Columns > Books

Friday, February 17 2017

It’s a Wonderful Death: A Thanksgiving Carol

This novel is reminiscent of Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol -- but with a twist.


Thursday, February 9 2017

The Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones’ Memoir ‘Lonely Boy’ Leaves One Wondering

If punk died the day the Clash signed to CBS, what were Rotten, Jones, Cook, and Matlock doing reforming the Sex Pistols in 1996?


Friday, February 3 2017

Philippe Druillet’s Lone Sloane Adventures Artfully Take You to Other Worlds

These books create a visually mesmerizing mix of sci-fi and fantasy, where rocket ships cause men to stumble upon gods and monsters that occupy the distant corners of the universe.


Wednesday, January 18 2017

Barack Obama Bio ‘Audacity’ Is at War With Itself

Chait's defense of gradualist politics-as-usual undermines the supposedly audacious achievements of President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.


Wednesday, January 11 2017

Richard Dawkins and the Need for a New Science Populism

Now, more than ever, public intellectual scientists like Dawkins are needed to counter the forces of faith, fiction, and farce dominating our so-called “post-fact” society.


Thursday, January 5 2017

The Galloway Case: Sexual Harassment, Due Process, and Literary Exceptionalism

Steven Galloway's sexual harassment case, and the literary establishment's response to it, reveals a lot about how much work still needs to be done in combating misogyny.


Monday, December 19 2016

Radicalism and the Art of Compromise

Under a Trump Administration, is it better to be a rebel with a cause, or a reformer with a platform? "Red" Ellen Wilkenson's biography gives us some insight into these difficulties.


Thursday, December 15 2016

Trumpaholism, or, Is “Liquor Before Beer, Never Fear” a Piece of Fake News?

How I worry when I drink, and why Distilled Knowledge is diffuse knowledge.


Wednesday, December 14 2016

If Studs Terkel Were Alive Today, What Would Steve Bannon Tell Him?

Terkel biographer Alen Wieder reminds us that if he were alive today, Studs would actually listen to the voices of the Trump voters -- all of them.


Tuesday, December 13 2016

On the Robot Zombies of Angkor Wat in John Burdett’s ‘The Bangkok Asset’

The sixth novel in John Burdett's Bangkok detective series is a dispiriting, dismaying mess. Is there still hope for recovery or is the series in a death spiral?


Monday, December 12 2016

Home Alone: Laird Koenig’s ‘The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane’

Novelist Laird Koenig managed to capture the world of children with an exactitude that is rare nowadays. His children are often sagacious -- and sometimes they're sociopaths.


Wednesday, November 30 2016

Was Your iPhone Produced by Slaves? Has It Made You One, As Well?

Media scholar Jack Linchuan Qiu argues that slavery-like conditions, which define digital media workers, mirror the slavery-like obsessions of consumers.


Thursday, November 10 2016

Old Ideas and New Generations: What Leonard Cohen Means to Us

Leonard Cohen endures and conquers. But does he mean something different to Millenial audiences than he did to their parents? Can the legend of Cohen escape its own clichés?


Monday, November 7 2016

Are We Gon’ Be Alright?

Crises abound in America, but while complacency won the day before, these times feel different.


Friday, October 21 2016

Pondering Life Post-Capitalism in ‘Four Futures’

Can markets be separated from capitalism? From money? From the disenfranchising effects of equating social power with money?


Wednesday, October 19 2016

The Unfathomable Confessions of Bruce Springsteen

Springsteen's autobiography, Born to Run, is on a mission to deliver us into the paradox of holy terror.


Tuesday, October 18 2016

Harry Belafonte and the Art of Activism

Harry Belafonte's life and work looms large over this moment, when artists of color are exercising their activist voices.


Monday, October 17 2016

Why Are So Many White Americans So Fearful These Days?

Published just as many white American conservatives embrace a xenophobic demagogue as their savior, Hochschild’s emotive and empathic study provides guidance for how the US came to this crisis point.


Friday, October 7 2016

The Absolution of Paul Theroux’s ‘Saint Jack’ in a World Lacking Irony

The narrative of Paul Theroux's (and later Peter Bogdanovich's) Saint Jack offers a palliative to the high-priced hedonism taking place in an American-owned compound in Singapore.


Thursday, September 29 2016

The Mexican Journey That Made One of the 20th Century’s Finest Writers

Sybille Bedford's account of her remarkable year in Mexico is the perfect introduction to one of the 20th century's most remarkable writers.


//Mixed media

//Blogs

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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