Capturing “Take” for the DictionaryA Merriam-Webster editor’s knock-down, drag-out battle to define a deceptively small, innocent word.
The Horror of SadnessJohn Darnielle’s new novel is like an extended X-Files episode that turns into a moving meditation on loss.
The Urgency of Writing Fiction in the Trump EraTwo novelists discuss writing dystopian tales for Slate’s Trump Story Project.
Faceless MassesMohsin Hamid’s new novel is a missed opportunity to make refugee characters seem vivid, human, and real.
Glamorous WoundsCat Marnell and Alana Massey both mine their darkest, messiest selves in first-person writing. But their styles couldn’t be more different.
The Misunderstood Ghost of James BaldwinHow critics have misconstrued his influence on today’s great black nonfiction writers.
The Abominable Mr. SeabrookThe story of one of the most fascinating, outrageous humans ever to live was lost to history. Until Joe Ollmann decided to draw it.
Our Minds Are IntricateKathleen Collins’ remarkable stories feel like peeking through a keyhole at the inner lives of black women in another era.
The Beautiful WorldGeorge Saunders’ first novel is lovely, moving, and fundamentally the wrong book for this moment in history.
Age of AngerWhat America’s violent transition to modernity has in common with the rise of Islamic extremism.
Letters to a Young MuslimI grew up as a devout Muslim, and these essays about the dangers of radicalism hit very close to home.
A Woman Looking at A Woman Looking at Men Looking at WomenSiri Hustvedt’s preening essays take their author’s own brilliance as their main subject.
The Work Love Has to DoRebecca Solnit’s radiant descriptions of today’s feminism could sound laughably oblivious. Instead, they feel like a ray of hope in the dark.
“A Great German Joke Is to Say the Meanest and Most Tragic Thing Possible”A conversation with Rebecca Schuman about German humor, Kafka, and her new book Schadenfreude: A Love Story.
Benevolent ImperialismRobert D. Kaplan attempts to explain American greatness via a road trip across America.
Visionary PuppiesA new book unpacks Peter Thiel’s gambit to pay teens to skip college and incubate big ideas. If only it also unpacked Thiel himself.
A Dry SoulJ.M. Coetzee’s new novel pits reason and passion against each other. It would be a lot sexier if reason didn’t win.
The Cost of ProgressWhat’s missing from Jonathan Chait’s new book on Obama’s legacy is what’s missing from Obama’s worldview: a sense of tragedy.
“This Is My Town”How rapacious capitalism transformed one Ohio city from the American dream to a nightmare.
Rachel Cusk’s Anti-NarrativeTransit is less a novel than a kind of tone poem about what it means to physically expose oneself through writing.
Naïveté is the New RealismTom Friedman’s oracular pretensions have never felt more ridiculous than they do in his latest best-seller.