A woman on a conference call in front of a bookcase

The Timeless Art of the Bookcase Flex

Flaunting a massive collection of books did not start with work-from-home videoconferences.
Illustration of a woman walking with a book

The Library That Walked Across Belgium

What two scholar-artists learned from taking ninety books on a very, very long walk.
A few BabySitters Club Books

Do Series Books Turn Kids Off Adult-Approved Novels?

Goosebumps. The Baby-Sitters Club. Even Nancy Drew. In the 1990s, concerned educators wondered if series books were luring kids away from "literature."
Children playing ring around the rosie

The Linguistics of Cooties (and Other Weird Things Kids Say)

The game of cooties lets children learn about the idea of contagion, but kid culture and wordplay aren't meant for adults.
John Brown

America, Lost and Found at Wounded Knee

Stephen Vincent Benét’s lost epic “John Brown’s Body” envisions a nation sutured together after the Civil War, but fails to reckon with the war’s causes.
Irving Browne, Iconoclasm and Whitewash. New York, 1886. Illustrated by the author. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

“Grangerization” Made Beautiful Books Even Better

But the eighteenth-century readerly hobby angered critics, who saw it as a “monstrous practice.”
Robert Hayden

Robert Hayden’s Relatable Fatigue

There’s a constant attention to the burdens of history in Robert Hayden’s poems. Even amid the beauties of life, the ghosts of the past linger.
The front and back cover of an edition of Miss MacIntosh, My Darling by Marguerite Young

Sick of Streaming? Try This Really Long Cult Novel

Marguerite Young's Miss MacIntosh, My Darling is a dense fusion of poetry and prose. One critic says it's unjustifiably forgotten.

Everyday Life, Revisited—with Bernadette Mayer’s Memory

In the poet’s work, the small and ordinary rise to the level of heroic adventures. If we value human life, then we should value what makes up a life.
A depiction of cholera by Robert Seymour

Disease Theory in Mary Shelley’s The Last Man

Shelley's third novel, about the sole survivor of a global plague, draws on the now-outdated miasma theory of disease.