What if Lee Harvey Oswald had lost his nerve? A historical novelist—who is also a student of the Kennedy assassination—imagines what might have happened next.


The New Science of Old Whiskey

Bourbon makers attempt to perfect a 2,000-year-old invention.

Cover to Cover

Watching American Movies in Paris

The illuminations of familiar culture in a foreign setting

Eating Bugs and Testicles: A Woman's Journey Into Macho Food Culture

Gender dynamics on a transgressive, guy-dominated foodie frontier

How T Bone Burnett Plays Hollywood

Getting his folk-musician friends together and making soundtracks, a once-quirky record producer has stirred up a roots-music revival.

The Passion of Flannery O’Connor

A prayer journal kept by the writer in her early 20s sheds new light on her biblical ironies.

The Inner Life of James Bond

The publication of William Boyd’s new 007 novel, Solo, occasions a reexamination of the superspy’s character—or telling lack thereof.

Cover to Cover

New fiction from Jhumpa Lahiri, and the joy of singing with others

The Thomas Pynchon Novel for the Edward Snowden Era

A review of the new novel Bleeding Edge

Why We're Still Struggling to Make Sense of Modernism

We may like to think of ourselves as postmodern, but the modernists upended conventions—in art and in life—in ways that have challenged us ever since.

The Rise of Self-Taught Artists

Out is the new in.

Joe Strummer and Punk Self-Reinvention

How a privately educated British schoolboy named John Mellor became The Clash's iconic front man

The Contest

Who Was the Greatest Athlete of All Time?

Shaun White's versatility, Bo Jackson's phenomenal speed, Geronimo's nimbleness, and more


A poem

Beach Reading

A poem

Is Franz Kafka Overrated?

Critics have long tended to see him as a modernist master on par with Joyce, Proust, and Picasso. Let's reconsider that.

'Til Meth Do Us Part: Who Is Going to Die at the End of Breaking Bad?

When AMC's masterful series winds to a close this summer, it's a safe bet that either Walter or Jesse will have to go.


A poem

On Reflection

A poem

When That 'Local,' 'Craft' Liquor You Pay Big Bucks for Is Neither

Distilling deceit

Why Sylvia Plath Still Haunts Us

Even half a century after her suicide, both her work and her life remain thrilling and horrifying.

1963: The Year the Beatles Found Their Voice

Listening to a young band rapidly assimilating and remixing genres it would soon transcend


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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