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  • Ta-Nehisi Coates blazes a singular intellectual path in 'We Were Eight Years in Power'

    Ta-Nehisi Coates blazes a singular intellectual path in 'We Were Eight Years in Power'

    Early in “We Were Eight Years in Power,” Ta-Nehisi Coates’ third book, he writes, “[t]here is a notion out there that black people enjoy the Sisyphean struggle against racism. In fact, most of us live for the day when we can struggle against anything else.” However, as he explains throughout these...

  • Hillary Clinton's 'What Happened' says something revealing about America

    Hillary Clinton's 'What Happened' says something revealing about America

    If you’re looking for a takeaway beyond the soundbites from Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election postmortem “What Happened,” you’ll have to read deep into the book. It doesn’t come until page 450, in a discussion of decorum and how it applies to losing candidates. “At first,” Clinton writes, “I had...

  • Science fiction gets criminal

    Science fiction gets criminal

    Science fiction is often treated like a genre (and for a good reason), but genre lines can be incredibly blurry, with quite a bit of variation and room to play. One area that’s been growing recently is the sub-genre of crime stories and mysteries within sci-fi. Here is a selection worth investigating....

  • Celeste Ng's new novel 'Little Fires Everywhere' sets suburbia aglow

    Celeste Ng's new novel 'Little Fires Everywhere' sets suburbia aglow

    Shaker Heights, Ohio, is a comfortable, peaceful, progressive suburb of Cleveland, a carefully planned community incorporated in 1912 that exists in a gentle state of idyll, sustained by adherence to the “rules, many rules, about what you could and could not do.” It’s a marvelous setting for a...

  • The dystopian future is already underway in Maja Lunde's novel 'The History of Bees'

    The dystopian future is already underway in Maja Lunde's novel 'The History of Bees'

    “Our children and grandchildren” is a phrase often wheeled out in conversations about climate change. For politicians searching for heartstrings to tug, this is a logical rhetorical strategy, appealing to voters’ instincts to protect their kin. But it backfires in projecting the changing world...

  • In 'Dinner at the Center of the Earth,' Nathan Englander deepens and expands what he does so well

    In 'Dinner at the Center of the Earth,' Nathan Englander deepens and expands what he does so well

    Nathan Englander is a fabulist: That’s the first thing to keep in mind. Even when he’s trafficking in the naturalistic — in his story “The Wig” from “For the Relief of Unbearable Urges” or in the magnificent collection “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank” — he aspires to the lesson...

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