Recent Articles

June 12, 2014

History as Memoir, Memoir as History 0

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It’s impossible to deny that memoir writing is having a bit of a moment, as more and more major books delve deeply into authors’ lives for material (here’s looking at you, Knausgaard). But what happens when memoir meets straight history? According to The Canadian Press, both genres only become more interesting.  “[People] think non-fiction is […]

June 12, 2014

New Old Advice for Writers 0

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“The internet teems with writerly advice, almost all of which suggests that creativity is served best by monasticism, a quiet life filled with pencils—but that kind of advice seems to take a very short view of history, overlooking the one classic way to rouse the capricious Muses: sexually transmitted disease.” According to The Hairpin, maybe […]

June 12, 2014

Sad, Strange Brilliance: On Tove Jansson and Moomin 3

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In Moomin, I didn’t stumble upon a strange new universe; I found an atmosphere that matched the strangeness I already felt inside.

June 11, 2014

Vermeer was a Hacker 0

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“The way Vermeer painted this wall is consistent with a photograph. It is not consistent with human vision.” In a fascinating new documentary by Penn and Teller, a digital-graphics artist spent five years building a lens, a room, and a harpsichord to figure out how.

June 11, 2014

How Slender Man was made 0

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Half-meme, half-myth, ‘Slender Man’ came to us from the same internet that brought LOLcat, doge, and Rule 34. After the surreal stabbing of a 12-year-old girl by two other children claiming they were acting on his behalf, this particular story has taken on a tragic resonance. In The Semiotic Review, Jeffrey Tolbert argues that Slender Man took hold because of the documentary nature […]

June 11, 2014

K-bromance 0

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Recommended reading: While only 39% of Pew-surveyed South Koreans believe that gays and lesbians “should be accepted by society,” wildly popular Korean dramas ironically present some of the most nuanced exploration of male affection on television.

June 11, 2014

Where the Letters Go 0

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A startling conclusion from this data visualization of where in words each letter of the alphabet tends to fall: “the most common word may be ‘the, but the most representative word is ‘toe.’ ” (Also available: detailed methodology and algorithms for the data geeks; an explanation of data-viz as a narrative form for everyone else.)

June 11, 2014

Unrecommended Reading 0

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“To the pathless wastes, into thin air, with no reviews, no best-seller lists, no college curricula, no National Book Awards or Pulitzer Prizes, no ads, no publicity, not even word of mouth to guide me!” For her new book The Shelf: From LEQ to LES, Phyllis Rose undertook the ultimate stunt in writing-about-reading: an unsorted shelf with no logic […]

June 11, 2014

The Art of the Epigraph 9

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I didn’t have a great need to write that story, but the quote would have fit it so perfectly I actually have an unfinished draft somewhere in my discarded Word documents.

June 10, 2014

Uber Modern Bookstores 0

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The ideal bookstore is hard to pin down. Until recently the consensus seemed to lean towards old, slightly dusty and pleasantly chaotic, but these modern bookstores full of sleek white cases and clean lines have us reconsidering.