Recent Features
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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2013 Was a Fine Year to Have Your Head In a Book

Five books published in 2013 that stayed with me, that I found myself urging on others, that I now say to you, Hey! Read this!

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Walking Through the Space of Childhood: Geneviève Castrée’s ‘Susceptible’

Comics is an ideal medium for showing memory, time and mind, as having "physical dimensions".

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Unhappy Holidays? Conflicts, Contradictions and the Ghosts of Christmas Music Past and Present

How do we reconcile the joyous holiday season with a nagging sensation that it might not be as jolly as it should be?

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13 Dec 2013 // 3:15 AM

Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World

From Star Trek to The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Harry Potter, Twilight, and beyond, Fic sheds light on the widely misunderstood world(s) of fanfiction and how it is reshaping our literary landscape.

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The Punishment Imperative: The Rise and Failure of Mass Incarceration in America

Eminent criminologists make a compelling case for why America's 40 year embrace of the punitive spirit has been morally bankrupt and endangered public safety.

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Around the World in 40 Books: From the Dog’s POV to the Novel-as-Peyote

My ramblings about reading are so valued that I'm now a big star in Tanzania. On my recent whirlwind tour I was mobbed at the airport and carried about on people's shoulders.

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In ‘Imperial’ Vollmann Struggles to Understand the Salton Sea as He Would a Mark Rothko Painting

Here as in all his works, William T. Vollman sides with the poor and the marginalized, but he tries to remain fair to all he meets, even as he confesses his prejudice, or tolerance.

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Albert Camus and the Universal Quality of Human Dignity

Both Elements of a Life and A Life Worth Living offer concise, eloquent, and learned treatments of the life and work of Albert Camus.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Ubisoft Understands the Art of the Climb

// Moving Pixels

"Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed and Grow Home epitomize the art of the climb.

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