50 Books to Cure Heartbreak

Heartbroken? Left alone? Depressed? And right before the holidays? Never fear, because this is no end-of-year list — it’s a list to cure that broken heart of yours. Now, there are as many ways to mend a broken heart as there are to break one, but hopefully this list will contain something for everyone, whether you prefer to muffle pain with laughter, or might take some hope in a happy ending, or just need to wallow. After all, as James Baldwin said, “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.” So here you go, gang: 50 cures for love, all $25 or less. … Read More

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What Amazon’s Bestsellers Say About American Culture in 2014

Amazon’s list of its best-selling books in 2014 reveals an American culture gritting its teeth, biding its time, immersing itself in serial narratives. If Amazon’s 2013 list aired out the dying gasp of a “can-do” spirit — with books like (#1) Tom Rath’s Strength Finder, (#2) Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, and (#17) Gary D. Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts  — the 2014 list bails on that ethos entirely. Many of the basic social, cultural, and economic pieties that have guided Americans into and through the 21st century are missing from the best-selling books of 2014. … Read More

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Judy Blume Writes ‘In the Unlikely Event,’ Her First Novel for Adults in 15 Years

Judy Blume — who you may recall as your literary fairy godmother, holding your hand through the turmoil of… Read More

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Check Out the Cover For Masha Gessen’s Upcoming ‘The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy’

Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen, whose recent book on Pussy Riot, Words Will Break Cement, was one of our “

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Melville House to Publish CIA Torture Report: An Interview with Publisher Dennis Johnson

In what must be considered a watershed moment in contemporary publishing, Brooklyn-based independent publisher Melville House will release the Senate Intelligence Committee’s executive summary of a government report — “Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program” — that is said to detail the monstrous torture methods employed by the Central Intelligence Agency in its counter-terrorism efforts.

Melville House’s co-publisher and co-founder Dennis Johnson has called the report “probably the most important government document of our generation, even one of the most significant in the history of our democracy.” … Read More

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15 Best Nonfiction Books of 2014

To sum up 2014 in nonfiction in the span of 15 titles is to merely put a toe into the endless sea of books published this year, and frankly, best-of lists are just subjective snapshots of what the writer has had the opportunity to experience during an arbitrary period. Yet a certain cohort can rise to the top, in an easy fashion — I plan on rereading or referencing many of the books on this list in the future. Here are the true stories, memoirs, and reporting that have left a… Read More

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J.K. Rowling Is Writing More Harry Potter Material, Reveals Snape’s Hometown

A few days ago, J.K. Rowling announced that she’d be releasing new Harry Potter material starting today, December 12, through December… Read More

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The Living Death of Alt Lit

“Alt Lit Is Dead,” wrote Gawker’s Allie Jones on October 3rd, after a string of allegations of rape and sexual abuse drove some of the Internet’s better-known male editors and writers — men who effectively served as Alt Lit’s gatekeepers — into hiding. Without question, it was clear that whatever Alt Lit was, it was in trouble. It seemed that the speed with which the allegations came, their range and corroborative power, would surely disperse a scene that seemed cloud-like and amorphous to begin with.

The proclamation of Alt Lit’s death coincided with the revelation that despite a veneer of difference, it bore a depressing resemblance to many literary movements that preceded it: it was maintained by a gaggle of male overlords who oversaw the publication of its writers — sometimes, it was alleged, on the basis of sexual coercion. But was Alt Lit anything more than these male overlords? And if so, does their downfall mean that the scene is dead? … Read More

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In Defense of Seeing the Movie Before You Read the Book

Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 crime novel, hits theaters today, and I encourage you to see it at your earliest opportunity — it’s sharp, funny, bizarre, and great, PTA’s most enjoyably loosey-goosey effort in years. But there will be some foot-dragging, as it seems there always is when a film version of a high-profile bestseller hits the screen, by those who feel it’s their obligation to first consume the work in its original and vastly superior words-on-a-page form. After years of struggling with this arbitrary impulse/obligation, let’s just come out and say it: you don’t have to do that. … Read More

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