Notable Articles

August 15, 2011

The E-Reader of Sand: The Kindle and the Inner Conflict Between Consumer and Booklover 61


It occurred to me that Borges would have been thrilled and horrified in equal measure by the Kindle. In fact, in a weird way, he sort of invented it.

July 21, 2011

A Critic’s Notebook: On Meeting Ayn Rand’s Editor at Antioch College 54


This is America, he said. There aren’t many ideas. Ayn Rand had a few simple ones which she believed in fiercely and promoted relentlessly.

July 7, 2011

The Year of Wonders 45


It was midday on a Monday in early August of the year 2000 and the bidding on my first novel had reached six figures, then paused for people to track down more cash. I was 32. I’d never made over $12,000 in a year.

July 5, 2011

Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2011 Book Preview 45


At 7,500 words strong and encompassing 66 titles, this is the only second-half of 2011 book preview you will ever need.

June 24, 2011

Six Egyptian Writers You Don’t Know But You Should 17


More writers from Egypt made the longlist for the $50,000, 2011 International Arabic Prize for Fiction (IPAF) than writers from any other country. And now it was Egypt’s Arab Spring. Where was the work of these men and women, work that was a catalyst for the ongoing social transformation of the largest nation in the Middle East?

June 16, 2011

On the Desire to Be Well-Read: A Review of The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction 21


The advice of many aesthetes turns the reader’s capacity for pleasure into just another test of his cultural status—and the effect of this kind of sly pressure is to make it more difficult to distinguish what we enjoy from what we think we ought to enjoy.

May 31, 2011

Kindle-Proof Your Book in Seven Easy Steps! 28


For the Luddite writer who wants to put her royalties where her mouth is, I offer the choicest trade secrets…plus a Top 10 list of eBook-resistant texts.

May 16, 2011

The Stockholm Syndrome Theory of Long Novels 109


…and some other observations of doubtful critical merit.

April 25, 2011

What We Call What Women Write 71


In the wake of comments Jennifer Egan made after her Pulitzer win, former Egan fans are uniting under the notion that in addition to being a meanie, Egan is setting feminists back 50 years. How could she?

April 19, 2011

How Avant Is It? Zadie Smith, Tom McCarthy, and the Novel’s Way Forward 25


Huge claims have been made on behalf of the novelist Tom McCarthy. But what do they actually tell us about “the future of fiction?”