenanigans but it's fascinating stuff for those of us who aren't as well-versed.

The authors have done a fabulous job of research and this will be a fun book to recommend to library patrons.
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The title of this book says it all. From Byron to Tennessee Williams and all in between.It validates everything I have ever thought about great writers. Without extremes of Joy and pain along with a bunch of life experience, you don't really have anything to write about. Many of these people are straight up sociopaths. The rest are a stew of mental illnesses punctuated by a few narcissists. This is a really sad but fun read. ...more
Lorri Steinbacher
Jul 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Fun read, like a classier tabloid for literature fans.
Nov 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Really fun read. not too scholarly, not at all dry.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was an awesome book. It really felt like I was reading a gossip magazine dedicated to covering famous authors. Hemingway, Nin, Stevenson, Fitzgerald, Miller, Kerouac, Plath and Stein - no one escapes some time under the microscope.
Broken up into short little chapters dedicated to a specific couple, all of which are separated by other snippets and anecdotes, this was a quick and interesting read.
Everyone is in this. So neat.
A must-read for classic author nerds!
Oct 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
When NetGalley offered this book to review, I jumped at the chance to read it. I've always been fascinated by writing and the lives of those who felt called to do it. Let's just say that I wasn't disappointed with the book in the least bit. While I know some of the tidbits for a few of the authors, most of what was written came as a surprise to me. Therefore, I really enjoyed the book.

In a time before TMZ and gossip/reality shows, the antics that many of the authors did would have put even Miley
Jul 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I picked up Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon's Writers Between the Covers on a whim. I wanted a break from my usual fare and I'll just say it, the jacket description spoke to my somewhat perverse sense of humor. It was one of those right place, right time sort of things and though I was familiar enough with most of the affairs they details, I thought the book an amusing diversion.

Schmidt and Rendon expose a litany of
Bea Pires
Aug 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, galley
If Charles Dickens, Anaïs Nin, and the other writers we feature hadn't been two-timers, bigamists, risk takers, and unabashed romantics - resulting in love lives that make for great reading - Writers Between the Covers wouldn't exist.

True to their word, Rendon and Schmidt really do present the reader with a motley group of rascals, cads, lovesick puppies and romantics. A very amusing light read, I was definitely surprised with some of the things I learned about some of my favourite writers and
Oct 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
I doubt that there is any great need for this book. No new light is offered. The sexual peccadillos and sordid entanglements of the literati which are laid out in Writers Between the Covers are old news. Divorced from the greater context of the writers' full lives and work, these rehashed offerings seem only salacious gossip. The language which is used also heightens this salacious, winking tone. One would use ones time better reading the authors' work and possibly a biography on them than immer ...more
Oct 28, 2013 rated it liked it
In this book the authors provide short stories of the romantic escapades of some of history's most famous literary legends, from Agatha Christie to F Scott Fitzgerald. The stories are grouped according to their types (eg 'Folie a deux' and 'Bad Boys, Scoundrels and Rogues') where stories of famous pairings (and more than just pairings, on some occasions!) are recounted in all of their salacious detail.

I did enjoy reading this book. It was a lot of fun and I am always interested in gossipy detai
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Watch out rock stars and celebrities because these writers of the past just made you look like tame school children!

Finally a book came along that just made those "boring" old classics suddenly more appealing than just another item on a reader's checklist for school. Knowing what was going on in the very naughty lives of the author makes me want to reread every classic I skimmed over in the past for the clues that lie within.

Who needs to read a gossip magazine about what new antics your favorit
Oct 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013, first-reads
This a fun read for those of us who like genre of naughty historical people. The cliche of the troubled artist with the disastrous love life certainly holds true for the majority of writers in this book. There is certainly a lot of drama, but also some nice love stories. I am glad they chose to finish the book with the enduring love stories.

Interesting fact that I did not know: Lord Byron had an eating disorder. (Already knew about the whole sister-incest thing.) All and all a nice and readable
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
A fast read focusing on the private lives and scandals surrounding many famous literary figures.

One wonders, reading this, just how much is based in absolute truth - perhaps because, at times, it reads very much like a tabloid - but even if there is a degree of exaggeration involved, it is still a fascinating read. And leads the the conclusion that writers and literary figures are a pretty broken bunch when it comes to romance and relationships.
Christine Sharbrough
Nov 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: steamy
Wow. Who knew what all these 19th and 20th century writers were doing while they were writing some of the most famous novels of all times? This book is an amazing look at huge literary figures and their escapades. A very quick read and will have the reader shaking their head at some of the sexual antics of well-known writers.

If you like the Enquire-style story, this book will entertain you completely. Not for the prudish or conservative reader. ;)
Tabitha Low
Jun 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Although the book is a gentle introduction to the covered matters, it leaves out so much--it made me want to go buy biographies and autobiographies of all the couples in the book to learn all of the story--or as much as possible at least...and I've already read about most of the couples in the book prior. ...more
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Attention grabbing and informative. I very much enjoyed learning about the personal lives and peccadilloes of the most famous names in literature over the years. This is an incredibly enjoyable book to read.
Writers Between the Covers by Shannon McKenna Schmidt & Joni Rendon: A Review in Gifs:
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Silly title but the stories, the actual lives of these people, just shine despite some fairly staid writing. Enjoyable and slightly embarrassing.
Tahmina Begum
Jun 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: commute-pile
Great research, amazing to see how writers are in each other's lives and how real life does affect their work. Great book for English lit students or just a knowledge fountain. ...more
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
It was entertaining but for a book about writers, the book should be spell-checked before publishing.
Sep 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Really readable, and reminded me to go back to a lot of authors I've really enjoyed in the past, but not very revelatory ...more
Jan 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Writers Between the Covers explores the scandalously licentious loves and lusts of history’s literary rock stars. Split into 7 parts, the chapters are introduced by trivia, quizzes, and even an online dating profile for Emily Dickinson.

-Tenneesee Williams claimed writing was his way of coping with his emotional issues and according to Gore Vidal, Williams “could not possess his own life until he had written about it.”

Not just a book of entertaining and wicked gossip, Writers Between the Covers c
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
For about as long as I can remember, my heroes have always been writers, and any kind of a look at a writer's personal life has been a voyeuristic pleasure of mine.  This book does everything just about touches on a number of different writers and offers a nicely capsulated look at some of the most intense moments in their private lives.  By being brief, it makes the reading move along smoothly, never getting boring.  And yet we never feel cheated, as though we didn't get enough o ...more
Ashley H.
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Your favorite male author was probably an asshole, but true love does exist. This is beautifully written, hilarious at times, heartbreaking at others, and filled with hope. I laughed, I cried, I gasped, I awed. A lovely, lovely book.
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Writers Between the Covers: The Scandalous Romantic Lives of Legendary Literary Casanovas, Coquettes, and Cads is aimed at English majors or others who know a little about the personal lives of 19th and 20th Century American and Western European authors but want to know more.

Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon previously co-authored Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West; each woman also has published articles in magazines such as Nation
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Wanderer and book lover. Shannon is the co-author of NOVEL DESTINATIONS: A Travel Guide to Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West, 2nd Edition, and WRITERS BETWEEN THE COVERS: The Scandalous Romantic Lives of Legendary Literary Casanovas, Coquettes, and Cads. She blogs about literary travel at ...more

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