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Reading Archive

What women really want when women want imperialism: Kushner and Rushdie on Queen Isabella

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In November, after failing to allow a woman to steer our ship of state, watching Netflix’s The Crown seemed punishing. After Hillary Clinton’s close loss, I didn’t know if I could handle watching a woman preside over the United Kingdom. But I capitulated and found myself watching a young Elizabeth

The Weather We’re Having

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The calamity of weather disaster in literature offers more overt indications of those who are vulnerable and exposed. From Shakespeare’s encroaching storms to Richard Wright’s floods, from Zora Neale Hurston’s hurricane to Haruki Murakami’s quakes, we learn that we have to keep our eyes on the skies and our

Ghosts on Cloudless Days

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Whereas spring further north leaps cleanly from receding snow and bare branches, southern spring is brief and muddled with the semi-cold winter that precedes it and the too-hot summer that follows. Springtime is a liminal space where the past seeps into the present.

Nothing Doing

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It might be the case that either our understanding of the brain or our grasp of the cosmos recapitulates the other, and it’s language that pushes us further into both—if we can bend, torque, and look behind it for what it’s concealing, we might discover how it’s holding us

Harm Was Done: Subversive Sympathy in Anakana Schofield’s MARTIN JOHN

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In Martin John, Anakana Schofield presents us with a sexual deviant hiding out in London having fled the West of Ireland. Where does this novel sit in relation to such works as Nabokov's Lolita and A.M. Homes' The End of Alice, and what role do such works serve?

S-TOWN and the “Daunting Exercise” of True Crime

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Less than forty-eight hours after Serial and This American Life released their new true crime podcast, I got a text message from a friend about it. “S-Town podcast. Listen immediately. All seven episodes.”

Narrative and Anti-Narrative in the Poetry of Sexual Assault

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In the brief back-cover description of Lauren Berry’s The Lifting Dress, we read: “Set in a feverish swamp town in Florida, The Lifting Dress enters the life of a teenage girl the day after she has been raped.”

Unhaunting the Small Town Narrative in NIGHT IN THE WOODS

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What makes up the American small-town identity feels solidified in the cultural consciousness, but that depiction is a veneer that needs interrogation. The game Night in the Worlds and novel Universal Harvester comes at a time to do just that and rehabilitate that archetypal image.

Buffy Versus Dracula

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which just celebrated its twentieth anniversary, is remembered for its campy, sometimes silly, iconic vampire lore. And yet, while watching it as it aired, it never occurred to me that the classic Prince of Darkness—Dracula—might appear.

Love in the Time of Tear Gas: THE NIX’s Wild Literary Style Crashes Epically Against Its Vision of Our Diminishing Culture

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The most distinctive trait of novels like The Nix is the ensemble, and the guiding principle is a recognizably American one: the bigger, the better.