Arts and Culture

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

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

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

Environmentalist Jennifer Jacquet recommends "Last Chance to See" by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine.More

Piles and piles of books

With her decision to step down as the chief book critic for the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani sent the book world reeling. In this piece from our archive, authors reflect on the impact of the NYT's' infamous head book critic.More

The thoroughly domesticated dog

Merrill Markoe loves dogs. She’s written two novels and many comic essays about our furry friends. Doug Gordon sat down to talk with her about how dogs became our besties.  More

revolutionary soldier

In the final volume of Laurie Halse Anderson's “Seeds of America” trilogy, white colonists everywhere can be heard talking about liberty and freedom – just not for African Americans. More

soldiers return home

For some veterans, coming home from war can often be a struggle. In his book "Tribe," journalist Sebastian Junger offers a nuanced and thought provoking take on why it’s so difficult and complicated for some returning veterans. More

Books and a figure

There’s a theory that reading fiction helps us learn to understand other people — and in the process, become kinder, better, more empathetic ourselves. Joshua Landy says fiction can help us be kinder and more empathetic. More

reading a story

Can a better life story make you happier? Psychologist Tim Wilson thinks so, and he describes a technique he calls "story-editing" to create a more hopeful and meaningful life narrative.More

Patti Smith

Legendary poet and singer Patti Smith has two selves. On stage, she revels in collaborating with the people around her and creating a memorable performance. But she reveals a very different self in her memoir "M Train." More

Fire man

TTBOOK producer Charles Monroe-Kane is a great storyteller who's led an adventurous life. Here's a wild story from his memoir "Lithium Jesus" about smuggling mob money when he lived in Prague in the 1990s.More

Pages