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Friday, October 17 2014

‘Into the War’ Is Introspective, Poignant,  and Moralistic in All the Right Ways

Italo Calvino offers a rarely personal, and deeply insightful, glimpse of the adolescent experience of war.


Thursday, October 16 2014

Soap, Candles, and Even the Humble Ice Cube Make Appearances in ‘How We Got to Now’

From the first selfie to the importance of jazz musicians, Steven Johnson puts a few surprises into How We Got To Now.


‘Surgeon General’s Warning’ Provides a Fascinating History on a Controversial Position

Written in vivid detail and expertly researched, Mike Stobbe's chronicle of the office of the Surgeon General parts the curtains on some surprising heroes and brings us to a surprising conclusion.


Lars Iyers’ ‘Wittgenstein Jr’ Is a Portrait of the Genius as a Tortured Thinker

Lars Iyer's latest novel explores sadness and genius while contemplating the end of philosophy.


Wednesday, October 15 2014

‘The End of Absence’ Is an Argument to Turn Off and Tune In

These days there's so much technodread floating around that you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a thinkpiece about how smartphones are ruining our minds.


‘The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace’ Will Make You Think

This real-world account of an ill-fated Yale student's life will be haunting me for many months.


Tuesday, October 14 2014

Mainstream Economists Are Leading America to Ruin

The challenges for Americans and other countries to grapple with are not economic ones, and they are not narrow, technically ‘scientific’ ones. They are moral and philosophical ones.


Why You Have No Idea What Your Favorite Characters Look Like

Celebrated book designer Peter Mendelsund considers how readers construct (or fail to construct) visual images in their minds in What We See When We Read.


Monday, October 13 2014

The Campus Novel as Gonzo Mayhem

His Ph.D revoked, a man fueled by anger returns to an institution he despises in Primordial: An Abstraction.


In ‘The Beggar and the Hare’, Beggars Can Be Choosers

What really happens when you hit rock bottom?


Friday, October 10 2014

‘Some Luck’ Is Sweeping, Bold, and Completely Engrossing

Few authors are able to write equally well about war strategy, communism, cover crops, and postpartum depression.


Let Your Twee Flag Fly High!

Twee is about much more than DIY/Etsy, hipsters and Zooey Deschanel.


Thursday, October 9 2014

‘Tough Day for the Army’ Is a Middle Finger to the Strictures of Form

Whether it’s the recollection of Jesus’ time on the ice as a hockey player, or the confessions of a newspaper editor, Warner isn’t bound by the traditional template for short stories.


‘Uncle Anton’s Atomic Bomb’ Is a Story Full of Details That Requires and Rewards Close Reading

Follow author Ian Woollen's advice: "Sit back, sip your drink, and allow words and phrases such as 'sock hop' and 'fallout', 'Studebaker', and 'Red Scare' to summon up what images they will."


Wednesday, October 8 2014

The End Is Not the End in ‘Station Eleven’

Emily St. John Mandel's book about the survivors of a devastating plague is a thoughtful and original take on the post-apocalyptic genre.


‘The Complete Cosmicomics’ Presents a Fantasy Universe Far Richer Than Our Own

In a strange sense, the yearning for meaning in each of these tales makes them feel like part of religious lore.


Tuesday, October 7 2014

‘Saving Face’: On Battling Social Death

This is not to dwell on narcissism, but to explore how beliefs and assumptions of appearance are put to work in this culture, and how it produces newly-anxious and increasingly insecure subjectivities.


‘The Bookman’s Tale’ Has Too Much of Everything, Which Satisfies No One

Joining the Dan Brown school of pseudo-intellectual adventure writing, Charlie Lovett’s novel takes on one of the most fascinating conspiracy theories of all time.


Monday, October 6 2014

What Power Do Images Have in Our Society?

Images and visual culture shape our reality – in all its nightmarish, as well as hopeful, potential.


Elliot Smith: Beyond the Persona

Leaving behind spectacle and sensation, Torment Saint offers a compassionate and measured portrayal of late singer-songwriter Elliott Smith.


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