Recent Features
Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was America’s Favorite Spectator Sport

In the late 1800s, America’s most popular spectator sport wasn’t baseball, boxing, or horseracing—it was competitive walking. Indeed, when a New York arena overbooked, fans rioted.

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4 Apr 2014 // 2:15 AM

Pranksters: Making Mischief in the Modern World

From Benjamin Franklin's hoax about the the death of his rival to Abbie Hoffman’s attempt to levitate the Pentagon to Stephen Colbert’s “news reporting”, pranksters, hoaxers, and con artists use humor to underscore larger, pointed truths about society.

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Civilized Murders: An Interview with Hugh Fleetwood

Hugh Fleetwood’s chilling and dark mysteries deal with psychologically-damaged characters, ones whose actions are usually the result of some personality disorder often undisclosed to everyone but the reader.

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‘The Age of Atheists’ Considers That Beyond Reason or Religion, Our Quest for Meaning Endures

Who will choose this enriching and rewarding removal from reality TV and manufactured distraction? Who will walk the course mapped in these heady pages, along a sobering path of self-awareness of our fragile presence surrounded by darkness and mystery?

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21 Mar 2014 // 2:15 AM

Inferno: An Anatomy of American Punishment

In the last 20 years, America’s incarceration rates have risen 500 percent. Sentences are harsh, prisons are overcrowded, life inside is dangerous, and rehabilitation programs don't work. Do we want our prisons to be this way?

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A New Book Calls for a More Activist Black Church—But That Might Be Easier Said Than Done

The difference between churches of service and activism is seen by the degree to which they hold to the philosophies of black theology, a school of religious thought that emerged in the wake of the racial tumult of the ‘60s.

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In Defense of Reading Books, Not E-Readers

Even if an e-reader might be more practical than a heavy book, there isn't an electronic screen on the planet that rivals the prestige attached to such a time-tested medium.

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14 Mar 2014 // 2:15 AM

Sex Scene: Media and the Sexual Revolution

Sex Scene suggests that what we have come to understand as the sexual revolution of the late '60s and early '70s was actually a media revolution.

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The Drowning Pool: When Great Writers Are Drunks

Berryman, Carver, Cheever, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Williams; none could tend the flame of their talent with anything but liquor and devastation.

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The Scarlet Sisters: Sex, Suffrage, and Scandal in the Gilded Age

Victoria Woodhull and Tennessee "Tennie" Claflin -- the most fascinating and scandalous sisters in American history -- were unequaled for their vastly avant-garde crusade for women's fiscal, political, and sexual independence.

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Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

Uncharted puts the "big data" of Google Books through the lens of a tool called Ngram, but the meaning of the results, and even their validity, turn a great read into a cautionary tale.

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Down to the Crossroads: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Meredith March Against Fear

Martin Luther King, Jr., narrowly escaped a mob attack; protesters were teargassed by state police; Lyndon Johnson refused to intervene; and Stokely Carmichael led the chant that would define a new kind of civil rights movement: Black Power.

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14 Feb 2014 // 3:15 AM

Lifted: A Cultural History of the Elevator

Before skyscrapers forever transformed urban landscapes, the conveyance that made them possible had to be created.

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What Would Thomas Pynchon Do?

Like his protagonists, Thomas Pynchon appears to remind us, in his absence from advising us, that we must rely on our own smarts, arrayed against mystery and cynicism and corruption.

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“The Goodness of Privacy in a Warm Room with Books”

We all search for escape, and while music, drugs, radicalism, or fame may ease the monotony, the protagonists of so many of these tales find themselves at the end of their narratives still constrained.

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What Is Not Erased: Kafka and Lynch and Their Gift of Death

Eraserhead is very much of the same ilk as The Metamorphosis, and could be described to be a dark(er) twin of that novella.

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Soul Train: The Hippest Nostalgia Trip in America

Soul Train was more than entertainment for black America. It was inspiration and validation. Questlove gives us another ride.

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24 Jan 2014 // 3:30 AM

Elegy for Theory

While university curriculums are being driven by scientism and market forces, Rodowick argues for the importance of the arts and humanities as transformative, self-renewing cultural legacies.

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A Lot of Good Books Published in 2013 Kept Me Awake at Night

The year 2013 saw a rash of big new books published, from the likes of Stephen King, Malcolm Gladwell, and David Sedaris; none of whom made this list.

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Fiction Had Appeal and Poetry Captured Me, but Non-Fiction Proved Irresistible in 2013

Art, politics, poetry, food, and global fiction: 2013 year brought in a variety of engaging titles from many genres. Still, non-fiction tops my 2013 favorites.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

'Sugar Hill' Breaks Out the Old-School Zombies

// Short Ends and Leader

"Sugar Hill was made in a world before ordinary shuffling, Romero-type zombies took over the cinema world.

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