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The strange thing about this is that at twenty I imagined I would spend my middle age reading books that I didn’t have the patience to read when I was…

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Another policewoman points out the entrance to Pavilion B, housing the Shining Path inmates. I’m signed in a third time, and am being escorted up a staircase when a figure…

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There’s a peculiar comfort in imagining the companionship of great composers, for it is among them that a child prodigy is at home. Mozart rules the hopeful parent: homeschooled, composing…

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It is hard today to convey the significance and implications of the timetable, which first appeared in the early 1840s: for the organization of the railways themselves, of course, but…

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That’s important for later: the simplicity and brevity of Werther is what made it ripe for mass consumption, which also made it ripe for parody. People could read it fast,…

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I once asked an old, tired-looking black man to play James P. Johnson’s “Snowy Morning Blues” and he obliged after first turning around to take a better look at me.…

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The three-power occupation of Iran, which began in 1941 and did not end until the Russians finally left in 1940, took the form of zoning. It therefore tended to reduce…

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Bradley Manning, still effectively a boy, had few friends, and his family had all but fallen apart. In a time before Facebook and sustained long-distance friendships, he was leaving his…

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Teaching often facilitates a relationship with one’s own ignorance: only by confronting the limits of my knowledge can I begin to ask questions, begin to imagine how questions will be…

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Gladwell, who has built a wildly successful career curating and synthesizing other people’s research for the common reader’s consumption, has been surprisingly remiss in examining the social web’s impact on…

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Because I am a Jew, and a New York Jew at that, and because I am furthermore employed in publishing, I am, as is well known, bound by tradition and…

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To read The Kreutzer Sonata after one has read the diaries of both Sophia and Leo Tolstoy is to realize two things simultaneously: one, the story line (except for the…

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Gaitskill’s compassionate analysis of sexual urges that could be lazily labeled “extreme” or “subversive” is most explicit in her recent collection, Don’t Cry (2009), which often invokes suffering and its…

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President Obama, according to many Republican politicians and media personalities, is not only the most liberal President in American history, he is a mortal threat to the American way of…

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There’s no doubt that in Somalia, crime pays—it’s about the only industry that does. There is even a functioning pirate stock exchange in Xarardheere, where locals buy “shares” in seventy-two…

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I make a medium-sized chunk of my less-than-medium-sized income writing about books in print publications. So it’s pretty annoying when some guy corners me in a hallway at a party…

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Who is it this time? The biggest celebrity of all, Barack Obama. Following in the footsteps of Theodore Roosevelt’s Hero Tales from American History, and Jimmy Carter’s The Little Baby…

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Do you date men or women or both? Both. Is dating men and women different? Normally with women you have to play all kinds of little games. You have to…

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Here, Todd leans across my desk and thrusts his face into mine. “Open your eyes,” he says. “What do you see, Coates?” I see blue eyes of startling clarity and…

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Can capitalism exist without its foundation of heterosexual monogamy? Is polyamory inherently revolutionary? To all these questions we must answer: capitalism is a master of recuperation. What first shakes it,…

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In the Vietnamese culture, women are educated to be nurturing, willing to sacrifice and wait for her husband even until they turn into stones. This expectation has shaped the Vietnamese…

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Filipino basketball fans expect and tolerate some hanky-panky. Wealthy teams ignore the salary cap pretty blatantly. This brings up a disparity between the types of teams you have playing. Some…

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At the end of the day, I read for pleasure. There are certain authors I like to read and reread. Especially Twain. The Library of America series has a collection…

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As troubling as any hunt for bodies is, the real issue for Japan is the living. Adults relying on their parents’ retirement income is just one of many painful social…

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The lack of basketball expectations meant that Scalabrine essentially came to function only symbolically, as a sort of imaginary space where white fans could try to make sense of what…

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Today, FWF has more than 13,000 official members, plus six times that many who participate in programs such as their annual sweepstakes: You can win a boat or an eco-friendly…

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Canadian mining, oil and gas companies are Colombia’s third biggest source of foreign investment, operating almost exclusively in remote zones of the country where armed protection is a precondition to…

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Because risk is an intrinsic part of most financial transactions, a Financial Product Safety Commission would not—and should not—prevent every financial mistake. But the agency would allow consumers to make…

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