Blog Profile / Slate: Books

Filed Under:Entertainment / Books
Posts on Regator:1047
Posts / Week:3.3
Archived Since:July 14, 2009

Blog Post Archive

Jonathan Franzen Is Having More Fun Than His Critics

Jonathan Franzen’s fifth novel, Purity, appears, like his previous one, Freedom, amid the media equivalent of the fog of war. There have been trumpeted interviews and fatuous raves, but also misleading headlines, Twitter diatribes, backlashes to the backlash and a deluge of emptily sassy online retorts aggregating all of the above. Show More Summary

Sad Sack Superman

Hall-of-Fame football player and former NFL broadcaster Frank Gifford died on Sunday at the age of 84. In 1997, Walter Kirn wrote for Slate about the cult favorite “book of books,” Frederick Exley’s A Fan’s Notes. The story is republished...Show More Summary

Catty and Selfish and Indomitable

Don’t be fooled by the title of Bennington Girls Are Easy, Charlotte Silver’s clever and ultimately wise first novel for adults. While Cassandra and Sylvie, the Bennington grads who make a playground out of New York City across the book’s...Show More Summary

A Tightrope Walk Over the Abyss

Listen, let me start by saying that I don’t envy anybody who had to write flap jacket copy for Helen Phillips’ debut novel for adults, The Beautiful Bureaucrat. How to describe it? In a way, The Beautiful Bureaucrat is a sort of urban bildungsroman/existential detective story. Show More Summary

The Oregon Trail, IRL

In December 1788, a few weeks before the Electoral College convened to elect him as the United States’ first president, George Washington wrote to British agriculturalist Arthur Young. In his letter, he laid out a majestic vision: He wanted to breed a superior animal from specimens sent to him by the king of Spain and the Marquis de Lafayette. Show More Summary

The Illogic of All Sex Laws

When the proprietor of a Florida-based pornographic website was put on trial in 2008, he was accused of violating community standards. To prove that the operator had done nothing of the kind, his lawyer exhibited Google search data for...Show More Summary

Red Red Whine

Jacky Colliss Harvey’s Red: A History of the Redhead is framed as a blend of art history and pop sociology, but it is much more than that. It is a manifesto—and a dangerous one. “People still express biases against red hair in language...Show More Summary

Meet Oaf

Sure, Oaf Jadwiga may be enormous, muscled, extravagantly bearded—indeed, so hirsute that when he shaves his chest, the hair springs back out mere moments later. Sure, Oaf’s been known to crush a man just by rolling over onto him. Sure,...Show More Summary

If I Could Talk to the Animals

Is an animal a who or a what? Anyone who owns a dog or cat will tell you their pet has a mind of his own. Many of us have looked into the eyes of a great ape at a zoo and wondered who is really watching whom. Perhaps, observing the wildlife...Show More Summary

From Tapestries to Texting Bubbles

More than a century and a half ago, newlyweds Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne scratched a love message to each other into the window of their cottage with Sophia’s diamond ring. “Man’s accidents are God’s purposes,” they etched into the pane. Show More Summary


When does it first strike you, this feeling? When you’re a kid, seeing the ocean weave through trees from the back seat of your parents’ car? In high school, perched on warm bleachers and watching the sun flare bright against the tubas...Show More Summary

Fitzgerald the Pro

“All my stories are conceived like novels,” F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote his literary agent, Harold Ober, and that was the problem. As with his novels, the stories each required “one little drop of something not blood, not a tear,Show More Summary

Eat or Be Eaten

Secret, the leading American women’s deodorant brand, has sold its product in scents that include Hawaii Citrus Breeze, Coconut Splash, So Very Summerberry, Pretty ’n Peach, Mystic Melon, Cherry Mischief, Truth or Pear, and Vanilla Chai. The...Show More Summary

The Unusual Mind of Clarice Lispector

“Behold us nearly here, coming down the long path,” Clarice Lispector writes in the story “The Burned Sinner and the Harmonious Angels.” “An angel’s fall is a direction.” For almost all of New Directions’ remarkable new Complete Stories, brilliantly translated by Katrina Dodson, I felt wrapped in flame. Show More Summary

Ghost Story from a Haunted Conscience

Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird became iconic almost immediately after appearing in 1960: best-seller status; the Pulitzer Prize the next year; a classic movie soon after, with Gregory Peck in an Academy Award–winning role.Show More Summary

Petty Brutality  

Karolina Waclawiak’s The Invaders isn’t about a family as much as it is about people who are deeply committed to their own destruction. The novel is set in the fictional Little Neck Cove, Connecticut, where the rumored relatives of presidents, senators, and other very important persons make their seaside homes. Show More Summary

Ask Not For Whom the Goat Bleats

Stavros Stavros Mavrakis had a rough night. He was “in bed, cold, with no woman but plenty of woman troubles” and “dreaming of home,” Crete. The island missed him. It “was going through a tough time economically without people like him,” hardworking New Jersey diner owners with a nose for business and solid family values. Show More Summary

American Beauties

Since the Kennedys first descended on Hyannis Port, fresh-faced, long-limbed, sun-kissed models have been used to sell rugby shirts, shorts embroidered with anchors, and plaid everything. But the fashion industry wasn’t always so enamored with looking American, whether narrowly defined as WASP-y or broadly characterized as un-European. Show More Summary

“We” the People

Did you know the word evidence comes from the Latin videre, meaning “to see”? Did you know that explode and applause share a common root, plaudere, which means “to clap”? How about that distract means “to pull apart in different directions”?...Show More Summary

Between the World and Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me checks in at a trim 152 pages but lands like a major work, a book destined to remain on store shelves, bedside tables, and high school and college syllabi long after its author or any of us have left this Earth. Show More Summary

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