Author Archive

Why Not Social Reading?

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Among the many paradoxes of life in the tech-obsessed 21st century is the fact that we sometimes find ourselves yearning for an outdated simplicity precisely because we're so tied to innovations in entertainment and social media that constantly hold our attention.

Mary Chudleigh and Roy Moore

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One of the more perplexing stories arising from the accusations against Roy Moore is that some members of Christian fundamentalist communities have argued that it’s entirely appropriate for older men like Moore to date and marry 14-16 year old girls.

When Scientists Study Novels

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The point is to understand that what constitutes “literary” versus “genre” fiction—an age-old topic of study and debate within literary circles—is fundamental, not ancillary, to scientific findings on the effects of reading novels.

The Self-Made Heir

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Most Americans identify as “middle class,” though this is a reflection of mentality more than income. Economists define “middle income” households as those with incomes between 66% and 200% of the median household income. This means an annual income range of roughly $24,000 and $73,000 for one person. As

Trump, Transphobia, and the Lessons of The Argonauts

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The tension at the heart of Trump’s recent iteration of bigotry against trans individuals comes through profoundly in Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts. Nelson writes both movingly and perplexingly about bodies in flux.

Spying on the Rich in Crazy Rich Asians and Moll Flanders

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In Crazy Rich Asians (2013), Kevin Kwan offers us a window into a world of wealth capable of altering the very ontological condition of the characters who enjoy it. Reading Kwan’s novel, I’m reminded of Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders (1722).