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Readings

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

Survive and Advance

A letter written in 1943 in response to a request from the Committee of National Liberation in Algiers to outline the mood in France, which was under Nazi occupation at…

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Viral Goods

From reports of items whose popularity has increased since the novel coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic in March. Antiseptic wipes Bleach Bicycles Freezers Cologne Ventilators Surgical masks Pornography featuring…

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Buried in the Sand

From The Punishment, which was published in April by Yale University Press in its Margellos World Republic of Letters series. Originally published by Éditions Gallimard, the book recounts the author’s…

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Staycation

From a real-time diary posted on Reddit by newlyweds Rachel and Tyler Torres, who were quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, off the coast of Japan, following the outbreak…

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Still Life

From Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars., which will be published this month by Ecco. The novel tells the story of John Earle “Whitey” McClaren, a sixty-seven-year-old businessman who is beaten…

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One Size Submits All

From attributes and behaviors of subjects in TikTok videos that the company deemed inappropriate for the site. TikTok is a social network where users share sixty-­second videos, often of themselves.…

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1st Trial for the New Aubade

From Mezzanine, a collection of poems, which will be published this month by Ecco. Does the season match the birdsong, did I hear the birdsong over the white noise machine,…

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Doctor Do Little

From bogus preventive measures and treatments for the novel coronavirus that have circulated online since January, some of which were initially promoted by politicians and celebrities. Driving a tractor Exposing…

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Can’t Spare a Square

From a Facebook post that was published in March by the Newport Police Department in Oregon. Do not call 9-1-1 because you ran out of toilet paper. History offers many…

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White Light/White Heat

From “Burn the Diaries,” an essay in the collection Index Cards, which will be published this month by New Directions. blankness In a volume of interviews, Jean Genet reconstructs the…

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Bedside Planner

From The Death of Jesus, which will be published this month by Viking. The book tells the story of Simón and Inés, the legal guardians of a young boy, David,…

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Politics as Usual

From This Is What Democracy Looked Like, which will be published in June by Princeton Architectural Press. The book is an illustrated history of the paper ballots used in U.S.…

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Freegrets III

For and after Vivian Springford, from a manuscript in progress. frameshield forward bloom of a cosmic stain, up on the sun’s old weird edge of expansion, to dispense with the…

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Cat Burglar

From a sign posted inside Catnap, a café in Christchurch, New Zealand. So you’ve ordered a muffin. Our wobbly tabby cat Bea really likes muffins, so there are a few…

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Lana Del Rey

From a manuscript in progress. Light woke me up What I fed grew Some fun could curve The time of day It’s possible we were Confused by old turns Of…

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To Infinity and Beyond

From Fragments of an Infinite Memory: My Life with the Internet, a memoir, which will be published in November by New York Review Books. Translated from the French by Peter…

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Killing Time

From Occupation Journal, a diary that Giono kept during the Nazi occupation of France, which was published last month by Archipelago Books. Translated from the French by Jody Gladding. tuesday,…

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Permanent Record

From behaviors for which K–12 teachers in the United States have been arrested since 2018, as described in news reports. Bringing a bag of wine to class Taking shots of…

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Color Theory

From Afropessimism, which will be published this month by Liveright. In February 2001, I attended the Race Rave conference at the University of California, Santa Cruz, with my wife, Alice.…

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Becoming Human

From The Celestial Hunter, which will be published this month by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Translated from the Italian. In the time of the Great Raven even the invisible was…

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Sorry to Bother You

From purposes of phone calls made by New York City residents to 3-1-1, a help line for information and non-emergency government services.  To discuss a neighbor who hangs underwear out…

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On Forgetting

From Synthesizing Gravity, a collection of essays, which will be published this month by Grove Press. It is easy to be sentimental about memory because of its powers to intensify.…

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Lost and Found

From My Meteorite, which was published last month by Penguin Books. Dodge is a sculptor and video artist. I always knew I was adopted, and since I was born in…

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Terms of Art

From “A Short Lexicon of Milan Kundera,” an essay published in Revue des deux mondes in March to mark Kundera’s ninetieth birthday. Noiville is a novelist and a staff writer…

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After I Turn Sixty-Nine

From Genghis Chan on Drums, which will be published next year by Omnidawn. I don’t imagine that a chariot is hurrying near but that a sleek car is speeding up…

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Ride or Die

From The Last Taxi Driver. The novel, which tells the story of a cab company in Northern Mississippi, was published last month by Tin House Books. They never tell you…

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Daydream Believer

From Magnetized: Conversations with a Serial Killer, a collection of interviews he conducted with convicted murderer Ricardo Melogno, which will be published in June by Catapult. In 1982, at the…

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Lost Boys

From a list of terms defined by the U.S. Department of Defense in a report on men who identify as involuntary celibates, or incels. Elliot Rodger was a twenty-­two-year-old self-described…

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June 2020