Reading Archive

Literary Lessons for Turbulent Times

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Here in America our expectations are grand. School followed by college, followed by a good job, a good marriage, a nice house in a good neighborhood where we’ll raise some good children who will have even more good things than we have. It’s the American Dream.

An Inquiry Into Brilliance: One Last Ride With Robert Pirsig

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Robert Pirsig died last month at the age of eighty-eight. His death was covered widely, but within a day or two it had been washed away by the torrent of offenses and outrages known as the “news cycle.”

“She had a face that would haunt me for the rest of my life”: Looking for Annemarie Schwarzenbach

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Grappling with the complexities of Annemarie Schwarzenbach’s life–falling in love with her, in a way–entails addressing not just her political and ideological stances in light of her personal relationships, but also the realities of queerness within history, and the interplay of both of these aspects.

Sophie’s Choice and Radical Acceptance

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I first read Sophie’s Choice the summer after I graduated from college. I don’t know why I waited so long. I had spent large portions of my childhood compulsively reading Holocaust memoirs. My mother, a children’s librarian, made phone calls and drove me to libraries in other towns to

The Heart in Exile, the Original Queer Detective Noir Novel

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Garland uses the detective story to place the gay experience of the era through a guided lens. The novel opens in a way you’ve heard before: a mysterious woman enters a man’s office unannounced. Only, the office isn’t a private eye’s but a bisexual psychiatrist’s, and the woman’s dead

Art Is Resistance: Five Essays That Confront the Painful Realities of Black Suffering

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These articles are by no means an answer to a dangerous societal deficit that constantly stereotypes, punishes, and kills Black people. But the conversations that they both start and continue are ones that need to be had.

Sociology Texts That Read Like Novels

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Social science doesn’t have to be dry and statistics-laden. Sociology writing can be as vivid and gripping as fiction, when done well. Luckily there’s no shortage of compelling US sociology books, or sociologists.

East and West: What Tagore Loved to Eat

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Over the past several months, I have steeped myself in Tagore, trying to imbibe his songs and poetry and to know him as a man. As a Nobel Prize winner and a towering literary figure, Tagore is a cultural icon of Bengal. I have sought his soul and prided

Scaffolding

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As people who will die someday, and whose loved ones will die someday, we all live with at least one large dark truth from which we often try to avert our gazes. This tension—knowing a thing, but living as far away from that knowledge as possible—surfaces in literature too.

With Those We Love Alive and a Different Way to Write a Short Story

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The medium we present something on, often defines the kinds of stories we can tell and how we tell them. In the digital age, With Those We Love Alive shows us another way to write a story even if its written on our skin.