Star Stuff: Poets on Space

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Science relies on metaphors. The work that metaphors do, after all, is to either make the familiar strange, or to make the strange familiar. Science is full of strangenesses, difficult for most of us to grasp unless we have something more quotidian to compare it to. Space, in particular,

Creative Thought and Chronic Pain

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Chronic pain necessitates time spent alone, and so seems a natural conduit for loneliness. This doesn’t signal immediate alarm for the writer, who excels in spending time alone. But is there a more insidious, pervasive relationship between chronic pain and the writing process? How does it alter the texture

Round-Up: The National Book Awards, Charlie Bucket, and The Handmaid’s Tale

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From the National Book Awards’ longlist to the Emmys, we've rounded up the latest in literary news.

Florida’s Nonfiction Borderland in Sunshine State

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By switching back and forth between epistolary writing, imagined scenes, memoir, and journalism, Gerard shows her range of skills and voice while keeping her story contained to one location—Pinellas County, Florida, where Gerard grew up, and dips in and out of in her adulthood.

“What Shall We Do Before Eternity?”

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It’s an upsetting premise: The estranged parents of Ninon, a twenty-three-year-old woman dying of AIDS, travel across Europe to attend her wedding in Italy.

Jesmyn Ward’s Southern Roots

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History overlaps with, influences, and outright intrudes on the present, and in Ward’s fictional world that happens metaphorically, mentally, and then literally through visions and ghosts.

Joanna Rakoff’s My Salinger Year

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What is it about being in your early twenties that makes the world seem so overwhelmingly crowded and yet so desperately lonely all at once? There’s something bewitching about it, too, and melancholy.

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

The Narrative Medium of our Times: An Interview with TV Critic Matthew Gilbert

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TV is no longer the second cousin to film; in many ways, it’s become the higher art form. And to a great extent, television has become society’s barometer—it shapes and tells us more about who we are than almost any other medium.


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The novel opens with Elena Richardson watching her home burn down, and readers backtrack the circumstances leading to an act of arson.