Blog Profile / Slate: Books

Filed Under:Entertainment / Books
Posts on Regator:1172
Posts / Week:3.1
Archived Since:July 14, 2009

Blog Post Archive

The Marvelous Order of the City

The ’60s didn’t begin in 1960—or so the conventional history of the counterculture would have it. It wasn’t until 1964 and the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, the story goes, that authority was seriously questioned. But tear your gaze...Show More Summary

Lonely Hunters

The opening sentence of Emily Witt’s Future Sex—“I was single, straight, and female”—might, in a different sort of book, set the reader up for the narrator’s quest to transcend the first element of that self-identification. The condition...Show More Summary

The Funniest Living Writers Choose the Funniest Books in the World

With the publication this month of Today Will Be Different, Maria Semple’s follow-up to Where’d You Go, Bernadette, we got to wondering: What’s the funniest book by a living writer? Well, who better to ask than Maria Semple? The Seattle-based novelist told us her three favorite funny books, so then we asked those three authors. Show More Summary

When a Time-Traveling Space Hero Gets Lost, Who Takes Care of Him?

Kindly Lydia takes in a young boy, Burt, in her little apartment in the little building at the foot of little Mount Maple. “Lydia isn’t my mother,” Burt tells us. “My name isn’t even Burt.” Burt’s an interdimensional time-traveling superhero,...Show More Summary

Ready for the End

I’ve turned paranoid lately. When I’m in an airport, I look at the people around me at the gate, trying to suss out who might make a good ally if things went bad. I carry two plastic tubs full of warm clothes, hiking boots, and first-aid supplies in the back of my Subaru at all times. Show More Summary

Eerie and Cheery

As recently as six years ago, when the Library of America released a collection of Shirley Jackson’s writings, her legacy was uncertain. “Shirley Jackson?” Newsweek critic Malcolm Jones wrote. “A writer mostly famous for one short story,...Show More Summary

“I’m Glad That I Don’t Have to Figure Out the Meaning of Life”

Our best friend Max Ritvo died on Aug. 23. He was a poet whose work appeared in the New Yorker, Poetry, and the Boston Review. Max was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma at the age of 16, and again at 21, about a year after we met him in college. Show More Summary

“A Terrible Propensity for Malice”

In December 1968, British member of Parliament Peter Bessell left a meeting with his friend and boss, Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe, praying Thorpe would change his mind about a plan he’d just set in motion. The undesirable assignment wasn’t a matter of political policy or election strategy; it was homicide. Show More Summary

The Intimacy of a Stabbing

Cannibals in Love is propelled by angst. A coming-of-age story set in Bush-era, post-9-11 America, the debut novel from Mike Roberts is told in 18 vignettes, weaving between the wonders of adolescent romance, the thrills of underage drinking, and the anxieties of growing up in a time period marked by tragedy, war, and paranoia. Show More Summary

Curiosity in the Face of Immensity

“I grew up when you could stand in an elevator and sort of watch how parts of it worked,” the author and illustrator David Macaulay told me. “And maybe there was even somebody in the elevator who turned the crank, which was a physical...Show More Summary

Lingwe Universalia

In 2014, Stephen Colbert went undercover to Comic-Con dressed as a character from “Hawkcat, the most popular human-animal franchise ever published in Esperanto.” The joke played off the ridiculousness of superhero movies, but it also...Show More Summary

Now and Then

If you were to travel back in time to, say, London in the early 1890s, and you informed everyone you encountered there that you were a time traveler from the 21 st century who had journeyed to their era by means of a time machine, the good people of late Victorian England would have no idea what you were on about. Show More Summary

Bruce Springsteen’s Brilliant Disguise

All celebrity memoirs come loaded with double barrels of doubt—“Did he even write it?” and “Is this actually necessary?” In the case of one Mr. Bruce Springsteen of Freehold Borough, New Jersey, and the book inevitably titled Born to...Show More Summary

The Life’s Journey of the Phone-Sex Operator

When Emma and her husband move to a new city, she finds herself alone in their bare apartment all day, tasked with “figuring out what she’s going to do with her life.” That’s a tall order when it’s easier to fantasize about one day basking in the love and admiration of others than it is to figure out how to actually make your way in the world today. Show More Summary

The Death Fakers

There’s a certain kind of person who, four or five days into the shock following 9/11, suddenly thought, “You know, this would be the perfect opportunity for someone to fake their own death,” and then spent way too much time contemplating just how that might be done. Show More Summary

Virtual Grave

Before the rise of the startup economy, immigrants who arrived to the U.S. would often begin their lives from scratch. Educational degrees or prestigious positions wouldn’t translate, and without a proper grasp of the language, or a social and professional network, they’d have to reinvent themselves. Show More Summary

Wandering Pathways, Scrabbling Claws

Adapted from The Poem Is You: 60 Contemporary Poems and How to Read Them by Stephen Burt. Copyright © 2016 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Epigraph By Allan Peterson Within the...Show More Summary

My Brilliant Mom

Every woman is shaped by her mother, but some mothers exert a stronger force than others. Of Françoise Mouly, the glamorous and intense Frenchwoman who’s helmed the New Yorker’s art department since 1993, daughter Nadja Spiegelman writes: “Things didn’t happen because they were possible, they happened because she decided they would. Show More Summary

In Praise of Reader Reviews

It’s been a while since a reporter has called to ask if I’m worried that Amazon reader reviews spell the death of my own livelihood as a critic. That used to happen all the time. Over the past 20 years that I’ve been at this job, professional...Show More Summary

Diary of a Binge-Watcher

The culture critic, memoirist, poet, and public intellectual Clive James worked as a TV critic for the Observer from 1972 to 1982, writing erudite TV criticism at a time when that was about as common as erudite TV. In his final column, he proclaimed that American television was never going to be more than mediocre. Show More Summary

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