Essays Archives - Page 79 of 111 - The Millions

July 20, 2011

What Ever Happened to the New Atheism? 26

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Five years ago, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens launched a jihad against religion. But their colleague A.C. Grayling’s new “Humanist Bible” suggests something surprising: maybe the quarrel wasn’t really with God after all.

July 19, 2011

Good Luck, Memory 13

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How much of what we read do we actually retain? Should we care? The accidental “hap” of memory and that cherished literary principle: “remember the poop joke.”

July 15, 2011

Quintessentially English: Middlemarch Between Bristol and Bath 6

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Railway tracks get recycled into public pathways, now; in Middlemarch, they aren’t built yet, and exist only in the form of industrial agents who come to plan their route through the fields, to the dismay of the farmers who don’t understand what they want.

July 14, 2011

What Harry Potter Knows 25

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This is one of those weeks in which everyone talks about Harry Potter, and in which it’s tempting to be that writer, you know that writer, who does the jaded contrarian take on it all.

July 12, 2011

Megan Abbott, Literary Criminal 6

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Abbott isn’t merely a poster girl for this increasingly progressive atmosphere surrounding “genre.” Her novels are distinguished by rhythmic prose, historical settings , and a candor about the way people live.

July 7, 2011

The Year of Wonders 45

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It was midday on a Monday in early August of the year 2000 and the bidding on my first novel had reached six figures, then paused for people to track down more cash. I was 32. I’d never made over $12,000 in a year.

June 21, 2011

On Bad Blurbs and the Heavy Lightness of Yates’s The Easter Parade 12

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The blurby back-cover declarations struck me as so off-pitch, that they in fact helped me to clarify for myself just what I think The Easter Parade is, and isn’t.

June 17, 2011

Philip K. Dick and the Pleasures of Unquotable Prose 16

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Dick’s novels feel like labor, as though they are tabulating the results of some desperate experiment.

June 17, 2011

Cliffhanger: On Extreme Survival Books 7

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This plotline rarely changes; the details are grisly, the scenarios harrowing. Yet we can’t get enough of such stories.

June 15, 2011

On Not Going Out of the House: Thoughts About Plotlessness 14

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If life keeps “flowing, always flowing, smashing everything” as it rushes toward the ocean of death, the desire to scramble for the bank and sit the whole thing out on dry land is understandable.