February 17, 2015

Forty for 40: A Literary Reader for Lent 5


Lent is the most literary season of the liturgical year. The Lenten narrative is marked by violence, suffering, anticipation, and finally, joy. Here is a literary reader for Lent: 40 stories, poems, essays, and books for the 40 days of this season.

February 10, 2015

Let Us Now Praise Authors, Artists, Dilettantes, and Drunks 2


I ask myself, in what Kyoto bar might a fellow literary pilgrim relate to me the praiseworthy sexual longevity of one of Japan’s great dilettante artists?

February 5, 2015

An Emotional History of Chocolate 2


Like the ocean closing over Manhattan or countrywide droughts, a world where chocolate is entirely rare — or entirely mediocre — is a dystopia the likes of which we can scarcely conceive.

February 3, 2015

An Eye to the Edges: On Other Stories 0


It’s frustrating sometimes, for many of us, to be reminded of the stories that matter apart from our own and that we might be complicit in pushing them out to the margins.

February 2, 2015

Honey, Would You Read My Book? 4


The transaction is fraught with expectation and fear, hope and anxiety. If it goes badly, the simple offer of pages to read can shake relationships, unsettle marriages, and open wide rifts between partners, lovers, friends.

January 27, 2015

Born Out of Rapt Distraction: On Silvina Ocampo’s ‘Thus Were Their Faces’ 1


On a moment-to-moment basis the terms of the continued existence of any individual are far more fragile than we dare to feel.

January 26, 2015

I Would Do This for You: The Narrative Possibilities of Leaked Emails 3


Wikileaks and the news media were interested in these emails for their geopolitical implications, but they also represent a veritable cornucopia of narrative pleasures, all the more delectable because they are strange and secret and real.

January 22, 2015

Summer without End 1


The habitual aspect may be the antidote to anxiety. But patterns finish. The rhythm ends in grief. The grooves betray.

January 21, 2015

It’s Not You, It’s Us: Apartment Hunting in Brooklyn 21


I couldn’t really picture myself living here. But I tried anyway. I had a premonition of standing in the middle of a pretty-decent sized kitchen, sautéing garlic shrimp for my blow-up girlfriend.

January 20, 2015

Is ‘Jesus’ Son’ a ‘Red Cavalry’ Rip-Off? 2


What does Denis Johnson mean by calling his most iconic book a “rip-off” of Red Cavalry? In terms of locations and circumstances, the books are radically different. But, on closer look, they actually do share a lot in common.