Reads

The English debut of Roberto Bolaño’s The Third Reich is a major literary event, despite the book’s restrained ambitions. Because the author’s posthumous fame shows no sign of abating, this disconcerting tale is bound to reach a much larger audience than the specialized nature of its subject matter would otherwise suggest. And deservedly so, for it provides ample evidence of Bolaño’s brilliance. (More…)

Neukölln’s public spaces are full of bilingual signage. This one says several things, including “Grilling is forbidden,” in both Turkish and German. A common sight during the summer, Turkish families can frequently be found grilling meats in Berlin’s municipal parks. (More…)

As the dust settles on America’s exit from Iraq, speculation over the possibility of the next Mideast war has resumed. The recent death of an Iranian scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, has fuelled concerns. Especially given that Tehran knows who is to blame. Predictions that it may close the Strait of Hormuz, provoking a US response, have been making the rounds. (More…)

Rats, crocodiles and Wile E. Coyote have been much on my mind lately.

I’m going to Kenya tomorrow. The guidebook warns against swimming in inland waters, infested as they are with crocs and bilharzia. But that’s not what brings these thoughts to mind. While on the subject, my daughter’s too young to appreciate Chuck Jones. And rodents have left my larder alone for a few years now. (More…)

We live in the Age of Restraint. Oh, it may not seem that way. Humans still reproduce at bacterial, rather than primate, rates. And as this weird new kind of “bacterium” grows, unlike any bacterial species, each member consumes more: humans are getting richer all the time (and I don’t just mean the 1%.) (More…)

When newspapers first disclosed that one percent of the US population was imprisoned or on probation, credible reports allege that prosecutors at Maricopa County Attorney’s office celebrated with cheers and calls to “Go for two percent!”  That is what team spirit looks like in this age of mass incarceration. (More…)

When I look back on the material Souciant has published since its March debut, I am awed by its diversity. Considering that we generally restrict ourselves to five pieces per week, it’s remarkable to be doing so many things well. Pride doesn’t come easy for me. But I am deeply honored to be part of a project that values freedom — of subject matter, of style, of sensibility — above policy. (More…)

A year can be an eternity. Especially if you measure time by the speed of news publishing. Old enough to have written for print periodicals, but young enough to have begun my journalistic career online, I remain astonished by the amount of media that can be produced in a week, let alone a month, or a year. (More…)

When The Coming Insurrection was first made public, it read to me like wishful thinking. Although rooted in Europe’s struggle to cope with the realities of multiculturalism, the uprisings that inspired the book seemed uniquely French. How could they be the model for an international movement? (More…)

On November 4th, Harriet, the Poetry Foundation’s blog, published a photo of Cindy Crawford reading Uncreative Writing, Kenneth Goldsmith’s new essay collection. There’s no attempt to explain why a former supermodel and current home furnishings magnate would spend her time reading a book of essays about avant-garde poetics (More…)

For the last decade, I’ve taught courses in critical thinking at a US college. When I first interviewed for the job, I was asked why I thought I was the best candidate. I responded that the answer was in the syllabi I’d used over the years. I’ve always made every effort to tell students to question things, irrespective of the topic in question. (More…)

It’s too easy to lose sight of what occupation means for Palestinians. It’s especially easy when we focus on the splashier, violent atrocities, to forget that military occupation is, above all else, a permanent state of being. Even those whose days are “uneventful” for local reporters, are still living under a terrible burden. (More…)