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Books

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The Language the Poet Knows

A new collection of essays attempts to lend some objective shape to a timeless-seeming challenge: the ongoing balance of voice and form.

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A Book That Honors an Underrated Sport

The Circuit, Rowan Ricardo Phillips’s latest book, deftly chronicles tennis’s 2017 season with a joyful reverence.

Ian Wright; photo by David Harrison; courtesy of Academy of American Poets

The Haunting Last Letters of Sylvia Plath

As tragedy approaches, she is stricken, broken—and at the height of her artistic powers.

John Leguizamo speaks at the American Ingenuity Awards on December 5.

John Leguizamo’s Required Reading for America

Inspired by his one-man show, Latin History for Morons, the comedian recommends three books that challenge one-sided narratives of the past.

The Untold Labor That Helped Make Charlie Chaplin’s Film Scores

A new book shows that many of the director’s musical achievements were the result of unrecognized collaboration.

Jeff Tweedy publicity photo

Jeff Tweedy Says It’s Okay to Be Okay

In a new memoir and solo album, the Wilco bandleader supplants the “tortured artist” trope with the universality of suffering.

The electronic band Kraftwerk performs in 2016.

The Tragedy of Electronic Music

Future Sounds, a new book on the history of machine-made pop and classical songs, suggests that the radical power of the synthetic has largely been forgotten.

Yukiko Motoya’s Surreal World of Alienated Characters

The unsettling stories in The Lonesome Bodybuilder are deeply preoccupied with the yawning disconnect between people.

The Strange Pathos of the Turkey in Madame Bovary

For one writer, Gustave Flaubert’s tragic masterpiece has an offbeat and deeply poignant connection to Thanksgiving.

The Misremembering of Robert Graves

Good-bye to All That is arguably the war veteran and literary stalwart’s best work, but a new biography ignores its impact.

An Open Letter to Elena Ferrante—Whoever You Are

The pseudonymous author has said all along that her identity lies in her writing. I’ve followed the literary clues. Here’s where they’ve led me.

An illustration from 'The Last Unicorn: The Lost Journey'

One of the Best Fantasy Novels Ever Is Nothing Like The Lord of the Rings

In The Last Unicorn, there are no maps, invented languages, or epic battles. But the 1968 tale has a timely message about the importance of reality over magic.

Isabel Allende’s Unconventional Advice for Finding Writing Inspiration

At Wednesday’s National Book Awards ceremony, the Chilean American novelist demystified the creative process with warm candor.

The Closest of All Possible Encounters

John Wray describes how a wilderness survival guide taught him to face his fears while completing his most challenging book yet.

Karina Longworth Makes Old Hollywood New

The writer and critic has found a cult following with her podcast, You Must Remember This, unpacking the myths to show age-old stories and stars in a new light.

What the November 13 Attacks Taught Paris

For years, deadly terrorist strikes in France were widely treated as isolated incidents. That changed forever in 2015.

The Uncommon, Requisite Resolve of Michelle Obama

The former first lady’s new memoir is notable for the revealing glimpses it offers into private moments of fear and frustration.

A photo of Stan Lee

Stan Lee Was Synonymous With American Superhero Comics

The industry legend, who created beloved Marvel characters like the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man, died at the age of 95.

The One Direction Fan-Fiction Novel That Became a Literary Sensation

Anna Todd started writing her first book, After, on her phone. Five years later, her stories are making millions of dollars around the world.