Books

The Swooniest Lord Byron Quotes

English poet Lord Byron’s reputation as a heartbreaker precedes him. During his most publicized affair with British aristocrat Lady Caroline Lamb, the society darling famously declared the Don Juan “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” It’s an epitaph still quoted to this day. On the 191st anniversary of the Romantic rogue’s death, we’re looking back at some of Byron’s swooniest quotes — pieces of his works that prove the bon vivant’s seductive writing prowess was always on point, making him one of the greatest Romantics of the age. … Read More

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Is Steven Millhauser America’s Best Short Story Writer? On ‘Voices in the Night’

The quintessential American writer’s writer, or critic’s writer, or whatever, Steven Millhauser has long excelled at the three major forms of fiction. In 1997 he won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Martin Dressler, a chimerical 19th century study that discovers Modernist ennui under the turtle shell of the American dream. He has been praised, too, for his novellas, by Jim Shepard and others, who rightly imply that he has more or less mastered the American incarnation of the form —  even if, as Millhauser wryly explains it, the novella isn’t a form but a length. … Read More

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Salman Rushdie’s New Book Has a Very Blue Cover

Salman Rushdie, the literary mastermind who hasn’t lent adult fiction his masterful mind in nearly eight years (since The Enchantress of… Read More

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Toni Morrison Is Not Your Grandmother: On the Explosive, Alienating ‘God Help the Child’

It is a strange fact of Toni Morrison’s career that no matter how viscerally — in at times the clearest and most instinctive sentences in narrative prose — she lays bare the sexual brutality and racial hatred that undergirds American life, she will still be expected to play the part of grandmotherly sage. In her recent, necessary, even recuperative piece “The Radical Vision of Toni Morrison,” Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah momentarily chides herself for wanting as much from the only living American Nobel Prize in Literature laureate. “I had spent hours with Morrison, accosting her with questions, thinking about her, observing her,” Kaadzi wrote. “Suddenly I felt greedy and excused myself in a hurry. How silly of me to think that she should provide me with an answer to the old woman’s riddle, to not see all the ways Morrison has given of herself.” It’s true: Toni Morrison is not here to comfort… Read More

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20 Iconic Fashion Moments From Jane Austen Adaptations

“Our abuse of our gowns amuses but does not discourage me; I shall take mine to be made up next week, and the more I look at it the better it pleases me,” Jane Austen wrote to her sister. “My cloak came on Tuesday, and, though I expected a good deal, the beauty of the lace astonished me. It is too handsome to be worn — almost too handsome to be looked at.”

Although Austen’s novels almost all deal with the themes of self-knowledge, growing up, and the nature of romantic love, she was hardly above loving or thinking about fashion. … Read More

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Self-Published Novelist Sues Joss Whedon and Lionsgate Over ‘The Cabin in the Woods’

Self-published novelist Peter Gallagher (no relation to the actor with the expressive eyebrows) has just filed a lawsuit claiming copyright… Read More

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What Makes an Authentic Rave? Michaelangelo Matos on Chronicling EDM’s Rise in ‘The Underground Is Massive’

In his substantial new history from Dey Street Books, The Underground Is Massive: How Electronic Dance Music Conquered America, journalist Michaelangelo Matos untangles decades of an oft-misunderstood underground as it lurched towards ubiquity. Turning 18 seminal events into set pieces that explore the evolution of the music and surrounding culture, Matos draws a direct line from the post-disco epiphanies of Chicago house and Detroit techno to the 21st-century robotics of Daft Punk and glittering EDM mega-festivals, party cruises, campouts, and other bacchanals where saucer-eyed dancers should be drinking a lot more water than they probably are. In a book that’s as much detailed ethnography as musical history, Matos — a veteran of the ’90s Midwest scene — builds from email lists, party fliers, archived DJ sets, and fresh interviews to find the first widescreen perspective on one of the United States’ most obscured cultural legacies. … Read More

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Why the Best Depictions of the Latino Experience Are the Most Specific: On Cecilia Rodriguez Milanés’ ‘Oye What I’m Gonna Tell You’

The first story in Cecilia Rodriguez Milanés’ latest collection, Oye What I’m Gonna Tell You, titled “Niñas de Casa” (roughly translated as “house girls”), opens with the murders of three Cuban-American women. First, a certain Celeste is choked to death after refusing her American manager’s sexual advances at the dollar store where she worked to support her younger brother’s coming baby. Then Magi, a high school AP student, is killed while in the car with her drug-dealer boyfriend, in a shootout aimed at him. Finally, Xiomara, a middle-aged single woman who volunteers at a nursing home twice a week, commits suicide the day after her baby-faced neighbor nearly strangles her to death and rapes her. … Read More

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