"Ana gets super embarrassed
when it’s time to get to the main event, because he’s going to “kiss me there!” By all means, let’s continue with the coy use of “there” to indicate your fully adult woman parts, because childish prudery is absolutely not squicky at all when you’re already wearing pigtails and constantly referring to aspects of your sexuality as childlike. " -- Jenny Trout reads the world's best known Twilight fan fiction
, Fifty Shades of Grey
and doesn't like it. (language, nsfw strangely enough)
posted by MartinWisse
on Aug 8, 2013 -
Claire Messud: “A woman’s rant” [National Post]
"Over the last week, discussion surrounding Claire Messud’s new novel, The Woman Upstairs, has shifted from the book to an interview
its author recently gave to Publishers Weekly, in which Messud took issue with the following question: “I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you? Her outlook is almost unbearably grim.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz
on May 10, 2013 -
"Twenty five years ago I quit a job on Wall Street to write a book about Wall Street. Since then, every year or so, UPS has delivered to me a book more or less like my own, written by some Wall Street insider and promising to blow the lid off the place, and reveal its inner workings, and so on. By now, you might think, this game should be over. The reading public would know all it needed to know about Wall Street, and the publishing industry would be forced to look to some other industry for shocking confessions from insiders. Somehow this isn't the case
posted by vidur
on Feb 5, 2013 -
"There are certain novels that can shape a teenage boy's life. For some, it's Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged; for others it's Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. As a widely quoted internet meme says, the unrealistic fantasy world portrayed in one of those books can warp a young man's character forever; the other book is about orcs. But for me, of course, it was neither. My Book – the one that has stayed with me for four-and-a-half decades – is Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, written when Asimov was barely out of his teens himself. I didn't grow up wanting to be a square-jawed individualist or join a heroic quest; I grew up wanting to be Hari Seldon, using my understanding of the mathematics of human behaviour to save civilisation." [Paul Krugman: Asimov's Foundation novels grounded my economics
posted by vidur
on Dec 9, 2012 -
"... [T]he character hypothesis: the notion that noncognitive skills, like persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence, are more crucial than sheer brainpower to achieving success .... Character is created by encountering and overcoming failure .... The offspring of affluent parents are insulated from adversity ... while poor children face no end of challenges ... there is often little support to help them turn these omnipresent obstacles into character-enhancing triumphs." A review of 'How Children Succeed
,' by Paul Tough.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear
on Aug 26, 2012 -
"An English project I did that people at my school really thought was funny." Max Sánchez-Kollegger (Waluiginumberone) hams it up, reviewing Scott Westerfield's Leviathan
and it's sequel Behemoth
posted by Omnomnom
on Jul 4, 2012 -
"McPhee describes two things: how Switzerland requires military service from every able-bodied male Swiss citizen—a model later emulated and expanded by Israel—and how the Swiss military has, in effect, wired the entire country to blow in the event of foreign invasion. To keep enemy armies out, bridges will be dynamited and, whenever possible, deliberately collapsed onto other roads and bridges below; hills have been weaponized to be activated as valley-sweeping artificial landslides; mountain tunnels will be sealed from within to act as nuclear-proof air raid shelters; and much more
posted by vidur
on Jun 20, 2012 -
Isaac Chotiner reviews Jonah Lehrer's Imagine: How Creativity Works. Imagine is really a pop-science book, which these days usually means that it is an exercise in laboratory-approved self-help. Like Malcolm Gladwell and David Brooks, Lehrer writes self-help for people who would be embarrassed to be seen reading it. For this reason, their chestnuts must be roasted in “studies” and given a scientific gloss. The surrender to brain science is particularly zeitgeisty.
posted by shivohum
on Jun 13, 2012 -
Indian author Pankaj Mishra writes a brutal takedown
of Niall Ferguson's latest book, Civilisation: The West and the Rest
in the London Review of Books
Ferguson responds to the critical book review with a lawsuit
. [more inside]
posted by bodywithoutorgans
on Dec 5, 2011 -
"Writing about metaphor is dancing with your conceptual clothes off, the innards of your language exposed by equipment more powerful than anything operated by the TSA. Still, one would be a rabbit not to do it in a world where metaphor is now top dog, at least among revived rhetorical devices with philosophical appeal." [What's a Metaphor For?
posted by vidur
on Jul 12, 2011 -
Physicist Freeman Dyson reviews two new books about Richard Feynman
, one about the science and one in graphic novel
He never showed the slightest resentment when I published some of his ideas before he did. He told me that he avoided disputes about priority in science by following a simple rule: "Always give the bastards more credit than they deserve." I have followed this rule myself. I find it remarkably effective for avoiding quarrels and making friends. A generous sharing of credit is the quickest way to build a healthy scientific community.
, and probably in the future, but not predictably so.
posted by cogneuro
on Jul 12, 2011 -
Martha Nussbaum reviews
three recent books on Shakespeare and philosophy. The essay offers an excellent analysis of love in Antony and Cleopatra
, and an excellent discussion of the interaction between philosophy and literature. [more inside]
posted by painquale
on May 5, 2008 -
"A few years ago a psychologist and a philosopher got into an argument over whether we can accurately describe our thoughts. "Yes," said the psychologist; with training and the help of my special technique, we can accurately describe our thoughts. The philosopher doubted it. To resolve their argument, they recruited a young woman who agreed tell them her thoughts, so that they could argue over whether she was credible." Eric Schwitzgebel and Russ Hurlbert debate the transparency of inner experience
. See also Schwitzgebel's extremely interesting blog
posted by painquale
on Jan 13, 2008 -
The bookforum site
deserves to be brought to the attention of right thinking MeFis everywhere. It like a collection of really good front page posts: annotated collections of 10 or so links from disparate sources on a common theme. [more inside]
posted by shothotbot
on Dec 22, 2007 -
Are You There God? It's Me, Monica
In equal parts a book review, investigative journalism and an autobiographical account; the author of this article takes on the topic of teenage oral-sex in the US today. There are no easy answers for the reader at the end, but it makes for fairly compelling reading. (Apart from some sexual terminology, the article is SFW) [via]
posted by your mildly obsessive average geek
on Mar 16, 2007 -
Oh God, please never let the NYT review of my latest novel never start like this: Every few years, as a reviewer, one encounters a novel whose ineptitudes are so many in number, and so thoroughgoing, that to explain them fully would produce a text that exceeded the novel itself in both length and interest.
Lately it seems the book reviewers at the NYT--including Michiko Kakutani, on Jonathan Franzen's latest
("Just why anyone would be interested in pages and pages about this unhappy relationship or the self-important and self-promoting contents of Mr. Franzen’s mind remains something of a mystery"
)--have been pulling out all the stops. Poor Irvine Welsh (?).
posted by gottabefunky
on Aug 29, 2006 -
For more than two centuries, nationalism in all its various forms—from the high-minded chauvinism of the British Empire to the virulent poison of Nazism—has been a familiar, and often negative, phenomenon. Emerging first in Europe, which it nearly destroyed and which has now apparently learned to control it, extreme nationalism still erupts from time to time in other parts of the world. The word "nationalism" never quite seemed to fit the United States, where continental vastness and enormous power have hitherto been tempered by an often-expressed distaste for empire and by the notion of world leadership by example. In the first years of the twenty-first century, however, in a dramatic departure from traditional policy, the spirit of unilateralism and militant nationalism began to dominate Washington's policies and attitudes toward the outside world.Extreme Makeover
- Brian Urquhart reviews America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism
. And here
is Gerald Rellick's take on the book. From Asia Source, a long and informative interview with Anatol Lievin
. From the Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley's Conversations with History, A Conversation With Anatol Lieven
. Also by Anatol Lieven, A Trap Of Their Own Making
posted by y2karl
on Feb 14, 2005 -
Matt Taibbi checks in
with 'Excerpt from The Rise and Fall of the United States (Putnam, 2037), William Shirer IV. From the chapter entitled, "The Anschluss Begins."' Typically clever stuff, especially the Franzen bit.
posted by GriffX
on Oct 21, 2003 -
Iraq: What Went Wrong
By General Wesley K. Clark. I appreciate this article. It is simple, easy to read, and represents what I've been feeling for quite some time now. (NY Review of Books)
posted by y2karl
on Oct 1, 2003 -
David Garland's disturbing new book addresses the question why there are so many more people in jail in America and Britain than anywhere else... Its broader concern is with "cultures of control," how societies treat deviance and violence and whom they single out for what treatment. Here are some facts about skyrocketing imprisonment... There are approximately two million people in jail in America today, 2,166,260 at last count: more than four times as many people as thirty years ago. It is the largest number in our history... [and] between four and ten times the incarceration rate of any civilized country in the world... Twelve percent of African-American men between twenty and thirty-four are currently behind bars (the highest figure ever recorded by the Justice Department) compared to 1.6 percent of white men of comparable ages. And according to the same source, 28 percent of black men will be sent to jail in their lifetime... It was not until crime rates had already leveled off that incarceration rates began their steady, year-by-year climb. Between 1972 and 1992, while the population of America's prisons grew and grew, the crime rate as a whole continued at the same level, unchanged.
Jerome S. Bruner reviews The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society
for The New York Review of Books
, as does Austin Sarat
in the American Prospect
posted by y2karl
on Sep 18, 2003 -
Michiko Kukatani goes whacky!
(NYT Reg Required) Maybe all the craziness at the NYT is taking its toll, but everyone's favorite high-brow book bully reviews Candace Bushnell's (Sex and The City chick's) new book as a letter from...Elle Woods?!
posted by adrober
on Jun 19, 2003 -