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Zadie Smith's 'Intimations' Essays Pandemic With Erudite Wit and Compassion

Zadie Smith's Intimations is an essay collection of gleaming, wry, and crisp prose that wears its erudition lightly but takes flight on both everyday and lofty matters.

Recent
Books

In 'Afterimages' Laura Mulvey Returns to Feminist Film Criticism with Fresh Insights

Mulvey's Afterimages draws together her recent writing on women and film to create an engaging collection that is both timely and time-centred.

Books

'Vanity Fair's Women on Women' Is a Missed Opportunity

Women writing about famous women does not a feminist or otherwise interesting collection make.

Books

Debut Essay Collection 'Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now' Takes a Slice from the Americana Songbook

Although Andre Perry's essays in his debut, Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now, traverse various geographical journeys, they are, overall, ballads, images from the self, the man isolated and marginalized in other countries and in his own land.

Books

On Arundhati Roy's 'My Seditious Heart'

While her novels evoke romance, longing, forbidden love, and class struggle, Arundhati Roy's nonfiction proves more incendiary, more seditious.

Reviews

On Jennine Capó Crucet's Course in Continuing Education, 'My Time Among the Whites'

In her memoir My Time Among the Whites, Jennine Capó Crucet demonstrates that making your home among strangers is harder than it seems.

Culture

Jia Tolentino's 'Trick Mirror' Is a Studied Index of Contemporary Ills

Jia Tolentino's first collection of essays, Trick Mirror, expertly navigates how the byproducts of capitalism and the Internet permeate culture, values, politics, and the daily lives of people worldwide.

Books

Jess Row's 'White Flights' Examines Avoidant Rituals of Race in American Literature

"White flights" for Jess Row denotes the "postures of avoidance and denial" about whiteness — as a privilege, a cultural norm, and a burden — adopted by white authors, academics, and critics.

Books

Robert Christgau, Collected: 'Book Reports'

The columns, reviews, and essays covering the intersections of musical narratives, sociology, history, and economics in Book Reports, from the Dean of American Rock Critics, is much more than just the man on the tunes.

Books

Eula Biss's Reissued 'Notes from No Man's Land' Resonates

Eula Biss's essay collection remains compelling not only for its elegant prose that melds politics and personal essay but because its subject matter may be even more relevant today.

Books

Saving Acid Communism: 800 Pages of the Essential Leftist Critic Mark Fisher

Mark Fisher's posthumous collection of essays, k-punk, edited by Darren Ambrose, is an important reminder of the power and versatility of Leftist thinking in horrible times.

Books

Oscar Wilde: 'In Praise of Disobedience'

Being humble and peaceable are not virtues, according to Oscar Wilde, as seen in his collection of essays, In Praise of Disobedience, disobedience and rebelliousness against inequality and tyranny are much more valuable to humankind.

Books

Owls, Aliens, and Others

Essayist Brian Phillips is no staunch empiricist, nor does he want to shatter delusions or expose machinations. In Impossible Owls, he is content to remain in a wide-eyed and owl-ier place.

Books

The Problem with Joseph Epstein's Essays on Culture

One can't help but wonder what Epstein feels at churning out fuel for those reactionaries most determined to wreck "the best that has been thought and said" in liberal culture.

Books

'We're Still at War': Illustrated Stories Testifying to Atrocities, Survival, and the Human Condition

Post Bellum's publishing mission is not simply to isolate testimony from those who suffered but to also shed light on those who worked against the smothering constraints of fascism and totalitarianism.

Books

Alice Bolin's 'Dead Girls' Fails to Closely Exam the Bodies

Throughout Dead Girls, Bolin is too eager to jam pack chapters with popular cultural references rather than fully deconstructing the subjects.

Books

Zevon Never Dies: 'Accidentally Like a Martyr' Epitomizes That Wonderful Feeling of Being a Zevon Fan

James Campion's touching, personal study of Warren Zevon's music serves as a reminder of the lasting intimacy of Zevon's songwriting.

Books

The Many Benefits of Travel: Paul Theroux's 'Figures in a Landscape'

Travel of the kind Theroux has spent a lifetime doing would compel anyone to develop patience, a love of solitude and anonymity, a constant alertness, and a resourceful toughness.

Books

'Voices from the Rust Belt': Dispatches from one of America’s Most Misunderstood Regions

The daughters and sons of the embattled, resilient US heartland map out its personal, cultural, and historical landscape.

Books

He's Martin Amis...and We're Not

The recent release of The Rub of Time once again marks Martin Amis amongst our most proficient critics, seemingly without peer in terms of his range and scope.

Books

Exquisite Self-Control and Abandonment in 'The Complete Ballet'

This is an intricate, stunningly choreographed dance -- parts memoir and criticism -- through life, love, and loss within the context of classical ballet.

Books

'Chronicles of a Liquid Society' and the Best Dinner Companion for End Times​

The significance of Umberto Eco's work as collected here is found not in his astonishing foresight but in his reasoning.

Books

It Takes a Village to Raise a Feminist: 'Nasty Women', an Anthology

Wars of attrition are a matter of stamina, of who has the most tools with which to keep fighting. A surprising common tool in this collection? Humor.

Books

'Melville: A Novel' and Its 'Foreign Companion'

Something of a paean to Herman Melville and Moby Dick, just reading Jean Giono's writing for its own sake is both different from what you might expect -- and delightful.

Books

Encounter Across the Abyss: Examining the Ontology of the Self in Toni Morrison's 'The Origins of Others'

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

Books

Nonrequired Reading Has a Finger on the Pulse of the Moment

Turning the pages of The Best American Nonrequired Reading to find Tweets or sheet music creates the kind of unexpected surprise that's often encountered in digital space, but seldom in print.

Books

If the Aim of Literature Is to Spark Debate, Philip Roth Has Succeeded

This sprawling collection of Philip Roth's nonfiction is often insightful, sometimes fascinating, and occasionally overlong.

Books

'Against Everything' Captures Mark Grief's Journey Towards Transformation

Mark Greif tackles the big picture in a collection of interesting, ponderous, powerful essays about music, experiences, identity, and reality in all its forms.

Books

Recognizing Structures of Genocide: Toni Morrison's 'The Origin of Others'

In these times, when hope can seem an empty concept, Morrison reminds us that fiction is a laboratory for emerging philosophies and politics.

Books

Albert Goldbarth's Adventures of Frustration and Cleverness

The Adventures of Form of Content is filled with exceptional essays for a specific crowd.

Reviews

On Saul Bellow's Artful Two-mindedness

There may be simply too much to think about, but Saul Bellow certainly made a valiant effort over the course of his long career.

Books

'White Girls': How Black Men and Women Have Confronted White Privilege

Hilton Als’ gift is his reinvention of famous figures, but from the angle of how well they succeeded or failed to confront white supremacy and privilege, or in their (in)abilities to give blacks a voice.

Books

David Shields' 'How Literature Saved My Life' Substitutes Flaccidity for Fervor

How Literature Saved My Life is a writer lying himself out on an operating table, using art—movies, music, literature—as a scalpel, and somehow managing to spill very little blood.

Reviews

'My Heart Is an Idiot' Celebrates Love, Solidarity, and Adventure

Davy Rothbart writes about losing at love, yes, but he models the adventurous life with aplomb, traveling through small, dusty towns with an open mind and heart, meeting diverse souls and collecting unbelievable stories along the way. This is one terrific memoir.

Books

'Otherwise Known as the Human Condition' Is Equally Enthralling and Befuddling

In a collection of nearly 30 years' worth of work, Geoff Dyer proves himself to be a fascinatingly eclectic writer, but only partially succeeds at tying everything together.

Books

The Best American Non-Required Reading 2009 ed. Dave Eggers

In this collection, the tirelessly unconventional Dave Eggers collects a year's worth of American writing that ostensibly is a far cry from what we deem "the classics".

Books

The Devil Gets His Due: The Uncollected Essays of Leslie Fiedler. Ed. Samuele F.S. Pardini

Whatever the subject at hand, nearly every page of this collection evinces Fiedler’s intelligence, erudition, panache, and combativeness.


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