A Chekhov From China

Yiyun Li’s latest novel maps new extremes of loneliness.

The Five Spot

The Disillusionist

Edward St. Aubyn, who can make words do just about anything, can’t help mistrusting precisely that power.

How Shirley Temple Helped FDR

The tiny actress showed demoralized grown-ups how much spunky perseverance could achieve.

Reading the Beatles

Forget the recent spate of books on the Fab Four. The only volume you need was published 20 years ago today …

Why We Look the Way We Look Now

The modern style of clothes emerged in the Depression, and so did the focus on the figure beneath the fabric—with a startling result: as Americans' wardrobes became more similar, bodies diverged along class lines.

Playing With Plato

Philosophers eager to write for popular audiences are finding readers who want answers science can’t offer.

The Junkie Genius

A new biography reveals a William S. Burroughs both ghastlier and more impressive than many previously thought.

Fighting Over the Field of Dreams

A quarter century ago, in rural Iowa, a Hollywood crew built a temporary baseball diamond for a now-classic movie. Maintained as a tourist attraction since, the field has recently been sold, and a developer’s new plans for it are dividing some of the community’s landowners. Which raises a curious question: Should the field's fake authenticity be preserved? 

I Heard God's Voice: What's Up With That?

Barbara Ehrenreich tries to make rational sense of an adolescent epiphany.

The Madness of Matthew Weiner

On the eve of the show’s final season, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner talks about disappointment and redemption—and reveals his dreamlike perception of everyday life.

The Aliens Next Door

Lorrie Moore’s stories tell truths stranger than the strangest science fiction.

Madder Than Hell: How Network Anticipated Contemporary Media

Paddy Chayefsky’s iconic 1976 movie created a template for today's era of outrage.

Why Is It So Hard for Women to Write About Sex?

Because it's easier to titillate, shock, and lie than to get at the messy truth about female desire.

Where the Map Ends

Runaway slaves find shelter on their journey—but for how long?

The European Great Gatsby

A classic book makes a comeback

The Oracle of Ice Hockey

How a 70-year-old Finnish goalie coach is transforming a global sport

Rediscovering Middlemarch in Middle Age

A new book in brief

“Mon Dieu, What a Mother!”

Marianne Moore’s poetic voice was supremely idiosyncratic—and so was her family life.

The Jewish Mark Twain

The writer who inspired Fiddler on the Roof shouldn’t be mistaken for a mere spinner of artless folktales. 

The Accidental Spectator’s Guide to Improving Sports

TV's Post-Recession Obsession With Stuff

What to make of all these reality programs about pawn stores, storage lockers, and hoarders?

The Elmore Leonard Paradox

Why so many screen adaptations of the work of America’s most cinematic novelist are so bad—and what makes the exceptions, like TV’s Justified, so good

When John Lennon Was 'Thoroughly Bad News'

A very short book excerpt

How Norman Rockwell Captured the Inner Life of a Nation

His tableaux of American innocence aren't as simple as they seem.


Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more


Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.


What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world



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