Recent Features
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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John Updike Gives the Mundane Its Beautiful Due

Depending on whom you listen to, God, or the devil, is in the details, and that's exactly where John Updike's talent lies, too.

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What If God Doesn’t Hate Fags After All?

Both James Alexander Langteaux and Mary Griffith have become leading voices in the discussion about how one can align a deeply personal relationship with God and support the LGBT community. Yet, neither wanted the job.

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8 Nov 2013 // 3:30 AM

Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him

Controversial and somewhat enigmatic, Richard Pryor’s performances opened up a new world of possibilities, merging fantasy with angry reality in a way that wasn’t just new—it was heretofore unthinkable.

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Experiencing Nirvana: An Interview with Bruce Pavitt

Bruce Pavitt, co-founder of Sub Pop Records, talks about the early days of Sub Pop, indie culture in the 1980s, and his new book about breaking the most legendary band of the '90s in Europe, Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe, 1989.

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Big Books vs Small Minds: The Intellectual & Literal Heft of ‘Night Film’ & ‘A Naked Singularity’

Marisha Pessl and Sergio de la Pava have both found success with novels that are defiant in their length and ambition. Yet critical and editorial prejudice against their 'Bigness' -- in scope and heft -- won't budge.

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Americana: The Kinks, the Riff, the Road: The Story

Ray Davies tries to make sense of his long love-hate relationship with America, the country that both inspired and frustrated him.

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25 Oct 2013 // 2:15 AM

Novelty: A History of the New

Novelty remains a central problem of contemporary science and literature—an ever-receding target that, in its complexity and evasiveness, continues to inspire and propel the modern.

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How That Flawed Man Flew: Beyond the Myth of Charlie Parker

Chuck Haddix's new biography of the great alto saxophonist unearths fresh details of his early life—and helps us to see more clearly his genius and his tragedy.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media

Considering Twitter: An Interview with App Artist Nora Reed

// Moving Pixels

"Twitter is a place where bots prevail. And where they don't rule, people, acting like bots, rule. This uneasy person-bot rapprochement offers a fertile space for artistic exploration.

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