Curiosities

January 22, 2015

The First American Novel 0

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“He is now even upon the point of marrying—shall I proceed!—of marrying his Sister! I fly to prevent incest!” Dan Piepenbring writes about reading The Power of Sympathy, America’s first novel, for The Paris Review.

January 22, 2015

Best So Far 0

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What’s the best book of the 21st century? To date, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao seems to be the favorite – the BBC polled a few dozen US critics and Junot Diaz‘s novel came in first place. The full list is available from The Guardian, and includes Zadie Smith‘s White Teeth and Michael Chabon‘s The […]

January 22, 2015

“Olikoye” 0

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Recommended reading: “Olikoye,” a new short story from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

January 21, 2015

Multiplicity 0

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Flip through the blurbs on a recently published novel and you’re likely to come across a ton of stock phrases. Gary Shteyngart parodied this repetition — as well as other facets of the blurb-industrial complex — in a bit of improv last year. At The Morning News, Christine Gosnay writes about a poem that gave her […]

January 21, 2015

Outline, Detailed 0

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Recommended Reading: Hannah Tennant-Moore on Rachel Cusk’s Outline.

January 21, 2015

“The heart belongs to the tide and the deep alone” 0

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The upcoming Supreme Court decision on gay marriage is drawing a lot of attention. But what about the other ruling — the one aimed at grizzled old men? At The Onion, a report on Justice Alito’s recent decision, which tersely states that marriage is a pact between a man and the sea.

January 21, 2015

Word Games 0

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In an effort to adjust more comfortably to the modern age, the Merriam-Webster company is revamping its iconic dictionary, the first to focus mainly on American English. At Slate, Stefan Fatsis considers the changes, which raise the question of what a modern dictionary should look like. Related: our own Bill Morris on the American Heritage […]

January 20, 2015

Agoraphobia 0

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As part of his research for his recent treatise on office life, Cubed, n + 1 editor Nikil Saval looked back on his own years in an open office. In an interview with Sara Scribner, he talks about his growing awareness that it wasn’t good for his health: “It was sociable in some good senses, […]

January 20, 2015

Across the Screen 0

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“His books are not only obviously produced by an obsessive film buff (as evidenced by one wry recurring trick, the dates in brackets that follow even citations of celluloid ephemera), they often seem to want to be movies, as shown by another signature device, the way his protagonists – from the 1890s European spies and […]

January 20, 2015

Dark Thoughts 0

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If you know that Patricia Highsmith wrote The Talented Mr. Ripley, you know that she’s an exceptional authority on the workings of the criminal mind. At The Paris Review Daily, Dan Piepenbring digs up an old interview with the author, in which she describes the act of murder as “the opposite of freedom.” You could […]