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Articles on this Page
- 03/07/17--02:41: _Trump in a Toga? On...
- 03/28/17--02:46: _Independent Booksto...
- 04/18/17--02:49: _From Mukasonga to A...
- 05/09/17--02:40: _On the Books We Rea...
- 05/23/17--02:41: _We Need the Lives o...
- 06/06/17--02:46: _Why is One Hundred ...
- 06/20/17--02:47: _To Catch the Consci...
- 07/11/17--02:39: _Who Will Tell the T...
- 07/25/17--02:50: _How the Witchcraft ...
- 08/08/17--02:33: _On the Redemptive G...
- 08/28/17--02:49: _The Secret E-Book T...
- 09/18/17--02:45: _American Xenophobia...
- 10/23/17--02:46: _How the Oldest Stor...
- 03/28/17--02:46: Independent Bookstore as Essential Political Act
- 04/18/17--02:49: From Mukasonga to Alexievich, We Need Writers Who Bear Witness
- 05/09/17--02:40: On the Books We Read (and Write) to Get By
- 05/23/17--02:41: We Need the Lives of Others Now More Than Ever
- 06/06/17--02:46: Why is One Hundred Years of Solitude Eternally Beloved?
- 06/20/17--02:47: To Catch the Conscience of the President: On the Power of Theater
- 07/11/17--02:39: Who Will Tell the Tales of American Fascism?
- 07/25/17--02:50: How the Witchcraft of Clarice Lispector Saved My Life
- 08/08/17--02:33: On the Redemptive Generosity of Artistic Communities
- 08/28/17--02:49: The Secret E-Book That Changed My Life
- 10/23/17--02:46: How the Oldest Stories Can Give Us the Best Perspective
Picture it: a popular demagogue seizes power from the democratically elected government of a vast and prosperous, but also dysfunctional and corrupt republic. Realizing they have been reduced to a rubber stamp, the senators of this nation conspire to assassinate the would-be tyrant. The tyrant dies, but democracy is not saved: in the ensuing power […]
I was recently in San Francisco’s Mission District with an hour to kill. In general I hate having to kill time—I never know what to do—and to make things worse I was tired and just wanted to be home with a good book. So I wandered along, trying to find something to occupy my attention, […]
“I’ve often said it was the genocide of Rwanda’s Tutsis in 1994 that made me a writer.” These are the words of author Scholastique Mukasonga, a Tutsi who lost 27 family members—including her mother and father—when Hutu throughout her nation murdered 800,000 of their fellow citizens, often brutally with nothing more than a machete. Mukasonga’s […]
Two years ago, a good friend of mine lost her adult son. He was a beautiful young man full of life, energy, and potential, and then in one sudden moment he was gone. How is it possible to overcome the grief of such a monstrous loss? It was terrible to watch this friend try to […]
I cannot tell you how much I depend on Tony Judt these days. When it came to 20th-century Europe, Judt was without peer. He illuminated the rise of fascism, the triumph of democracy, why the right took power in some places, the left in others. As our contemporary politics gets more and more ominous, his books […]
Earlier this year I made my first visit to Colombia. During my stay, I became familiar with many of the emblems around which this wonderful nation’s image revolves. There is of course the coffee, some of the best in the world and perhaps primarily known to Americans by the mustachioed Juan Valdez. There are also […]
Just days after I completed and submitted this column, an enormous controversy broke out over The Public Theater’s staging of William Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, which dramatizes the assassination of Caesar and the ensuing chaos and civil war. The controversy was in the choice to make the murdered Caesar a very obvious stand-in for President […]
Picture it: three mild-mannered academics are having dinner together in London. They’re literary scholars who have deeply bonded over a shared love for an obscure author. The conversation turns to collegial romance, and the two men begin to press their female colleague on whether or not she has fancied a third man known to all. As they […]
The story of a woman eating a cockroach—it may not sound like the most inspiring thing in the world, but this book saved my life. I worked for a corporation, and every day at lunch I would take this strange little novel outside to a poured concrete picnic table and read for an hour in […]
Earlier this summer I interviewed my friend and colleague Daniel Hahn, who had just given away £12,500—roughly $16,500. That’s a lot of money, and Danny is not a wealthy man. He’s a literary translator, a line of work with famously low rates, and even though he’s in high demand and tends to be prolific, there’s […]
I’ve only purchased two ebooks in my whole life. I don’t like to do my reading on devices, and in fact I’ll do almost anything to avoid reading a book electronically. I love the feel of having a paperback to take with me and mark up—in my mind, nothing matches their ease and pleasure. Of […]
Shortly before the birth of Christ, the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus took a moment to reflect on a practice that was still not very widespread in the Western world, yet one that he had concluded was indispensable to human prosperity: Who could compose a worthy encomium of literacy? For it is by means of writing […]
An oddly postmodern thing happens right near the beginning of Virgil’s ancient classic the Aeneid. Having fled Troy in defeat from the Greeks, and destined to found the great Roman civilization, a defeated, beleaguered Aeneas and his men wash up on the northern coast of Africa near Carthage. Before long Aeneas locates the bustling port […]