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Julia Ormond Smilla's Sense of Snow

Shred Your Bestsellers—Read These Books Instead

Shred The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, read Smilla’s Sense of Snow (Peter Høeg) Forget computer hacking, Smilla Jasperson is part Eskimo and can read snow. Unlike Lisbeth, she doesn’t need some journo hack to solve crimes for her: she’s got this one in hand, even if she has to break a few bones and […]

Famous Authors

Ten Kinds of Book People It’s Impossible to Have a Conversation With

The Book Clubber. This person can’t stop talking about The Kite Runner, The Devil in the White City, The Help, and Gone Girl. Airport bookstores meet all her needs. You suspect that books not containing discussion guides terrify her. The Fast Reader. He likes books that you can read quickly, and he reads them quickly. He goes through a […]


Too Much Sociology…or Not Enough?

“I haven’t read this yet but I feel like you will have an opinion on this,” said Becky, posting an article to my Facebook wall. She was right—you don’t need to read an editorial titled “Too Much Sociology” to correctly guess that the guy who wrote Sociology for Dummies will have something to say about […]

Screen shot 2013-03-30 at 6.56.16 PM

Why Is This Lovingly Made DIY Literary Magazine So Boring?

I was recently sent a copy of a literary magazine; it’s published by a nonprofit organization, so it’s not technically do-it-yourself, but it has a classic DIY feel to it: the pages are photocopied and stapled, and there’s a tiny little book of poetry rubber-banded inside. The cover is fastened with velcro. It’s absolutely adorable…and […]


Fairy Tales Retold by Their Slightly-Too-Drunk Protagonists, Years Later

Goldilocks and the Three Bears “Oh my God. Bears. You want to hear a story about bears? When I was a kid, we lived by this giant forest. I forget what it was called, Everwood or something like that. Anyway, I used to go walking in the woods by myself, which was really stupid, because […]

Piss Christ 80s

Dear Glenn Beck: The 80s Called, and They Want Their Culture Wars Back

The 1980s were a long time ago. MTV has now been primarily about reality shows for twice as long as it was primarily about music videos. People born after the decade ended are now old enough to drink. Traveling back to the 80s would now be as much of a jump in time as it was […]


Yes, the Liberal Arts Are In Decline—and the World’s Really Not That Sad About It

The defensive impulse is baked into the self-definition of the liberal arts as we know them, so it’s no surprise that liberal arts partisans are buzzing around as busily as ever complaining that their disciplines are in decline and looking for someone to blame. The most recent blast from the liberal arts’ crumbling ramparts was […]

Not My Bag Sina Grace

Comic Book Artist Sina Grace On “Not My Bag,” His First Autobiographical Work

Sina Grace has got to be one of the most blatantly sincere people working in mainstream comics today. I know this, and yet when I picked up his new book Not My Bag I expected a dense, thorough tome with a highly literary narrative like those I’ve become accustomed to from people like Craig Thompson. […]


In Defense of Sharing

I do not care about your new baby. I do not care about your pirate themed wedding. I do not care about your latest trip to the farmer’s market, or the whole rosemary rubbed chicken you baked in your wood burning oven, or your cat. Fuck your cat. But I will defend to the death […]


You Have No Idea How Much You’re Going To Love These Seven Comic Books

Maybe you’re like me. Maybe the idea of comic books has always seemed interesting but you mostly think of them as roided out superheroes for kids or weird black and white stuff that’s boring or makes you feel weird. Maybe you read Maus or Persepolis and thought “Yeah, this is neat—but what now?” Maybe the […]


What Reading Game of Thrones Does to Your Everyday Life

All blondes are now the worst ever. Thanks to the Lannister clan of soulless tow-headed fuckwads, your already precarious opinion of the blondes of planet earth has soured completely. Not only are they all probably the product of unholy incest, they likely also have a blatant disregard for time-honored rights of succession (which in the […]

Bestsellers copy

Are Bestseller Lists Bad for Lit?

When you walk into a Barnes & Noble, what are the first books you see? Okay, it’s the deep-discount books in the foyer. Then what books do you see? Okay, it’s the books that publishers have paid to have promoted. But then what books do you see? Probably the books on the bestseller shelf, enticingly arranged […]

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