Nonfiction

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The Paradoxical Power of Memory

The Paradoxical Power of Memory

FOR ME, reading Jie Li’s Shanghai Homes: Palimpsests of Private Life — a book that combines memoir and ethnography to chart the course of ordinary lives during times of rapid change — was an emo...

Why Pronouns Matter

Why Pronouns Matter

MARY NORRIS BEGINS the acknowledgments at the back of Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by crediting “John Bennet, of The New Yorker, who encouraged me to write something — an...

Empty Beds, Empty Wombs: Life Beyond the Blueprint

Empty Beds, Empty Wombs: Life Beyond the Blueprint

I WAS MIDWAY through this essay when one of my best friends from high school texted me, “Do you have a moment?” I always have a moment for a writing distraction, so I wrote, “This sounds like b...

Two Generations of South African Nonfiction

Two Generations of South African Nonfiction

JONNY STEINBERG AND CHARLES VAN ONSELEN, best of the best among South Africa’s nonfiction writers, make an interesting pair. The older of the two, Van Onselen (b. 1944), is the country’s most cele...

Which One Was Truly Radical?

Which One Was Truly Radical?

SOME WRITERS LIVE in optimal habitats that generate their best work. For Wallace Stegner and Edward Abbey, that place was the vast, dry American West. In 2012, with a box full of books riding shotgu...

Dumbing Down the Underground

Dumbing Down the Underground

FOR DECADES after its heyday in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Weathermen were mostly hidden in the shadows of American consciousness and memory. Already by the mid-1970s, the radical group strug...

Progress of Stories

Progress of Stories

MOST ACCOUNTS of Joseph Mitchell’s storied career at The New Yorker end in September 1964, when, at age 56, the reporter published his last piece for the magazine: the two-part exposé of “Joe Gou...

A Dissident Writer in Modern America

A Dissident Writer in Modern America

NEAR THE END OF NYRB Classics’ new assemblage of Renata Adler’s nonfiction, in an essay entitled “Irreparable Harm,” Adler writes, Not infrequently, an event so radical that it alters everyth...

Crowdsourcing Humiliation

Crowdsourcing Humiliation

BRITISH JOURNALIST Jon Ronson crafts narratives from investigations into the lives of marginalized people: Islamic fundamentalists, artists fueled by prescription pills, conspiracy theorists. Well kno...

What Is New About the New American University?

What Is New About the New American University?

THIS BOOK ARRIVES blurbed by the national heavyweight politicians Bill Clinton and Jeb Bush, a similarly bipartisan list of university presidents, and a prominent scholar of higher education, Jonathan...

Sven Birkerts Interviews Sven Birkerts

Sven Birkerts Interviews Sven Birkerts

SVEN BIRKERTS: Why did you decide to write about Bellow’s essays in the form of a self-interview? Isn’t that displacing the focus just a bit? SVEN BIRKERTS: Maybe so, yes. But the idea came to me...

Pro: Abortion Is a Social Good

Pro: Abortion Is a Social Good

The following is a feature article from the most recent edition of the LARB Quarterly Journal: Winter 2015. To pick up your copy of the Journal, become a member of the Los Angeles Review of Books ...

Upbringing Is All

Upbringing Is All

FOR THE PERCEPTIVE critic, essayist, and one-time novelist Daphne Merkin, it’s all about upbringing. She believes, for instance, that a woman often develops her flirting technique from the way she e...

Pre-Code Hollywood Confidential

Pre-Code Hollywood Confidential

ON A CHILLY Los Angeles morning in February, 1922, reputable film director and head of the Motion Pictures Directors Association William Desmond Taylor was found shot to death in his chic Westlake bun...