Arts and Culture

hall of mirrors

The central question of Philip K. Dick's fiction is "What is reality?" Literary critic Umberto Rossi explains that Dick's work often contains many possible realities.More

Chuck Klosterman

When you talk about people's personalities, he says, there's not many things more interesting than what they really want and can't get.More

Flowering headphones

NPR music critic Ann Powers reflects on how Americans have used music to talk around their awkward feelings related to sex and race.More

 "The Film Criticism of Otis Ferguson."

New York Times film critic A.O. Scott recommends the collected writings of film critic Otis Ferguson, a pioneer of the language of film criticism and advocate for all the types of labor that go into filmmaking.More

A hipster cat poses for a hipster photo opp.

Every generation has critics who truly capture the cultural moment they’re living in. Today's may be Mark Greif, who has written memorably about the tyranny of food snobbery, the rise and fall of the hipster, and his own inability to love hip hop.More

"Stories I Tell Myself" book cover

Juan Thompson was 41 when his father committed suicide. But for him, the grieving process had an extra layer of complication, because his dad was the acclaimed writer and gonzo journalist, Hunter S. Thompson.More

dogtags

Revenge is a major theme in Elliot Ackerman’s debut novel “Green on Blue.” The novel is told from the point-of-view of an Afghan boy named Aziz who’s seeking to avenge his brother Ali.More

Jazz sax

Steve Paulson sat down with Bishop King, founder of the Church of St. John Coltrane, and with Ashley Kahn, author of “A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane’s Signature Album” to dig a little deeper.More

Still from  "The Glass Castle"

It's a rite of passage to find our parents embarrassing, particularly as we start to carve out distinct identities in those early years away from home. For Jeannette Walls, the moment was a bit more extreme. More

New York

Garth Risk Hallberg's "City on Fire" is a sweeping 900-page story about New York City in the mid-1970s, chronicling everything from the punk music scene to the rise of Wall Street's runaway hedge funds. Hallberg says he's fascinated by the idea of creative destruction.More

A light in the dark (from a phone)

Filmmaker Astra Taylor wants to reclaim the democratic potential of personal technology.More

Magic Kingdom

John Jeremiah Sullivan reads an abridged version of his essay, "You Blow My Mind. Hey, Mickey!" about getting high at Disney World.More

Walt Disney

Cultural anthropologist Scott A. Lukas describes the history and cultural significance of theme parks such as Disney World.More

Fire eating

For decades, Todd Robbins has been entertaining audiences with his sideshow act, first at Coney Island and later with several off-Broadway shows. He demonstrated a few tricks of his trade.More

against nature

How do you go from producing riveting stories about real people for "This American Life" to writing surreal short stories? Diane Cook is the person to ask.More

boats

Novelist and short story writer Ben Marcus is a novelist and short story writer talks about how the addictive quality of language is a big part of what makes short stories so powerful.More

You see an ad that promises the comforts of a nice suburban home, along with a full-time job. There's just one catch — you only spend half your time there; you spend the other half living in a prison cell. That's the premise behind Margaret Atwood's novel, "The Heart Goes Last," a blend of dystopia and social satire.More

You've probably seen Jesse Eisenberg in films like "The Social Network," "The Squid and the Whale" and "The End of the Tour." But have you read his fiction debut?More

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