On ConsolationWhat I wanted from Barthes was a passage out of the dismal place in which I found myself in my teens.
Can Human Beings Ever Give Up Identity?Gender, creed, country, color, class, and culture. Why do they matter?
Hands on FranzIn Kafka’s Last Trial, Benjamin Balint charts the court battle over manuscripts that were never supposed to exist.
Just Behind the BeatA perfectly timed, well-tuned chronicle of the past, present, and future of jazz.
Where’s Baby? There She Is!Literature ignores the lives of new mothers. With The Golden State, Lydia Kiesling changes that.
Just Read the Book AlreadyDigital culture doesn’t have to make you a shallow reader. But you have to do something about it.
Finding the Laughs in the Decline of the HumanitiesA conversation with Julie Schumacher, author of Dear Committee Members and The Shakespeare Requirement.
What Philosophy Can Teach Us About Trump’s America—and What It Can’tMartha Nussbaum’s new book diagnoses our political crisis but fails to offer a practical cure.
All Our Work Holds GoodRereading the poet Donald Hall’s beautiful children’s book Ox-Cart Man in a time of turmoil.
State of ContradictionsLawrence Wright paints an intimate, nuanced portrait of Texas. If only he had been willing to look harder at its racial dynamics.
“Just Me. The President of the United States, Facing a Mob of Accusers”The best part of the deeply bad thriller co-authored by Bill Clinton and James Patterson is imagining the book as a projection of Clinton’s inner life.
The Crushing Sorrow of BarracoonIn Zora Neale Hurston’s account of the last known survivor of the middle passage, her luxuriant sense of black life collides with his unspeakable grief.
RighteousImani Perry explores the legacy of Lorraine Hansberry—and what she represents in the era of Black Lives Matter.
His Struggle Has EndedWhen Karl Ove Knausgaard’s epic of the quotidian works, it’s majestic. When it’s about Hitler, it’s jaw-droppingly bad.
Nobody’s HeroesBob Woodward’s new book presents Trump staffers as our last line of defense. We’re doomed.
“The Great Minor City of America”A portrait of Oklahoma City as seen through its basketball team, its weird citizens, and its tornadoes.
How Nuclear War HappenedA new novel tells the story behind the terrible U.S.–North Korea war of 2020.
The Impossible Legacy of V.S. NaipaulMany of his books are masterpieces. When I interviewed him, I couldn’t keep the look of disgust off my face.
The New Book About The Simpsons Is Hilarious, Joke-a-Minute, and Overstays Its WelcomeSpringfield Confidential recreates the best and worst of the game-changing sitcom.
Errol Morris Refutes It ThusThe filmmaker’s new book continues an argument with the philosopher Thomas Kuhn begun in 1972.