Blog Profile / Slate: Books

Filed Under:Entertainment / Books
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Archived Since:July 14, 2009

Blog Post Archive

The Winners of the Cartoonist Studio Prize

The Slate Book Review and the Center for Cartoon Studies are proud to announce the winners of the third annual Cartoonist Studio Prize. The winners were selected by Slate Book Review editor Dan Kois; the faculty and students at the Center...Show More Summary

Into the Empty Regions

Do you ever just want to quote someone forever? Reading Clive James’ Poetry Notebook: Reflections on the Intensity of Language, struggling to find ways to talk about it, I dreamed of Echo, the nymph of Greek myth, who spoke truth by repeating the true words of others. Show More Summary


Years later, I still think about the limited-run comics adventure I Kill Giants, which debuted in 2008 from Image. The odd and fantastical story of Barbara Thorson, a misfit fifth-grader who sees fairies in her classroom, monsters in...Show More Summary

The Civil War After the Civil War

For most history buffs, the Civil War’s sesquicentennial ends on Thursday. That day in 1865, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at the Battle of Appomattox. Most historians, though, acknowledge that the war’s most ambitious aim—full equality for black citizens—took many more years to accomplish, and even continues. Show More Summary

Unhappy Families

In the great debate over protagonist likability, I have always fallen firmly on the side of defending the pleasures of indefensible characters. Bring on the prickly, the strange, the cruel, the self-destructive! I don’t read books to make friends. But Hausfrau, the debut novel by poet Jill Alexander Essbaum, challenged my stance on the issue. Show More Summary

The Corrections

I became a copy editor by accident four years ago. I saw a tweet (accidentally posted, I would later find out) advertising a part-time copy editing position at Slate. I hadn’t thought of myself for such a role previously; a poor speller,...Show More Summary

“They Didn’t Know Anything”

The most important thing to understand for a listener new to “modern” art music—the thing I’m always trying to impress upon those patient souls who let me drag them to such concerts—is the need to shift their paradigm of judgment from beautiful/ugly to interesting/boring. Show More Summary

The Exoskeleton and the Blues

The book the book the book the book the book. The moment talk of poetry turns institutional, it’s all about the book. The reviews of poetry in the places that still cover it—the New York Times, say, or Slate—deal exclusively with books. Show More Summary

After Outrage

Some people are doomed to live as Internet footnotes. They’re reduced to Google trails of ferocious commentary and invective that age poorly but never disappear. Here all fame is infamy, but if it can’t be escaped, maybe it can be monetized—cheaply, fleetingly. Show More Summary

Literary Crush

The act of reading is always an expression of desire. Whether we read when we are alone or read in order to be alone, we do so in search of contact and communion—with an author, with a story, with something silent in ourselves. Above all else, we long for recognition, long to be seen and understood, long for the one thing a book can never offer us. Show More Summary

Pardon Me

Like many intoxicants, the potency of forgiveness varies by its dosage. In its mildest form, it’s a social lubricant, since smoothing over petty grudges helps us get along with each other. But in stronger concentrations—when forgiveness...Show More Summary

Strongest Possible Endorsement

Esteemed Members of the Book-Buying Public, I have been tasked with assessing Julie Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members, an epistolary novel consisting entirely of fictionalized letters of recommendation penned by professor Jason Fitger (failed novelist, failed husband, successful misanthrope). Show More Summary

The Book of Injustice

On May 28, Joe Daniels, the president of the 9/11 Memorial Foundation, announced that the 9/11 museum gift shop would no longer sell a ceramic cheese plate molded in the shape of the United States and showing three small, blue decorative hearts in the locations where hijacked planes had crashed. Show More Summary

Scratch Marks

As a reader, I tend to like my comics lush and ornate. While the writing is important, it’s often the art that draws me in first, so even before I knew comics like Sex Criminals, The Undertaking of Lily Chen, and March were great stories,...Show More Summary

The End of the Suburban Novel

You can blame Cheever for it, or Updike, or Yates. Those midcentury men strip-mined the suburb for every last bit of banality and unhappiness it contained. And as their books leached out into the wider culture, into American Beauty or...Show More Summary

Racial Dysphoria

Twenty-four pages into Jess Row’s debut novel Your Face in Mine, the narrator, Kelly Thorndike, catches sight of his reflection in a storefront window, and pauses to remark upon this face of his as it presently appears to him. It is...Show More Summary

On Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel

--- Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel by Anya Ulinich. Penguin Books. See all the pieces in this month’s Slate Book Review. Sign up for the Slate Book Review monthly newsletter....


The stories in Forensic Songs, Irish author Mike McCormack’s second short-story collection, are all marked by a sense of being lost in time, as characters struggle to shield themselves from forgotten pasts and the encroachment of a technologically advanced future. Show More Summary

The Lack

On a recent Saturday, I sent 112 text messages. I refreshed my Facebook feed 40 times, Instagram 15, Twitter 26. I checked my email 37 times and streamed five episodes of The Good Wife on Amazon Prime. I placed a dinner reservation using OpenTable, perused the Slate mobile app, and disinterestedly swiped through Tinder. Show More Summary

The Cabinet of Marvels

Once upon a time, a book reviewer sat down to review a book about fairy tales and had an epiphany. “I have no earthly notion how to review this book about fairy tales,” she said to the goat next to her, who was chewing a slice of parsnip. Show More Summary

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