Wednesday, 16 April, 2014
Chris Beckett, The Atlantic
Why do so many readers still look down on the genre of Orwell and Atwood?
Tuesday, 15 April, 2014
Emily Nussbaum, New Yorker
The gorgeous existential funk of “Adventure Time.”
Boris Kachka, ELLE
Like Theo’s customers, we want to be deceived, and no one obliges better than the mature Donna Tartt—perhaps not even her younger self.
Adam Platt, Grub Street
The Chinatown dining scene has been stuck in neutral for years now.
Chris Suellentrop, New York Times
The implacable nature of the game led me to delay writing about FTL at first. Never before have I written about a video game that I haven’t completed — that is to say, that I haven’t won by defeating the game’s final stage. In fact, I’ve told myself that it’s unethical to do so. You have to turn every page, watch every frame.
But a permadeath game subverts that expectation. Life is permadeath, after all, but you’re not expected to delay your autobiography until you’ve played to the end, are you?
William Grimes, New York Times
A quarter-century has passed since the Berlin Wall came down and the German Democratic Republic disappeared. That’s more than half the life span of the East German state, a smoke-and-mirrors contraption conjured from the rubble of World War II that has become, for those who lived there, an increasingly distant and improbable memory.
That memory haunts Maxim Leo, a journalist who grew up in East Berlin and watched the world of his parents and grandparents, and of his own youth, vanish overnight. It lies at the heart of “Red Love: The Story of an East German Family,” his searching and sensitive chronicle of three generations making the journey from euphoric hope to disillusionment to despair.
Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
Her latest novel, “Casebook,” provides an ungainly look at a boy’s relationship with his mother as their family navigates the choppy waters of separation and divorce.
Monday, 14 April, 2014
Thomas McGuane, New Yorker
Sunday, 13 April, 2014
Alice Gregory, GQ
In the beginning, Ryan McGInley was an outsider. He used his band of beautiful friends to create photographs—rarely not naked but never quite sexy—that he now calls "evidence of fun." But in the past decade, McGinley's vision has evolved and expanded into a tidal wave of influence, affecting the look of art, advertising, music videos, film, even Instagram—and making him arguably the most important photographer in America. So why are so many of us just learning his name?
Andrew Hussey, The Guardian
One of the slogans of the 2011 Occupy protests was 'capitalism isn't working'. Now, in an epic, groundbreaking new book, French economist Thomas Piketty explains why they're right.
Saturday, 12 April, 2014
Barton Swaim, Wall Street Journal
Two centuries ago our celebrities were not actors or singers but poets. Poetry has now all but disappeared from public life, with the consequence that we are cut off from an entire mode of thought—not unlike losing math or philosophy. Can it be revived? I don't know, but if a book full of lachrymose men can help, I'm for it.
Heidi N. Moore, New York Times
Most people are used to owing money to others, but few think about what money may owe us: an equitable society, a functioning political system, a peaceful economy that can stay off the exhausting roller coaster of financial booms and crashes.
We don’t usually think of money as a tool to accomplish all that, but Felix Martin, an economist and former World Bank official and author of the compulsively readable new book “Money: The Unauthorized Biography,” says that money can give us all those things; it can deliver “both stability and freedom.” The catch is that we must radically rethink money itself. It’s not a fixed, physical thing, he argues, but a virtual “social technology” that should be used to enable a more democratic and equitable world, bring order to the banking system and foster “peace, prosperity, freedom and fairness.” Sign me up.
Martha McPhee, New York Times
The mountain of Purgatory haunts the cover of Peter Mountford’s arresting second novel, “The Dismal Science.” The image, which calls to mind the second volume of “The Divine Comedy,” leads the reader into the book, the stark path curling its way up toward Terrestrial Paradise, symbolized by one lonely but verdant tree.
Sadie Jones, The Guardian
Exotic dancers, pimps, whores and a cross-dressing, bicycle-riding gamine who makes a living catching frogs for the cooking pots of restaurant kitchens. This is the cast of Emma Donoghue's eighth novel, a tale set in the rooming houses and bars of San Francisco in 1876. If those ingredients don't make for sufficient drama, the city is in the grip of both a smallpox epidemic and a heatwave.
Friday, 11 April, 2014
Michael Dirda, VQR
Whenever my father used to see me intently hunched over my grade-school English homework, he would say, “Looks like you’re working on the Great American Novel,” then pad off to read the news-paper. You don’t hear much these days about the GAN (as Henry James nicknamed it), but that doesn’t mean writers don’t still quest after this literary grail—or will-o’-the-wisp.
Meg Wolitzer, NPR
Some things in life are just too painful to accept, and the same is true in novels.
Thursday, 10 April, 2014
Bill Simmons, Grantland
Every Letterman junkie always knew he’d retire on a whim; that’s exactly what happened. No hype, no warning, no manufactured drama, nothing. Only Carson would have done it that way, and maybe that was the point. The old man told a story, then a second story, then a third story, and suddenly, he was gone. He’s leaving after his 33rd year. My favorite number. And now, officially, late-night television can morph into something else. I just don’t know what.
Nolan Feeney, TIME
Shipstead's sophomore novel makes a grand arabesque into the world of dance.
Chris Cottrell, New York Times
In the early days of aviation, it was common for people to visit airports simply to stand on observation decks and watch the planes come and go. This city’s new airport is attracting tourists for the opposite reason: a conspicuous lack of passengers and planes after a series of delays and bungles that have driven its cost billions of dollars over budget and pushed its opening back indefinitely.
Maria Popova, Brain Pickings