Recent Articles

August 14, 2014

On “Reading to Impress Yourself” 0

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Rebecca Mead writes for The New Yorker about “The Pleasure of Reading to Impress Yourself” and the false divide between books “we read because we want to and those we read because we have to.”

August 14, 2014

Hemingway for Hotels: The Ritz-Carlton’s Flash Fiction Ads 4

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In Culture Trust 2.0, we’re all Don Draper, and we’re all susceptible to his slick salesmanship.

August 13, 2014

Smiles to tears 0

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Writers of facial stage direction, beware: it is not actually the epitome of irony that smiling and crying can seem so oddly similar. At Aeon, Princeton professor Michael Graziono argues that the seemingly opposite gestures may just share evolutionary origins. (Pair with: Darwinist theories about “the evolution of the novel.”)

August 13, 2014

Stop reading this immediately 0

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“Internet reading takes up my time without my setting that time aside for it, and fills me with images and thoughts that I don’t perceive going in, like radiation… In these online minutes or hours, I drift along with my mouth open, absorbing whatever’s floating by, never chewing or even swallowing, just letting it all […]

August 13, 2014

Meta-spoilers contained within 0

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“To read something before it is accessible to all is both a privilege and an unfair advantage.” Je Banach’s notes on keeping the secrets of the books she writes about (e.g., Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage) are thoughtful, poignant, and tantalizingly spoiler-free.

August 13, 2014

A Little Night Music: On Marie-Helene Bertino’s 2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas 0

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Is it possible for a group of characters to be too charismatic? If so, that was my only real objection to Bertino’s novel.

August 13, 2014

The man Lish fought for 1

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It was the height of the feminist revolution and one man was trying, unsuccessfully, to publish a book about a man amidst a midlife crisis.  25 years later, Esquire editor Gordon Lish read sections of An Armful of Warm Girl in a literary magazine and demanded that Knopf reconsider publishing it (they did). This week over at […]

August 13, 2014

Spoiling Infinite Jest 0

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There are three kinds of readers of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest: those who feel some niggling guilt about that brick on their bookshelf, those who’ve read it (proudly) but secretly may have no idea what happened in that tangled ending, and the people responsible for this excellent infographic. (Complement with cached commentary at Infinite Summer and a guide to the geography of Wallace’s Boston.)

August 13, 2014

The Sublime and the Odious: On Joseph Luzzi’s My Two Italies 1

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My Two Italies is a hybrid memoir, both a recollection of personal experience and growth and also a scholarly look at the long-standing divide between Italy’s north and south — the north characterized by wealth and culture, and the south by poverty and crime. For Luzzi, the divide is personally felt.

August 12, 2014

Endless Depths 0

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Every so often, a piece comes along that rends the fragile mind, employing a devil’s portion of mundane details to lay bare the inescapable futility of all human endeavor. This is the only rational way to describe this piece at The Awl, which takes the form of a conversation between Karl Ove Knausgaard and True Detective’s Nic Pizzolatto.