Books

Lydia Davis Is the Perfect Writer for the Twitter Era
April 07, 2014

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.

Reviewing the Unreviewable
How to assess the promising, posthumous work of a 22-year-old
April 06, 2014

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.

The Greatest Ex-Nazi Writer
Never heard of Gottfried Benn? It's because of his politics
April 05, 2014

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

Paul de Man Was a Total Fraud
The literary-critical giant lied about every part of his life
April 05, 2014

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.

Reading Won't Make You a Better Person
Enough with the sanctimonious blather!
March 28, 2014

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

Fitzgerald's Ideas Were Solid. His Books Were a Little More Convoluted.
March 27, 2014

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

The Miseducation of the Tiger Mom
An odd new book by Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld gives ambition a bad name
March 25, 2014

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

China's Dan Brown is a Subtle Subversive
March 25, 2014

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

The Intellectual and Other Wanderings of Walter Benjamin
March 23, 2014

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

"Flyover Country" Is an Insult to Midwesterners Like Me. So Is "Heartland" Sentimentality.
March 22, 2014

Three writers set out to defend the region and end up committing the same common mistake.

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