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Monday, March 18 2013

“Just Walk Into That Cloud”: Finding Bhutan in Books and Film

"Happy peasants in bountiful fields. A King who's too good to be true.... I'm making photos, shooting video and collecting stories. Everybody in Bhutan's got a story -- some of them might even be true."


Thursday, March 14 2013

Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think

Which paint color is most likely to tell you that a used car is in good shape? How can officials identify the most dangerous New York City manholes before they explode? How did Google searches predict the spread of the H1N1 flu outbreak?


Thursday, March 7 2013

River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom

This bold reaccounting dramatically alters our understanding of American slavery and its role in U.S. expansionism, global capitalism, and the upcoming Civil War.


Thursday, February 28 2013

A Great and Monstrous Thing: London in the Eighteenth Century

White introduces us to shopkeepers and prostitutes, men and women of fashion and genius, street-robbers and thief-takers, as they play out the astonishing drama of life in 18th century London.


Sunday, February 24 2013

The Pop Culture Death Trap Part 2: The Death of Beauty

Despite having seen it all before – the rock star and the blonde actress – we look on each such instance of celebrity death with the same mixture of surprise, curiosity, horror, and glee. Pop culture reflects our capacity to simultaneously ignore death and make of it an obsession.


Thursday, February 21 2013

Abandoned ‘Star Wars’ Plot Points Episode II: The Force Behind the Scenes

With Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm already changing Star Wars, let's look at the prior behind the scene changes in the saga.


Thursday, February 14 2013

Jelly Roll, Bix, and Hoagy: Gennett Records and the Rise of America’s Musical Grassroots

Gennett Records produced thousands of records and debuted such stars as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Bix Biederbecke, Jelly Roll Morton, Hoagy Carmichael, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, and Gene Autry.


Wednesday, January 30 2013

The Beatification of Philip K. Dick

Fueled by his science fiction work, by his mystical aura and his growing legend, the cult of Philip K. Dick continues to expand.


Thursday, January 24 2013

The Best Non-Fiction of 2012

Memoirs in graphic novel form blur the line that snakes between non-fiction and fiction; humorists and pulitzer prize winners delight, inform and terrify us; the real world, artfully penned, opens itself into a book, vulnerable, yet daring us to look. Here is the best of what we saw.


Thursday, January 17 2013

The Best Fiction of 2012

Historical fiction, science fiction, graphic novels, anthologies, mysteries, satire, young adult, even poetry(!) -- on subjects from the lighthearted to the apocalypse -- our favorites from 2012 are as wide-ranging and diverse as our writers and our readers. Dive in and revel in the pleasure of getting lost in a good book.


Wednesday, December 19 2012

The Best Music Books of 2012

This year's best books about music include thought-provoking reads on how music works, in-depth histories of the underground, and soul-searching autobiographies from legendary (and not-so-legendary) performers.


Thursday, December 13 2012

The Biographical Dictionary of Popular Music

An incredible and opinionated collection of celebrated cultural critic Dylan Jones’s thoughts on more than 350 of the most important artists around the world—alive and dead, big and small, at length and in brief.


Thursday, December 6 2012

Oliver Sacks’ ‘Hallucinations’

Hearing voices? Don’t worry, the revered Dr. Oliver Sacks assures, in that regard at least, you’re perfectly sane.


Thursday, November 29 2012

‘The First Four Notes: Beethoven’s Fifth and the Human Imagination’

Music Historian Matthew Guerrieri traces the origins and influence of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, weaving a fascinating piece of musical detective work.


Thursday, November 15 2012

Reinventing Bach

An electrifying story of how musicians of genius have made Bach’s music new in our time, at once restoring Bach as a universally revered composer and revolutionizing the ways that music figures into our lives.


Wednesday, November 14 2012

The Critic As Artful Gadfly: Pauline Kael

At her best, Pauline Kael was everything a film critic should be: passionate, knowledgable, in love with the movies and writing about them, willing to defend her reviews, and vicious. She was also everything movie goers despise in a critic: well-educated, argumentative, stubborn, and vicious.


Thursday, November 8 2012

The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father’s Twentieth Century

Using the life and career of her father, an early Hollywood actor, New Yorker writer Margaret Talbot tells the thrilling story of the rise of popular culture through a transfixing personal lens.


Thursday, November 1 2012

Instant: The Story of Polaroid

Instant tells the tale of a one-of-a-kind invention-from Polaroid's first instant camera in 1948, to its meteoric rise in popularity and adoption by artists such as Ansel Adams, Andy Warhol, and Chuck Close, to the company's bankruptcy in the late '90s and its unlikely resurrection in the digital age.


Sunday, October 28 2012

The Ladylike-Defying, Guitar Playing Debra Devi and ‘The Language of the Blues’

For aficionados of American history, music and etymology, the blues is the ideal confluence of all three fields. Devi's book is a roadmap for observing how their paths overlap.


Thursday, October 25 2012

Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween

Halloween has spread around the globe to places as diverse as Russia, China, and Japan, but its association with death and the supernatural and its inevitable commercialization has made it one of our most misunderstood holidays.


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