Blog Profile / Slate: Books

Filed Under:Entertainment / Books
Posts on Regator:1184
Posts / Week:3.1
Archived Since:July 14, 2009

Blog Post Archive

The Scheherazade of the East Bay

“There is no actual control,” a character says in Moonglow, Michael Chabon’s slippery novel-wrapped-in-memoir-wrapped-in-more-novel. “It’s all just probabilities and contingencies, wriggling around like cats in a bag.” I haven’t chosen this quote to start my review because of its thematic resonance. Show More Summary

Zadie Smith on Male Critics, Appropriation, and What Interests Her Novelistically About Trump

In an interview in 2000, Zadie Smith told the Guardian about the pressure she felt after the astonishing success of her debut novel, White Teeth. “I was expected to be some expert on multicultural affairs, as if multiculturalism is a genre of fiction or something,” she said. Show More Summary

Life Among the Stars

The Canadian author Marni Jackson has won acclaim for for her memoir and journalism, sharp, elegant investigations into topics as varied as documentary filmmaking, dementia, and wilderness canoeing. In her first book of fiction, teasingly...Show More Summary

The Brimming Heart of Zadie Smith

A paradox lurks in the heart of the novelist’s vocation. Human beings are what most novels are about, the stuff that fiction is made of. Yet writing books is a solitary activity, one that tends to attract introverts and loners. The work...Show More Summary

Child Brides

In 1926, Frances Browning, a 15-year-old high-school student and sometime–chorus girl, started dating 51-year-old multimillionaire Edward Browning. The press went wild, chronicling their every move, their shopping trips, and nicknames for each other (“Peaches” and “Daddy”). Show More Summary

Island of the Blue Dolphins and the Dream of Loneliness

On any given afternoon of my 11 th summer, I could be found in the most unkempt corner of my family’s suburban California back yard, building tiny racks with twigs and grass and draping strips of uncooked bacon over them. I dug pits lined with stones and attempted to fashion splintered chicken bones into spearheads. Show More Summary

An Epic Sci-Fi That Combines Steampunk, Body Horror, and Beautiful Design

When they first created their home, it was a utopia. But four generations ago something went wrong. Everything broke. Now all that’s left is the carrion birds and a set of warring tribes struggling to survive while the world they live...Show More Summary

The Next Generation

Holocaust literature emerged out of a need to tell the stories of trauma in all its complexity. Books about the generation that was birthed by Holocaust survivors are not as common. There’s Maus, by Art Spiegelman, and another comic, the recent Flying Couch by Amy Kurzweil. Show More Summary

Against Everything

For a collection of essays about contemporary culture, Against Everything, by n+1 magazine co-founder Mark Greif, begins in an unlikely place: walking the perimeter of Walden Pond, accompanied by the spirit of Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau’s...Show More Summary

The Great Dying That Is to Come

Ralph Waldo Emerson opened his essay “Nature” by inviting us to imagine how differently we would view the stars if they were revealed for only one night in every thousand years. “How would men believe and adore,” he wrote, “and preserve...Show More Summary

The Romantics and the Opium-Eater

If you were a British teenager on fire with the love of art at the turn into the 19 th century, there was only one thing to be: a Romantic. Thomas De Quincey was just such a teenager when he discovered William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor...Show More Summary

Swerve! Crash!

Nell Zink is a wild thing, a feral version of something—a novelist—now customarily nurtured only in captivity. Her fiction went unpublished and largely unread until her 51 st year, tumbling into the public eye after a letter she sent to Jonathan Franzen about bird-watching prompted him to urge her to seek a broader audience for her writing. Show More Summary

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

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