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

Ow That’s What I Call Music

From songs selected by US interrogators to be played repeatedly at maximum volume for inmates at detention centers around the world, including at Guantánamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, and Mosul.…

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A Chicken in Every Pot

From Workers’ Tales, a collection of British socialist fairy tales from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, edited by Michael Rosen and published last month by Princeton University Press.…

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Train Dreams

From Love in the New Millennium, a novel that was published this month by Yale University Press. Can Xue is the pseudonym of Deng Xiaohua, who previously worked as a…

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21 Grahams

From descriptions of Donald Trump, stated between 2015 and 2018, by Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator from South Carolina. A race-baiting, xenophobic bigotThe Islamic State’s “man of the year”The death…

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Arch, a painting by Barbara Takenaga, whose work was on view in October at DC Moore Gallery, in New York City. Courtesy the artist and DC Moore Gallery, New York…

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A Strange Hour

A Strange Hour, a painting by Amy Bennett, whose work was on view in April at Richard Heller Gallery, in Santa Monica, California. Courtesy the artist and Richard Heller Gallery,…

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“Transformed Agricultural Machine, Kayak Road Sign Facing Highway 90, Hula Valley”

“Transformed Agricultural Machine, Kayak Road Sign Facing Highway 90, Hula Valley,” a photograph by Roei Greenberg, whose work was on view in August at Aperture Gallery, in New York City.…

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Think Stank

From statements included in How to Debate Your Teacher (and WIN!), a booklet first published in 2015 by the conservative policy group Turning Points USA. Capitalism is under attackTeachers and…

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Pain Scale

From Human Hours, which was published last month by Graywolf Press. Floating above the gynecologist’s hands,Dolor looks down at mewith her many expressions. Someone sketched the eyes, the mouths,someone pinned…

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Red Letter Days

From Issue 23 of The Fabulist, published by Aesop to coincide with the Serpentine Galleries’ 2018 Serpentine Pavilion, which is on view through October 7 in London. My first encounter…

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Prophecy Wonk

From The Book of Revelation, a history of Revelation that will be published this month by the Princeton University Press. St. Augustine was a bishop and Christian scholar of the fourth…

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It’s All Over Now

From “Tina Reyes,” which appears in The Houseguest and Other Stories. The book will be published next month by New Directions. Dávila was born in Mexico in 1928 and is…

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Remains of the Day

From descriptions of findings at Abel Beth Maacah, a site in northern Israel, near the Lebanese border. The reports were published between 1986 and 2018 by the biblical archaeologists Nava…

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Worlds Apart

By Inger Christensen, from The Condition of Secrecy. Christensen (1935–2009) was a Danish poet and writer. The book, a collection of essays, will be published in November by New Directions.…

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Hanging by a Thread

From descriptions generated by two AIs of ten Rorschach inkblots. The AIs were part of an MIT project released in April, to examine the influence of biased data on machine…

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Cruel Detentions

From complaints filed with the Department of Homeland Security between 2010 and 2017 by detainees in the custody of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. [Redacted] alleged he is discriminated against…

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Party Whips

From incidents of violence among state and national legislators in the United States, compiled by Joanne B. Freeman in The Field of Blood. Freeman is a professor of history and…

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Time After Time

From Six by Ten, a collection of firsthand accounts of solitary confinement edited by Mateo Hoke and Taylor Pendergrass. This story is by Brian Nelson, who was convicted of murder…

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The Crow Croaked

By Antarah ibn Shaddad, from War Songs, which will be published next month by NYU Press. Antarah was a pre-Islamic poet and warrior of the sixth century. Translated from the…

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By Ryunosuke Akutagawa, from “A Certain Socialist,” a short story written in 1926. Akutagawa (1892–1927) was the author of more than three hundred works of fiction and non-fiction, including the…

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National Portrait Gallery

From the titles of North Korean artworks held in the private collection of Pier Luigi Cecioni, in Pontassieve, Italy. Cecioni is one of the principal dealers of North Korean art…

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November 2018