Reading Archive

Stories Without Women

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Men Without Women is a familiar, easily identifiable, and oddly comforting book for the Murakami reader, privileging the emotional landscape of lonely Japanese men through scaffolding characterization, personal idiosyncrasy, and monkey-wrench narratives.

Do Readers Dream of Electric Futures?

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Why has Philip K. Dick, author of the novella Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, continued to be read through the decades? Why has he continued to be a touchstone—with his stories and novels consistently being turned into films?

Fearless Girl, Charging Bull, and the Problem of Authorial Intent

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Some argue that Fearless Girl is not a “legitimate” work of art because its meaning is dependent on Charging Bull, but works of art often appropriate parts (or even all) of other works in order to synthesize new meaning.

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

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.