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- Aug 21 20162 minutes
The History of Plot
B.K. PREHISTORY TO 500 BCE: The Creation Story (the Hebrew Bible, Sumerian tablets). How we first started to explain the world, relying mostly on supernatural explanations. 2100–400 BCE: The Epic Poem (the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Iliad). Episodic nar
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Our Book Critic’s 5 Most Anticipated
AGAINST EVERYTHING: ESSAYS SEPT. 6, BY MARK GREIF Following on the heels of last year’s ambitious, if somewhat clunkily titled The Age of the Crisis of Man: Thought and Fiction in America, 1933–1973, Grief’s new book collects more than a decade’s w
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How Culture Became a Powerful Political Weapon
Nato Thompson’s new book explores the history of how music, TV, games, and advertising have been used to influence consumers.
- Mar 27 20171 minute
DIED Amy Krouse Rosenthal, prolific children’s-book author and short-film maker, at 51. In early March, Rosenthal penned an emotional New York Times Modern Love column about life after her imminent death, titled “You May Want to Marry My Husband.”
- Oct 16 20161 minute
SIX YEARS AFTER a Harvard Law–educated black lawyer and her Harvard Law mixed-race husband and their two polished young daughters took up residence in the White House, a Howard-educated black advertising executive, his mixed-race Brown-alum anesthesi
- Oct 12 20153 minutes
Which Comes First, Big Cities or Big Gods?
Warriors among the Kwara’ae, a collection of tribal communities indigenous to the Solomon Islands, sacrificed pigs before battle. The tradition granted the combatants, so the belief went, aid from heroic ancestral spirits—like the mighty A’orama, a f
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Sci-Fi Show 'The Expanse' Preps Us For The Future
What is most remarkable about The Expanse, even into Season 2, is its realism; more than any other TV space-themed show, it gets the science right, says astrophysicist Adam Frank.
- Apr 20 20173 minutes
'Tender' Stories Are A Feast Of Ideas
Sofia Samatar is the creator of an award-winning fantasy world; she sticks closer to earth in her powerful first story collection, but it's not always the earth we might recognize.
- Dec 19 20161 minute
The Ambition Interviews: A Table of Contents
Seven stories about women who were all set to rule the world—and how their careers shook out
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The Controversial Rachel Cusk
MOST DIVISIVE A Life’s Work (2001) Cusk’s elegy for her pre-motherhood self infuriates mothers and critics alike. “This isn’t what it’s like to have a baby; it’s what it’s like for a depressed and melodramatic novelist to have a baby.” (THE SUNDAY
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Meet Fear's Antidote: Hope
A seemingly small act -- returning to normal, daily life after tragedy -- takes a great deal of courage.
- Jan 16 20172 minutes
When Less Plot Is Actually More
AFTER WRITING SEVEN NOVELS AND three works of nonfiction, acclaimed British author Rachel Cusk began to find fiction “fake and embarrassing.” Two years ago, she explained to a British newspaper, “Once you have suffered sufficiently, the idea of makin
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Why Being the Beta Chief Is Better Than Being the Alpha Chief
One expert proposes that the most effective leaders demonstrate authority through collaboration.
- Jan 27 20175 minutes
Can Women's Marchers Find a Way to Reconcile Their Differences?
Participants have confidence they can sustain the nascent movement’s momentum. But racial and cultural divisions could threaten its future.
- Apr 12 20174 minutes
Chicago’s Most Vulnerable Citizens Have A Voice Thanks To One Artist’s Embrace Of Art As Activism
“I hope people recognize that art shouldn't ever be an afterthought in campaigns and efforts.” Gang violence. Increased danger. Murder.These are just a few of the dark words that are currently so closely associated with Chicago. To say it's not true is a lie. If you're not living it, you're hearing stories or seeing it on the news — there's no way to block it out. Stories of innocent children killed in the line of gang fire, intended murder, and fatality numbers going up each weekend. This is the harsh reality.This, partnered with the racism and inequality that seems to be increasing acr... read more
- Jul 25 20161 minute
BELINDA LUSCOMBE Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Susan Faludi has made a career writing insightful books about gender like Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man. But she was floored when her own father came out as transgender. She recounts his
- Aug 29 20161 minute
Why More Americans Are Becoming Activists
THE MOVEMENTS THAT HAVE SHAKEN America in recent years—the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, Fight for $15, Black Lives Matter—are often assumed to be discrete, separate phenomena. But in fact they have fed one another and overlapped, as more people red
- Nov 14 20161 minute
Crimes of the Heart
S.B. Like many of his novels, Spanish author Javier Marías’ new book, Thus Bad Begins, isn’t exactly a mystery, though it is mysterious. Here, the 65-year-old perennial Nobel favorite tells the story of Juan de Vere, a young man working for a film d
- Feb 6 20171 minute
Four Roads Diverge in a Wood
SARAH BEGLEY CERTAIN BOOKS LEAVE READERS FEELING THEY KNOW EVERY MINUTE detail of a character’s inner life, as if they were lifelong companions and daily confidants. Paul Auster’s massive new novel, 4 3 2 1, is such a book. The concept behind the 8
- Dec 25 20161 minute
No. 47 Because Hillary Clinton Thought Brooklyn Could Be The Capital Of America.
NOREEN MALONE SHE WENT TO Roberta’s once, and I hear she’s been seen at Cipriani lately, and it is a known fact that she has shopped with Anna Wintour, but the truth is that Hillary Clinton moved to New York for work (like so many others here). They
- Mar 29 20171 minute
Art School Jocks' Catchy 'Just A Gwen' Is Rolling Its Eyes At You
The self-described "existential basement pop" band's new single, from a forthcoming EP, muses about the value of advice women are very sick of hearing.
- Apr 14 20171 minute
Ljova And The Kontraband: Tiny Desk Concert
Composer, arranger and viola player Ljova lead his Kontraband to the Tiny Desk for an eclectic swirl of Western classical, jazz, tango and Eastern European and Balkan folk music.