Columns > Books

Thursday, November 19 2015

Ian Buruma: A Voice of Tolerance and Erudition Among Liberalism’s Intellectuals

In Theater of Cruelty the politics of love, war, and popular culture define the career of one of today’s foremost public intellectuals.

Monday, November 16 2015

Performing Politics: Judith Butler and the Struggle for the Street

We may hate that we are vulnerable and dependent upon one another, argues Judith Butler, but it's that very interdependence that allows us to mobilize together as social movements.

Wednesday, November 4 2015

Gabriel Urza Redefines the Political Novel With ‘All That Followed’

The former public defender notes that All That Followed "...requires people to think about political actors as individuals rather than as ideologues. That's been my experience in real life."

Thursday, October 15 2015

Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet Offers Penetrating Psychological and Sociopolitical Insight

A committed feminist, Ferrante writes with often astonishing candor, even "ferocity", about women's lives, their conflicted relationships with their bodies, with each other, and with men.

Monday, October 12 2015

On Evil Yogis and the Icy Silence of Yoga’s Post-Disintegration

David Gordon White's life-long research of South Asian religions reveals the dubious roots of the West's feel good contemporary yoga industry.

Thursday, October 8 2015

The Los Lonely Wolves, Los Lobos, Is Still Brilliantly Defying Classification

It's hard to imagine an American band that's more inventive, death-defying and affable as Los Lobos. A new book and record reveal why.

Monday, October 5 2015

The Day Sarah Records Died

I first loved and admired Sarah Records not because it had begun, but because it had ended. It seemed to me ending things took much more courage, strength and self-discipline than beginning them.

Friday, October 2 2015

‘Operation Ajax’ Illustrates How the CIA Destroyed Democracy in Iran

The extent of US involvement in undermining Middle Eastern democracy is gradually coming to light, and being told through a variety of genres.

Tuesday, September 29 2015

Holding Death Hostage: Human Enigma in ‘The Order of Death’

Hugh Fleetwood's story of murder and guilt evades the clear resolutions of mystery-narratives, opting for a disturbing disquisition on human enigma.

Monday, September 28 2015

How Do You Define the Genre of Trans Literature?

In the late ‘90s there was an explosion of politicized art – film, video, and performance art – by trans artists. What we're seeing in literature today is a move to a much broader scale.

Tuesday, September 15 2015

How Should We Respond to Terrorism?

After the Paris Attacks is a collection of research that moves away from the US to look at Canadian and European debates over terrorism.

Thursday, September 3 2015

Bingham Prize Winner Jack Livings on Imagining China

Award-winning fiction writer Jack Livings discusses his new book, The Dog, and the importance of writing with moral purpose.

Monday, August 31 2015

For Jazz and Gospel Artists and Audiences, Music Is Their Faith, and Faith Is Their Rock

Black music's spiritual aspect may be a given, but two new books, A City Called Heaven and Spirits Rejoice! go deep into explaining how that actually happens.

Tuesday, August 25 2015

‘Spirits Rejoice!’ Takes a New Look Into an Old Tradition

Scholar Jason C. Bivins thinks through more difficult aspects of the relationships between jazz and American religions, while at the same time examining the permeability of both.

Friday, August 21 2015

Yellow Fever and Yum-Yum Girls

Multiple versions of the classic story The World of Suzie Wong offer different takes on a social phenomenon, but can any of them escape the biases of their authors?

Thursday, August 6 2015

What Is the Real Story of the Atomic Bombings?

America claimed the atomic bomb ended World War II and saved American lives. Journalist and historian Paul Ham calls that “a pack of lies”.

Thursday, July 23 2015

Danielewski’s ‘The Familiar, Vol. 1’ Is Too Much, All at Once

As a compendium of inventive thought and prose, The Familiar, Vol. 1 succeeds. As a coherent novel, it's impenetrable.

Wednesday, July 15 2015

The Fictions of Anxiety in ‘The Last of Philip Banter’

An examination of internalized fears, The Last of Philip Banter explores the social culture of the working-class through a careful dissection of mental illness.

Tuesday, June 30 2015

Is Gender Out of Fashion?

Sex and Unisex, a history of fashion trends offers insight into changing notions of gender – and raises the possibility that the concept has outlived its usefulness.

Friday, June 5 2015

Champagne and Knuckle-Dusters, or, Modern Life in Singapore

Novelist and poet Catherine Lim, the most persistent critic of Singapore's government, talks candidly about her new memoir, the half-century anniversary of the city-state, and the death of founder Lee Kuan Yew.

//Mixed media

Authenticity Issues and the New Intimacies

// Marginal Utility

"The social-media companies have largely succeeded in persuading users of their platforms' neutrality. What we fail to see is that these new identities are no less contingent and dictated to us then the ones circumscribed by tradition; only now the constraints are imposed by for-profit companies in explicit service of gain.

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