Essays

May 20, 2014

The Press Novel: From Scoop to Amy Rowland’s The Transcriptionist 1

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“But do you think it’s a good way of training oneself — inventing imaginary news?” “None better.”

May 16, 2014

Thug: A Life of Caravaggio in Sixty-Nine Paragraphs 10

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He never had a chance. Three men held him down while a fourth sliced his face. Afterwards, he was almost unrecognizable. They could have killed him but they wanted him to live, bearing his scars for the rest of his life. Everyone would know what that meant.

May 15, 2014

The Literature of the Standing Desk 2

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The standing desk has entered its heyday. It’s changing the cubicle skyline of corporate America, the open-plan shared workspaces of the startup world, and the studios and work nooks of thousands of writers across the country.

May 14, 2014

Reach the Rafters: On Literary Sentiment 5

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If sentimentality is a sin, it is only because feeling can be so beautiful. One moment of sentiment in literature is worth a thousand failures.

May 6, 2014

For the Love of the Game: Poker in Nonfiction 2

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As a breezy and sarcasm-soaked account of one man’s very unsuccessful attempt to repeat what McManus accomplished in 2000, The Noble Hustle does not earn a rightful place in a tradition begun by Alvarez and continued by McManus.

May 5, 2014

Shakespeare’s Greatest Play? 5 Experts Share Their Opinions 16

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William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday is upon us, and at The Millions we wanted to celebrate it in 21st century American style, by debating which of his 38 plays is the best.

May 2, 2014

A Beautiful Man: On Peter Parker and the Amazing Spider-Man 4

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The problem with Spider-Man is the same problem with all popular comics heroes. Eventually, after several hundred issues, he hit a moment of stasis in which he stopped evolving, stopped discovering the strange hidden facets of his personality.

May 1, 2014

Collared or Untied: Reflections on Work in American Culture 0

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Start-ups offer unlimited vacation, but with the implicit understanding that you’ll bring your laptop with you. And there might be foosball in the office, but there’s also a fold-out couch so you don’t have to go home to sleep. Your CEO and you both wear the same company-branded t-shirt, but only one of you is going home to the multi-million-dollar house.

April 29, 2014

Forget About James Franco 19

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I’ve been around enough creative types to know that the only thing more toxic and debilitating than their schadenfreude is their seething resentment over the success of a rival. Especially when it’s seen as unearned.

April 28, 2014

What García Márquez Meant to the Macondians 4

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Colombia of the ’80s and ’90s contained within itself Hell and Paradise all at once, each in its full force, neither diluting the other. This point is essential to understand why so many of us have taken to calling our beloved Nobel Laureate, the late Gabriel García Márquez, the most important Colombian who ever lived.