Blog Profile / Slate: Books

Filed Under:Entertainment / Books
Posts on Regator:1086
Posts / Week:3.3
Archived Since:July 14, 2009

Blog Post Archive

Into the Woods

When he was in his late 20s, the writer Howard Axelrod spent two years living in a remote cabin in Vermont. He avoided almost all human contact; his beard grew long and his body grew thin. He went for epic walks in the woods. He had no computer, radio, or TV; he had a phone, but on the rare occasions it rang, he often would not bother to answer it. Show More Summary

Alice in Underland

In the fourth century, the writer and mystic Saint Augustine diagnosed autobiography’s biggest problem: You don’t know what something truly is, he complained, until it’s over. You cannot see the shape, the placement of beginning, middle, and end. Show More Summary

Beautiful and Surprising Maps of the Worlds Within Books

What does the town in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” look like? What about the Castle Elsinore in Hamlet? Or Odysseus’ path in The Odyssey ? Or the New York of Invisible Man? If you think about those books and stories, you can probably...Show More Summary

A Conversation With Philip Pullman

This year marks the 20 th anniversary of Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, the first novel in the His Dark Materials trilogy, which also includes The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. The Golden Compass is a “true classic,” not...Show More Summary

Oh, the Humanity

In an introduction to her 1969 science-fiction masterpiece The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin sought to correct the assumption that science fiction is about the future. “Science fiction is not predictive; it is descriptive,”...Show More Summary

Truth or Beauty—Pick One

“Beauty is truth,” said Keats’ still, cold, silent, ancient urn, “truth beauty,” and the saying persists, frozen just outside of time. That line, and the even more didactic one that follows (which may or may not be “spoken” by the urn),...Show More Summary

King Michael of Times Square

Michael Riedel can be a jerk and a shill, but he’s also the most irresistible theater reporter alive. The reason theater people loathe him is also what’s made him a great columnist since 1998. Every week in the New York Post, he talks trash, slings dirt, and nurses grudges in a smug persona that is a mix of Walter Winchell and the Iron Sheik. Show More Summary

A Suburb of Hell

“Such was the darkness of that day, the tortures and the lamentations of the afflicted, and the power of former precedents, that we walked in the clouds, and could not see our way.” So wrote a minister affiliated with the Salem witch trials of 1692. Show More Summary

Maternal Instincts

Mary Gaitskill is a poet of paradox: a writer aware of life’s contradictions, of the way that beauty comingles with ugliness, the way cruelty coexists with love. She writes women who are self-destructive and emotionally detached. Many...Show More Summary

You May Say I’m a Dreamer

This much is true: In 1967, John Lennon bought a tiny, rock-strewn island in Clew Bay, one of 180 clumps of turf and stone rimming the coast of northwest Ireland, with the idea of turning it into a hippie commune. He never followed through, though a few of his friends tried, until their shelters caught fire in the early ’70s. Show More Summary

Founding Father Fails

Sarah Vowell has written that her life’s work is “to talk to my country about what my country is like.” This is not the same as telling her country its history, although the two often overlap. As an essayist, author, and frequent contributor...Show More Summary

The Unmaking of America

Not too long ago, you could write a general history of the United States in the previous century as a story of ever-increasing wealth, power, and equality. Quite a few historians did. Even after the dot-com bust and Sept. 11, it seemed...Show More Summary

A Whole Different Order of Nothing

You know the premise: A novel about “a modern Everyman, going about his day” in contemporary Dublin. This won’t be one of those books full of dramatic and artificial plot developments—God forbid. Instead it will strive to portray life...Show More Summary

The Girl, the Psycho, and the Nice Guy

Are girls only interested in jerks? It’s a time-honored question among high school boys, and one that gets an admirably thorough examination in MK Reed and Farel Dalrymple’s collaborative comic Palefire. But the question, of course, isn’t that simple. Show More Summary

Portrait of an English Village

This essay is the introduction to Akenfield by Ronald Blythe. The new edition is out now from NYRB Classics. First published in 1969, Ronald Blythe’s Akenfield is an enormously vivid and affecting portrait of life in one village in the southeast of England, as told through the voices of the farmers, workers, and villagers themselves. Show More Summary

The Redemption of Neil Strauss

The only edition of Neil Strauss’ The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists available at my local bookstore comes bound in gold-embossed faux leather with gilded page edges and a satiny red ribbon to mark your place....Show More Summary

Connection and Release

In 1884, the French writer Guy de Maupassant—a rakish 1-percenter who went mad from syphilis—produced what some consider the world’s most perfect short story. Vivacious young Mathilde borrows a necklace from a wealthy friend in order to go to a party. Show More Summary

Sad Romance

Romance novels have happy endings. The hero and heroine kiss and/or marry and/or ride into the sunset. They live happily ever after, or in the genre shorthand, HEA. “The romance novel declares, via the happy ending, that love is the most important thing,” Maya Rodale writes in her study of the genre, Dangerous Books for Girls. Show More Summary

Charm Machine

Charm—native sparkle, powered by sweatless hard work—is Elizabeth Gilbert’s great talent. She’s a writer who transforms “likable” from faint praise into a form of virtuosity: She never takes her eye off her audience. And while “best-selling...Show More Summary

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