Ancient Amazingness

This week’s Brieflier Noted included “The Golden Mean,” by Annabel Lyon, which sort of sounds like my wet dream in heaven as overseen by Santa Claus: This vivid imagining of the encounter between Aristotle and the young Alexander the Great casts the philosopher as a manic-depressive, veering “from black melancholy to golden joy.” Right?! Tweet

Deep Travel

Think of that feeling you have when you’re on a truly great vacation: your stress levels drop, trivial concerns reveal themselves to be just that, and you feel—you know—that life’s purpose is deeper and simpler than what you’d believed before (side note: this happens to me every time I go to New Orleans). Now think […]

Truth and Dare

This week’s Brieflier Noted included “By Nightfall,” by Michael Cunningham; “The Killer of Little Shepherds,” by Douglas Starr; “Foreign Bodies,” by Cynthia Ozick; and “How to Live,” by Sarah Bakewell. The selection from the “By Nightfall” review intrigued me: “Cunningham’s latest novel seems almost like a dare: can Auguste Rodin, Daisy Buchanan, Damien Hirst, Gustav […]


Last week, Transparency International—an organization that aims to raise awareness of governmental abuses for private gain, including bribery, kickbacks, and embezzlement —released its 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index, a measurement of public-sector corruption in a hundred and seventy-eight countries worldwide. Read more at… Tweet

Guggenheim Mashup

This summer, just when it seemed that the art world was suffering from biennial overload, the Guggenheim Museum and YouTube announced a fresh approach. Their joint venture, “YouTube Play: A Biennial of Creative Video” set out “to attract innovative, original, and surprising videos from around the world, regardless of genre, technique, background, or budget,” and […]

Feminism and the 2010 Midterm Elections

What do yesterday’s election results mean for women? This is the question I asked Rebecca Traister, a senior writer at Salon, whose book on the 2008 election, “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” is reviewed this week in The New Yorker. In her book, Traister focuses on the anti-Hillary Clinton sentiment that polarized the Democratic party, as […]

Brieflier Noted

Kicked off a new section on the Book Bench today: Brieflier Noted, which features a sentence–maybe even two! Crazy!–from each Briefly Noted book review in the magazine. I plan to do this every Tuesday. This week’s issue includes reviews on “The Convent,” by Panos Karnezi; “C,” by Tom McCarthy; “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” by Rebecca […]