The One: The Life and Music of James Brown: by R.J. Smith
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The One: The Life and Music of James Brown: by R.J. Smith

While it’s only been five years since his death, reading about James Brown today feels almost like studying Greek mythology. As influential as he was infamous, Brown is…

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The Vanishers: by Heidi Julavits
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The Vanishers: by Heidi Julavits

Give Heidi Julavits credit for swagger. In The Vanishers, she walks right up to the endless trend of paranormal/fantasy/genre saturation in fiction, and then promptly turns around and…

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Silver Sparrow: by Tayari Jones
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Silver Sparrow: by Tayari Jones

For children, sharing the same toy can be a struggle. The boundary between “mine” and “yours” is programmed at an early age, and the concept of unfairness can…

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The Flame Alphabet: by Ben Marcus
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The Flame Alphabet: by Ben Marcus

Language can be weaponized even under the most banal of circumstances. Like any other manmade tool, language is neutral in itself, but when wielded by humans it can…

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Arguably: by Christopher Hitchens
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Arguably: by Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens may have been intelligent, but as a writer he had the gift to make his readers smarter. Though cocksure and quite often smarmy with his opinions,…

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Root For the Villain – Rap, Bullshit and a Celebration of Failure: by J-Zone
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Root For the Villain – Rap, Bullshit and a Celebration of Failure: by J-Zone

The music autobiography is often one of embellished claims of debauchery and inflated egos. While they can make for interesting first-hand accounts of important cultural movements or introspective…

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Fresh at Twenty: The Oral History of Mint Records, 1991-2011: by Kaitlin Fontana
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Fresh at Twenty: The Oral History of Mint Records, 1991-2011: by Kaitlin Fontana

Oral histories can be notoriously unreliable: they’re entirely at the mercy of its contributors’ sometimes faulty memories, tendencies to whitewash certain events while mythologizing others and petty desires…

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The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood: by James Gleick
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The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood: by James Gleick

Journalist and science writer James Gleick’s The Information takes many shapes, much like its slippery subject. It’s in parts a biography of symbolic logic, a history of the…

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The Marriage Plot: by Jeffrey Eugenides
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The Marriage Plot: by Jeffrey Eugenides

In our post-modern, post-structuralist, post-feminist, post-damn-near-everything era, is the concept of “love” antiquated, an artifact from a time when people spoke in totalizing terms about truth and human…

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Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War: by Tony Horwitz
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Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War: by Tony Horwitz

In the span of a few years between 1856 and 1859, the abolitionist John Brown led a raid that left five pro-slavery men dead in Pottawattamie, Kansas, staged…

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