Two—Make That Three—Cheers for the Chain Bookstores

Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Books-A-Million have enormously enriched the nation's cultural life

A Harrowing Mirror of Loneliness

Richard Yates was the supreme chronicler of American solitude

The Mad Poets Society

McLean Hospital, in Massachusetts, was for years America's most literary mental institution, a place that Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, and Anne Sexton knew well

Mark Twain's "Skeleton Novelette"

An introduction to Mark Twain's "A Murder, a Mystery, and a Marriage"—a work written for these pages 125 years ago and published here for the first time

Liquid Refreshment

Ponds and other water features can be lovely—but they can be stinking, murky eyesores. A primer on what makes the difference

The Colonel and the Bomb

Can a forty-year-old lost Cold War relic be brought to life?

Wharton's Sharp Eye

Our author, one of Britain's great novelists and literary biographers, explores Edith Wharton's short stories

The Tabloid Habit

Relentless celebrity coverage is a phenomenon as old as the movies

The Counterterrorist Myth

A former CIA operative explains why the terrorist Usama bin Ladin has little to fear from American intelligence

Graham Greene's Vatican Dossier

Documents from the archives of the Holy See reveal the deliberations among papal censors over how to deal with The Power and the Glory—and wise counsel from an unexpected source

Real Places

A wastewater-treatment facility, a fish-processing plant, and other prime tourist attractions in and around Boston

Love, Singaporean Style

Faced with a graying population, a notoriously staid government has sanctioned an "All-Out Make-Out" campaign

Customized Quarantine

Child-free zones and other innovations in exclusionary living

A Reader's Manifesto

An attack on the growing pretentiousness of American literary prose

New and Noteworthy

The summer game, sharp short fiction, are you U?, Hitchens on Ferdinand Mount

Fouled Out

The story of a professor forced, because of his views on Bobby Knight, to act like a marked man

In Glass's House

More a classicist than an avant-gardist, Philip Glass embraces rock music without imitating it

A French Fourth

The challenge of raising expatriated children

Field of Tin

A rediscovered baseball toy gets a retired player back in the game


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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