Joan Didion’s Formal Experience of Confusion
by John D’Agata
Some memoirists hide behind their crisply recollected facts; Joan Didion offers herself unadorned, confused and blurry, and struggling to remember.
Survival of the Oddest
by Mark Kamine
The problems of free will, an invented God, and impossible love: Novelist Nicholas Mosley practices for catastrophe.
Children of the Corn Syrup
by Shea Dean
War has made us fat, and a Granny Smith apple strafed with pesticides is no more “natural” than a can of corned beef.
by Alexis Soloski
Detective fiction: one part escapism, one part law-and-order, and three parts damn good story.
Read the Book That You Are Reading
by Paul Collins
Readers ask questions about books; lazy reviewers offer answers about authors. Should we send them anonymous copies?
The Jerriad: A Clown Painting
(Part One: Nutty Around the Edges)
by B. Kite
Lending Jerry Lewis to the French has been a magnanimous gesture—but it’s time to take him back.
by Arthur C. Clarke and Lawrence Weschler
A distinguished futurist and an idiosyncratic philosopher-writer debate the intelligence of machines and the future of wonder.
Avengers of Gowanus
by Benjamin Strong
Jonathan Lethem’s new novel watches America shift from the richly textured world of Marvel comics to the flattened plane of DC.
interviewed by Joe Loya
This is no beauty makeover: the transformations of Mark Salzman, novelist, musician, teacher, and martial artist.
interviewed by Matthew Derby
Former Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus on Bob Packwood’s insatiability, Radiohead’s solar power, and stupid last names.
interviewed by Ben Ehrenreich
The Irish novelist and critic looks back on thirty years of characters looking for solid places to stand.
Child: Alexandra Moon
by Kirsten Jones Neff
Mammal: Barbary Ape
by Daniel Browne
Motel: The Parry Lodge
by Maggie Behle
Donald Barthelme’s Syllabus
by Kevin Moffett
An autodidact fritters away a used-bookstore summer with a tattered copy of Donald Barthelme’s reading list.
Tool: The Ace Heavy-Duty Glue Gun
by Kevin Smokler
Stuff I’ve Been Reading
by Nick Hornby
This month he reads a book that seems like it was written for him, attempts to read a very long biography, and maybe quits smoking.
Light: 1956 Lamp with Fairy and Mushrooms
by Dean Bakopoulos
About the Party: a new poem
by David Berman
Schema: 1920: A Historical Map of a Typical Year
by Ben Greenman