Blog Profile / Slate: Books

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Archived Since:July 14, 2009

Blog Post Archive

Letters to a Young Muslim

I started reading Omar Saif Ghobash’s Letters to a Young Muslim when I was in Los Angeles with my wife over the holiday break. We decorated a small plastic tree and exchanged wrapped gifts. It was the first time either of us had ever done the Christmas thing. Show More Summary

Naïveté is the New Realism

Thomas Friedman is a sentient TED talk who writes credulous columns about taxi drivers and ideas conferences for the New York Times. He also writes books, very successful ones, and from them I have learned a lot about the shape and temperature of the world. Show More Summary

A Woman Looking at A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women

There is a great deal of looking going on in Siri Hustvedt’s new collection of essays, A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women. The first section scrutinizes various artists, Hustvedt’s time in therapy, her stint teaching writing atShow More Summary

Never Grow Up

Why has Margaret Wise Brown’s picture book Goodnight Moon sold upward of 48 million copies? To the adult eye, it’s appealingly illustrated but oddly written, with rhymes that seem improvised and a meter that turns itself off and on. It has none of the virtuoso wit, rigor, or invention of, say, Dr. Show More Summary

Mind of the Oppressed

Octavia Butler’s Kindred, a slave narrative–meets–sci-fi–time-travel tale, was first published in 1979. Set in 1976, it centers on a black woman named Dana who is unpacking at her new home in California when she is suddenly transported to early-1800s Maryland, where slavery is legal. Show More Summary

Why This Norwegian Novelist Should Be the Next Elena Ferrante

Each year in Norway, thousands of pilgrims visit a statue of a 14 th -century woman outside a church in the rural valley she called home. The woman is not a saint or a pioneer, but an ordinary mother—a fictional one, at that. She is Kristin Lavransdatter, the bewitching heroine of a literary trilogy written in Norwegian in the early 1920s. Show More Summary

The Novel as Math Problem

Paul Auster’s 4321 is nearly 900 pages long. When I finished the novel, I had a thicket of John Nash–looking notes, a persistent twitch in my left eyelid, and little sense of whether I had just experienced a monumental work of art or...Show More Summary

You Can Write a Best-Seller and Still Go Broke

In 2012, a month after the publication of her memoir, Wild, Cheryl Strayed was on a book tour, soaking up the wonder of her first big success as an author, when her husband texted her to say that their rent check had bounced. “We couldn’t...Show More Summary

The Return of the Cartoonist Studio Prize

The Slate Book Review and the Center for Cartoon Studies are proud to announce the fifth annual Cartoonist Studio Prize! Each year the Cartoonist Studio Prize is awarded to two cartoonists whose work exemplifies excellence in cartooning. Show More Summary

Some Boys Rise, Some Boys Fall

“What we Indians want in literature,” announces one of the characters in Aravind Adiga’s novel Selection Day, “is not literature at all, but flattery. We want to see ourselves depicted as soulful, sensitive, profound, valorous, wounded, tolerant and funny beings. Show More Summary


According to cannibalism researcher Bill Schutt, the idea of people eating people is always lurking somewhere in the collective Western id, one of those tops-all taboos that manages to revolt and captivate in equal measure. I’d argue...Show More Summary

Should Simon & Schuster Be Publishing Alt-Right Hatemonger Milo Yiannopoulos’ Book?

Ben Mathis-Lilley: Hello, Amanda. Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos has allegedly been given a $250,000 contract to write a book about “free speech” for Simon & Schuster. I think this is bad and that Simon & Schuster should feel bad. You basically disagree. Show More Summary

The Gerund That Tore a Literary Friendship Apart

Freud called it the “narcissism of small differences,” the way people who are very much alike tend to fall out over trivialities, the bitterness of their disagreement inversely proportional to the significance of its cause. Alex Beam’s...Show More Summary

The 10 Best Audiobooks of 2016

Slate’s Best Books of 2016 coverage: Monday: Laura Miller’s favorite books of the year. Tuesday: The best comics and the best book jackets of the year. Wednesday: Katy Waldman’s favorite books of the year. Thursday: Mark O’Connell’s favorite books of the year. Show More Summary

Idiot Emperor

If you’re the type of person who would consider reading Chris Smith’s new oral history of The Daily Show, it’s safe to say you’re also the type of person who has experienced some form of grief over the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45 th president of the United States. Show More Summary

“Inexplicable, Terrible, and Capricious”

Due to a genetic quirk humans picked up somewhere in our evolution, if you go about three months without the vitamins that fresh food provides, your body loses too much ascorbate (or vitamin C) to carry on. Ascorbate helps the body create collagen, the essential protein in the body’s connective tissue, and a deficiency is deeply painful. Show More Summary

Lost in Translation

For cartoonists, style can really be destiny. Artists whose drawings are loose or informal often can produce work more frequently than artists whose styles are more careful or refined. And the stories those artists tell often are suited...Show More Summary

Mark O’Connell’s 10 Favorite Books of 2016

Slate’s Best Books of 2016 coverage: Monday: Laura Miller’s favorite books of the year. Tuesday: The best comics and the best book jackets of the year. Wednesday: Katy Waldman’s favorite books of the year. Thursday: Mark O’Connell’s favorite books of the year. Show More Summary

The Fuzzy In-Betweenness of Everything

“Yet by my broken bones// I tell new weather.” When these precocious lines appeared in his 1973 debut New Weather, the Irish poet Paul Muldoon was 21, a student at Queen’s University in Belfast, and generally too self-deprecating, too generalization-averse, for such brash pronouncements. Show More Summary

The Last Battle

When memory fails, we must imagine. So let us imagine that it is early 1982, and a new, almost universally fatal disease is spreading through the gay communities in New York and San Francisco. A year ago, people called it “gay cancer,”...Show More Summary

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