Books

Karl Ove Knausgaard Became a Literary Sensation by Exposing His Every Secret

Readers love him for it. He hates himself.

He became the literary star of 2014 by exposing his every secret. Now he hates himself for it. 

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Too distracted by technology, lack of sleep, or your kids to focus on anything longer than a list? Here’s one of Lydia Davis’s stories, “Bloomington,” from her latest collection, Can’t and Won’t, in its entirety. Feel free to tweet it when you’re done. Now that I have been here for a little while, I can say with confidence that I have never been here before.(107 characters, counting spaces) Or another, “The Results of One Statistical Study,” that’s even shorter:

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Reviewing the Unreviewable

How to assess the promising, posthumous work of a 22-year-old

The act of reviewing—or even just having critical thoughts about—juvenilia produced by someone who cannot defend herself seems both loathsome and pointless. But this book calls for it.

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The Greatest Ex-Nazi Writer

Never heard of Gottfried Benn? It's because of his politics

Gottfreid Benn was a Nazi very briefly in the early 1930s. Why did it erase him from literary history?

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Paul de Man Was a Total Fraud

The literary-critical giant lied about every part of his life

Paul de Man lied about everything: his college, his grad school, his rent payments, his quotations of Nietzsche and Rousseau. He even cheated his father out of his life savings. And that's just the beginning.

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Reading Won't Make You a Better Person

Enough with the sanctimonious blather!

There is no longer any need to write “in defense of” reading—and yet we keep churning out books along these lines. 

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Fitzgerald says that Tender is the Night is his farewell to the members of his own generation; I hope he changes his mind. He has in him at least one

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The Miseducation of the Tiger Mom

An odd new book by Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld gives ambition a bad name

A book by Yale Law professors Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld shows an astonishing lack of scholarly rigor or common sense.

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The writer who goes by the pen name Mai Jia is the most popular author in the world you’ve never heard of. 

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We do not imagine Benjamin on the beach. But the great intellectual of city life defied every school and stereotype.

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