Articles by Kevin Hartnett

October 21, 2010

Shaving Cream and Heart Attacks and Learning When To Fear 3

These are the things my son James has been afraid of in the 16-months that he’s been alive: The grinding blender, the roaring vacuum, disembodied voices on the speaker phone, the time I pantomimed a broken leg, being put to bed alone in his crib.

October 8, 2010

A Stew of Laziness: Ben Affleck’s The Town and the Elements of Bad Drama 13

I find with bad movies that usually there comes a point at which I realize that no matter what follows, there’s little chance that the film is going to be good.

September 30, 2010

When I’m in the Mood for Fiction 12

Fiction can be depressing, of course, but there’s something intrinsically optimistic about the process by which tragedy and frailty are turned into art.

September 15, 2010

Never Let You Go: Friendship in the Facebook Age 15

Is it better to let a friendship end naturally or to sustain it on Facebook life support?

July 27, 2010

To Teach a Kid How to Read, Teach a Kid How to Think 6

If you have not been paying attention to trends in grade school pedagogy over the last couple decades, the first thing you should know is this: The way public school students are taught to understand books looks little like the way most readers of this site probably learned themselves.

May 24, 2010

Haruki Murakami and the Art of the Day 12

What appealed to me most about Murakami’s essay was the way it joined something very big, like writing a novel, with something very small, like what time each day to go to bed.

May 6, 2010

Reflections on Fear, Freedom, and Growing Up 4

Recently two people who wouldn’t seem to have much in common—my 26-year-old brother and my one-year-old son—have both had me thinking about wonder and fear, and how their experiences of those two things are similar to each other’s, and different from my own.

March 16, 2010

Reading War and Peace: The Effects of Great Art on an Ordinary Life 45

One somewhat disquieting effect of reading War and Peace is that the more your own thoughts show up in its pages, the less original your life begins to feel.

February 25, 2010

In Our Parents’ Bookshelves 38

Even a megabyte seems bulky compared to what can be conveyed in the few cubic feet of a bookshelf. What other vessel is able to hold with such precision, intricacy, and economy, all the facets of your life

February 3, 2010

Ample Reason America is Ruined, One Good Reason it’s Not 3

James Fallows thinks about government like a broken down car, such that no matter how skilled the driver or where he wants to go, he’s not going to get there. We might have been better off if that were true.