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Buddies With Time: Why Knausgaard Really Is Like Proust

When my friends ask me to recommend a work of “contemporary literature,” I often tell them about Karl Ove Knausgaard or Nell Zink or Ben Lerner. But mostly I talk about Knausgaard. Now, I realize that my friends only want a “good book” written recently — a work of contemporary fiction — but I can’t help recommending Knausgaard’s books on a slightly different basis, one that mischievously fulfills the criterion: Knausgaard’s My Struggle volumes are assertively contemporary, even if I’m not always sure what that means. … Read More

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Jon Krakauer Mansplains Rape, But Will His Book Help Women?

Jon Krakauer’s Missoula is the true-crime story of a handful of acquaintance rapes in one college town. Krakauer, who happens to be my favorite narrative nonfiction writer, uses the same technique he applied in his last two books about fundamentalist Mormons and a covered-up death in Afghanistan, respectively, to examine the way a single American community handled a number of university rape cases. … Read More

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Blur Rise Above Nostalgia on Strong, If Overstuffed, New Album ‘The Magic Whip’

On the hidden song at the end of what the world thought was Blur’s final album — 2003’s Think Tank — Damon Albarn asked, “Why am I here? I’m here cuz I got no fucking choice.” He was referring to his country of origin, but listening to the record, it was not an unreasonable question for Blur’s leader to ask himself in the context of his band. … Read More

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Brooklyn Author Recreates Borges’ Library of Babel as Infinite Website

“When it was proclaimed that the Library contained all books, the first impression was one of extravagant happiness,” wrote Jorge Luis Borges in his classic of philosophical fiction, “The Library of Babel.” One of the most revered stories-as-thought-experiments ever committed to print, Borges’ fiction posits the Universe as a library (“composed of an indefinite and perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries”) that contains every possible text. This intellectual vision, at once playful and poised, has stirred authors (like Umberto Eco and Terry Pratchett) and philosophers (W.V.O. Quine and Daniel Dennett) alike for more than 75 years.

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20 One-Season Shows for Background Binge-Viewing on Netflix

While there’s nothing quite like getting so wrapped up in binge-watching a great television series that you can’t tear your eyes away from the screen or your body away from the couch, there’s also something to be said for the shows that only demand about half of your attention. Background television is almost, if not equally, important as the TV that we actually pay attention to. Tidying up your apartment, browsing the Internet, folding laundry, whatever — these tasks are all made infinitely better with some mediocre TV show playing in the background. Picking which show, however, is a task in itself. So to help you out, here are 20 one-season series (good and bad) on Netflix that you can kind of, sort of pay attention to. … Read More

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Surprise! Arnold Schwarzenegger Is Fantastic in His New Indie Drama ‘Maggie’

I’ve seen some strange things at the Tribeca Film Festival — this was, after all, where Robert De Niro met Lil’ Bub. But if there’s one thing I wouldn’t have imagined seeing at this, or frankly any other, film festival, it’s an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. And in the Q&A following last night’s world premiere of his new film Maggie, the former Terminator and governor expressed the same surprise. “I never dreamt in my life that I would one day be here at Tribeca, and getting this kind of reception.” The reception was the real deal, and so was his performance — a serious, heartfelt, dramatic turn, and he totally nails it. I’m as surprised as you are. … Read More

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Staff Picks: Margot Martindale, ‘Variety’ and Emily Schultz’s ‘The Blondes’

Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments. … Read More

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‘American Reflexxx': Performance Art Video Uncovers Shocking, Violent Dehumanization

A disturbing video has begun to make the rounds on Facebook. Titled “American Reflexxx,” it’s the work of performance artists Signe Pierce and Alli Coates, and it involves the former walking through a city while the latter films her. The result is 14 minutes of deeply unsettling footage. … Read More

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In a Post-Snowden, Post-Sony Hack World, Who Has the Power to Disseminate Secrets?

It’s not that difficult for someone to hack into your computer — and I know you think you know how easy it is, but trust me, it’s so much easier than you think. As a matter of fact, the attendees at Tuesday’s Tribeca Film Festival panel on “Secrecy and Power” were treated to a demonstration of exactly how easy it is, thanks to cyber-security expert Ralph Echemendia, aka “The Ethical Hacker.” Earlier that week, he sent an email with a link to a video clip to one of the TFF interns. As we all watched on a screen overhead, he opened up a window that displayed the intern’s desktop, his documents, his network. He turned on the webcam and the microphone. The poor schmuck had no idea. Most of those who are hacked don’t. … Read More

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25 Novels That Will Turn You Into an Environmentalist

Earth Day is upon us, and you know what that means: time to pick up the trash in your neighborhood, or hug a tree, or at least think a little bit about your carbon footprint. Not exactly your cup of tea? Then how about reading one of these novels (er, and two short story collections and one children’s book), each guaranteed to turn you into some kind of environmentalist, whether by scare tactics (post-apocalyptic climate nightmare!) or straight wooing (look at all these pretty plants and things!). And, we promise, none of these is as boring as Walden. Celebrate Earth Day from the comfort of your couch this year, and next year… well, who knows? … Read More

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