The Private Lives of Pundits

What is it like to live your life convincing people that your petty opinions are worth something? Luckily for us, it’s easy to find out, because pundits love talking about themselves. There are a bunch of memoirs out there about what they do and how they think. One fun exercise is to read Bill O’Reilly’s […]

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Modern Art

I don’t get art. I’m not even sure that I know what I like, which is all the more reason for me to mess around with art books and see if I can learn something. The Success and Failure of Picasso had a bit of controversy when it came out, probably because it suggested that the […]

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It’s Electric

If you’re bothering to read this, you’re reading it on a computer, and if you’re using a computer, you probably take electricity for granted. Unless you’ve come across some faulty wiring or jammed a fork into a live toaster, you probably need to be reminded how terrifying electricity can be. For centuries, it has been […]

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Read by the Author

I’m a big fan of audiobooks. They keep my brain from turning to mush when I’m trying to get stuff done, and some of my favorites are read by the author. Even if a professional speaker could have done a technically better job, there’s a certain charm to a book when it’s read by the […]

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What’s Wrong With Us?

What's Wrong With Us?

It used to be that the mass of men led lives of quiet desperation. Now we can’t shut up about it. Every op-ed columnist has another idea as to what’s wrong with us and a million suggestions about how to fix it. Naturally, there are plenty of books on the subject. Alone Together is in the grand tradition […]

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They Shall Know Us By Our Movies

They Shall Know Us By Our Movies

What do your movie preferences say about you? Or your era? Or your politics? Or whatever? There are plenty of critics with answers to those questions, and they’ve written countless books transforming movies into symbols for their respective times and cultures. Pictures at A Revolution focuses on the five Best Picture contenders of 1967: The Graduate, Guess […]

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I Writes Batter Then Yoo: Books to Improve Your English

Finnegans Wake, p.1

As any good narcissist will tell you, without a proper command of language, it’s extremely difficult to prove how much better you are than everybody else. All it takes is one misspelling, one poor pronunciation or even just one dull sentence, and within a matter of seconds, you’re an average schlub again, waiting in line […]

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Adventure!

Adventure

People get restless. They want to shake the dust off their shoes, go to exotic places, talk to different people and do different things. They also like to hurt themselves trying to climb stuff. Personally, I’m fine just reading about it, but if you’re the adventurous type, maybe these books will inspire you. Hidden Cities chronicles […]

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Vengeance Is Mine!

Vengeance

Revenge is old, tricky business. It piles up until you forget what you’re fighting for, and plenty of authors have used revenge as the driving force of their stories. Nearly anywhere in the library, you can find books exploring the depths of vengeance. Ancient Greek theater has a knack for portraying the complexities of revenge. Euripides’ Orestes exists […]

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Brains . . .

Brains

If you’re anything like me, you’ve wondered what happens to your brain when an iron rod is driven through your skull. In 1848, we found out. Railroad construction foreman Phineas Gage was busy blasting rock when, in a freak explosion, a thirteen-pound iron rod shot right through his brain. Miraculously, he could still walk, talk and perform his […]

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