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Jane Bown / Camera Press / Redux

The Conundrum of Lucian Freud’s Portraits

How to assess an artist who was ruthless—and revealing—in work and life

Dave Pickoff / AP / Bettmann / Getty / The Atlantic

The Famous Baldwin-Buckley Debate Still Matters Today

In 1965, two American titans faced off on the subject of the country’s racial divides. Nearly 55 years later, the event has lost none of its relevance, as a recent book attests.

New York Public Library

The Books Briefing: What Does Home Mean to You?

The places that make us and the places we make our own: Your weekly guide to the best in books

An 18th-Century Birthing Scam

Dexter Palmer’s third novel, about a fantastical medical hoax, doubles as an exploration of the age-old desire to believe the unbelievable.

The Books Briefing: Following Food From Field to Market to Plate

Examining how we farm, sell, and consume our food: Your weekly guide to the best in books

Why Everyone Should Sleep Alone

On the virtues of splitting up for the night

The Books Briefing: How Writers Try On New Perspectives

Some points of view on point of view: Your weekly guide to the best in books

Why Singin’ in the Rain Is an Almost Perfect Musical

The 1952 film exemplifies the key elements of a beloved Hollywood genre.


Jefferson’s Doomed Educational Experiment

The University of Virginia was supposed to transform a slave-owning generation, but it failed.

The Books Briefing: How to Build a Family Legacy

Tracking how we got from there to here: Your weekly guide to the best in books

Margaret Atwood Bears Witness

Over the course of her writing career, she has explored the power and limits of personal testimony in times of crisis.

The 19th-Century Feminist Novel Pushed Out of the Russian Canon

Karolina Pavlova’s A Double Life examines internalized oppression—and insists on the independence of the unconscious mind.

The Call Me by Your Name Dream Continues

The follow-up to a beloved novel of gay romance continues André Aciman’s exploration of desire that tests convention: “It’s not a subject that has ever interested me, ethics,” the author says.

The Books Briefing: Let’s Talk About Death

Putting mortality in perspective: Your weekly guide to the best in books

How Solitude Feeds the Brain

The novelist Jami Attenberg shares a poem that helped her understand her own relationship to isolation.

The Chaotic Elegance of Flea

In his new memoir, Acid for the Children, the Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist exhibits virtuosic vulnerability.

A Simplistic View of a Mixed-ish America

ABC’s Black-ish spin-off joins a new memoir by Thomas Chatterton Williams in presenting a seemingly enlightened but ahistorical view of race.

John le Carré’s Scathing Tale of Brexit Britain

In Agent Running in the Field, the celebrated spy novelist takes on a chaotic international landscape.

The Books Briefing: Costume Party

Witches and werewolves and clowns, oh my! Your weekly guide to the best in books.