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Readings

Excerpts from the best and most bizarre new books, testimonies, government documents, journals, news reports, speeches, and letters.

Chipotle Misérables

From the notebook of an editor at the New York Post who interviewed Melvin Paulino, an employee at a Chipotle restaurant in New York City, in December. Interpreted on-site from the…

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Putin on Your Pants

From a December 2020 telephone conversation between Konstantin Borisovich Kudryavtsev, an FSB agent, and Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader whom Kudryavtsev attempted to assassinate on an airplane in August…

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Traduttore, Traditore!

From an email conversation between Mikaël Gómez Guthart and Ariana Harwicz after meeting at a book launch for their works in Paris last year. The discussion was published in the…

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Anecdote of the Bar

From a letter written by Robert Frost to Wallace Stevens in July 1935, included in The Letters of Robert Frost, Volume 3, edited by Mark Richardson et al., which will…

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Fire Bird

From Knees of a Natural Man: The Selected Poetry of Henry Dumas, which was published in October 2020 by Flood Editions. Dumas (1934–1968) was an American poet involved in the…

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Something From Nothing

From The Committed, which will be published this month by Grove Press. The hemorrhoidal clerk grunted painfully when he saw me that afternoon. He struck a match, and the flash…

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Theory of Data Transformation

From Living in Data, which will be published in May by MCD, an imprint of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Thorp is a data artist and an instructor at New York…

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Ionic Pixie Dreamboy

From passages of letters included in Love, Kurt, a collection of messages written between 1941 and 1945 by Vonnegut to his girlfriend Jane, whom he married in 1945, which was…

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Speech in Sediment

From a list of words banned by software used at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, which took place remotely in October 2020. The program prevented these…

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The Final Medical Frontier

From abstracts of articles published in the peer-reviewed academic journal Early Human Development. The works were flagged for review by the publisher, Elsevier, after a college student wrote a letter…

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MAGA Carta

From a video recorded in October 2020 by a shopkeeper in Liverpool, England, documenting an encounter with local police officers. shopkeeper: Can I help you? officer 1: The area’s not…

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An Honest Living

From a series of columns published in January 1927 by the German tabloid B. Z. am Mittag, about his experiences as a paid nightclub dancer. The columns are included in…

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Immodest Proposal

From replies to the following November 2020 Craigslist post: “My sister is having an outdoor wedding in New Canaan, Connecticut, in May. I want someone to be naked in the…

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The Double Role

From the novel In Memory of Memory, which will be published this month by New Directions. Translated from the Russian. Let’s suppose for a moment that we are dealing with…

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Last Cigarette

From the eponymous novella in the collection Cowboy Graves, which will be published this month by Penguin Press. The text of this story was discovered in a file named VAKEROS.doc…

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My Scummy Valentine

From descriptions of the behavior of Len Kachinsky, a municipal judge in Wisconsin, which were published in the Winter 2020 issue of the Judicial Conduct Reporter. His colleague, identified as…

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Grand Slam

From a statement put out last year by ImLive.com, an adult webcam site. ImLive.com announced today the launch of ImLive4TheBlind, a website dedicated to providing the visually impaired with the…

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Red Wall

From My Name Will Grow Wide Like a Tree: Selected Poems, which was published last November by Graywolf Press. Translated from the Chinese. Hot. Having burned me but also Warmed…

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A Unified Theory

From a letter by Thomas Brennan, a physics professor at Ferris State University, in response to allegations printed in the student newspaper The Torch that Brennan disrupted a faculty Zoom…

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Head Over Heels

From a passage in a sixteenth-century book of Tudor warrants discovered last year by Sean Cunningham, the head of medieval records at the National Archives in England, and Tracy Borman,…

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New World Orders

From a list of recent changes to the abilities of characters in Crusader Kings III, a computer strategy game released last year in which players select a medieval dynasty and…

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Infertility Clinic

From a whistleblower complaint made by a licensed practical nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center, an ICE facility in Georgia, about a doctor working there. The complaint was published…

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The Left Behind

From “Girl on a Motorcycle,” from the collection The Hard Crowd: Essays 2000–2020, which will be published in April by Scribner. The Cabo 1000 was an annual one-day motorcycle race…

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The Rival

From the 1957 script “C’est Toi Alors: Scenario for Existing Props and French Cat,” in The Hipsters, a collection edited by Nile Southern, which will be published in May by…

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American Dreamers

From posts to the Missed Connections section of Craigslist, where users recount interactions with strangers in the hopes of finding them again. 6 train smile, new york city I just…

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Prize Fighter

From the transcript of a telephone interview with Louise Glück conducted by Adam Smith, chief scientific officer of Nobel Media, after she won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature. louise…

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A Zoom with a View

From behaviors engaged in by politicians and other government employees around the world during virtual meetings last year. Removed her shirt and bra during a meeting with her political party,…

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Pour Decisions

From an October 2020 Instagram post by the owner of Balthazar, a French brasserie in New York City. One night at Balthazar, four Wall Street businessmen ordered the restaurant’s most…

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March 2021