In the future, genius machines will guide and improve our lives, and wages for those not in the top 10 percent will stagnate—or so predicts Tyler Cowen in his new book. Robert Herritt on a lively and worryingly prophetic read.
Tyler Cowen has done a good job of defying easy characterization. He is, among other things, an economist, an online-education entrepreneur, a celebrated blogger, a former chess prodigy, and perhaps the Washington, D.C., metro area’s leading authority on the local ethnic dining scene. If one had to describe his intellectual predilections in a word, it would have to be “omnivorous.” All of which makes him especially well suited to write a book like his latest, Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation.
From a National Book Award winner’s raw yet elegant memoir to an architect of the modern Internet who died during the 9/11 attacks.
Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward. A string of tragic deaths leads the author to reexamine her roots. Ward won the National Book Award in 2011 for her novel Salvage the Bones, set in her native rural Mississippi in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina. This time around, she turns her eye back on her own life in that region’s depressed economy and untamed landscape, and to the African-American community there struggling to transcend the conditions both historical and contemporary that hold them back.
The National Book Awards longlist for young people’s literature features a number of previous finalists and Newbery Medal winners and honorees, comprising works that deal with magic, ecology, sexuality, ritual sacrifice, and even Chinese history.
The National Book Foundation announced Monday the National Book Awards 2013 longlist for young people’s literature, which includes a number of Newbery Medal winners and honorees. The 10 nominees range from books filled with wizards and dark magic to works that deal with changing societal views on teenage love.The National Book Awards is running longlists for its four categories for the first time in the prize’s history, and they are being announced exclusively on The Daily Beast this week.
In his latest novel, Nicholson Baker’s trademark wit, riffs, and meditations are there in the life of Paul Chowder. Ken Tucker on what it all adds up to.
From Nicholson Baker, we expect the world. While many contemporary novelists are conversant in pop culture and the current state of baby boomer ennui, few are as attuned as Baker is to those subjects and more: to politics, religion, poetry, food, music, and nature. And so, in Traveling Sprinkler, we get typically thoughtful, often humorous, never snarky or ironic meditations on National Public Radio, Talking Heads, drone strikes, Theodore Dreiser, Quaker worship meetings, blackstrap molasses, Planet Fitness, The Philadelphia Story, Stravinsky, and Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”: “you can hear that Marvin Gaye knew that this song, cowritten with an admiring journalist, was going to be an enormous hit, bigger than anything he’d done, even though his life was sliding downhill.
After over a decade of war, most Americans are disconnected from the military because it’s all volunteers and contractors. Veteran Phil Klay reads Andrew Bacevich’s important polemic on how we lost touch with our soldiers—and how that harms the country.
In 2011, President Obama declared that the U.S. soldiers leaving Iraq were doing so “with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops.” What, precisely, did that mean? Certainly, when I’d left Iraq back in 2008 I’d been proud of my service, but whether we’d been successful or not was still an open question. The war was ongoing, and the definition for “success” seemed to keep shifting.
In some families, parents rule with an iron fist. But Leah Hager Cohen says it can be helpful to admit to your kids that you may not always have the answer.
“Where’s my test?” It’s during the usual Monday morning scramble before school. My son hovers before me, restive, frazzled.“What test?” “Math. I gave it you. I have to bring it back today, signed.”“I don’t think you ever gave it to me, honey.”“I did.”I begin rummaging through papers. “I don’t have a memory of seeing it.”“I’m positive.”I send him to finish breakfast while I search. Finally, it turns up. In his backpack. Tucked inside the folder where it has been all weekend.
Amanda Lindhout talks about her new book, ‘A House in the Sky,’ and her 460 days of captivity at the hands of Somali militants.
In 2008, a 27-year-old Canadian freelancer named Amanda Lindhout and her Aussie photog ex-boyfriend, Nigel Brennan, crossed into Somalia seeking stories from the frontlines of the world's most war-torn and desolate failed state. En route to visit a camp for displaced people, the two were kidnapped by Islamic fundamentalists—a case, it turned out, of mistaken identity, and one that led to a nightmarish 460 days in captivity for the pair as their captors sought to ransom them for millions.
Eileen Rockefeller, great-granddaughter of the founder of Standard Oil, tells Sandra McElwaine the story she didn’t want to tell: her struggle to find her identity, her mother’s psychological problems, and how the clan is getting on now.
Eileen Rockefeller is the first woman in her family to write a memoir about her world-famous clan. In Being a Rockefeller, Becoming Myself, she has produced a surprisingly candid and insightful account of an emotionally wounded girl, the youngest of six highly competitive and disinterested siblings, who lived in lavish homes with two glamorous, preoccupied, and distant parents.Throughout the story she deals with her deep sense of isolation and her search for recognition and self-worth beyond her wealth and iconic name.
Previously had been reserved for British Commonwealth.
Technically, U.S. was once part of the British empire, right? So this isn’t too much of a stretch? The British Man Booker Prize announced on Saturday that the 2014 prize would include American authors, a first for the 44-year-old prize. The prize previously had been awarded to works written in English from the one of the 54 countries in the British Commonwealth. “The organizers believe that excluding writers from America is anachronistic,” writes the Sunday Times. The winner of the Man Booker Prize receives a cash award, but more importantly, the prestige. Previous winners include Hilary Mantel, Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie, and Kazuo Ishiguro.
Why did it take 40 years to bring the perpetrators of the Birmingham church bombing to justice? Was is it because the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover stood in the way? Historian Gary May looks back to the horrific attack 50 years ago and presents the evidence.
On Wednesday, September 11th, the nation paused to remember the worst terrorist attack the country ever sustained. But the week also brings another anniversary, that of the worst crime in the history of the Civil Rights Movement whose aftermath was equally disturbing. While it took the United States a decade to execute Osama Bin-Laden, it took almost forty years to convict those responsible for this crime of domestic terrorism. Who was responsible for that long delay? The answer may be J.
From the creepy feeder school for a secretive evangelical power network to why Millennials will turn American politics back to the left, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.
"Ditto Boys" by Jeff Sharlet, Killing the Buddha. Inside a feeder school for The Family, a secretive global network of evangelical power players. "How Chris McCandless Died" by Jon Krakauer, The New Yorker. The author of Into the Wild review new evidence that appears to close the case on how the subject of his bestselling book died in the wilderness. "Hiding in Virginia, a Daughter of Auschwitz" by Thomas Harding, The Washington Post.
The publication of ‘Ulysses’ and ‘The Waste Land’ in 1922 exploded traditional conventions, but how did it happen? Mark Braude looks back at a time when looking back was a faux pas.
HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME—T.S Eliot, The Waste Land.“Genius.” I remember, in my first year of university, an English professor passing me in the hallway and saying the word as he nodded gravely at my uncreased copy of Ulysses. Then he walked on, presumably off to go make lengthier proclamations in front of larger but no less impressionable audiences.He was just being enthusiastic, and rightly so, but he managed with that brief assessment to ruin a great book for me for more than a decade.
One man has fought for years to try to right one of America’s least forgivable wrongs in the Iraq War: our abandonment of tens of thousands of Iraqis who helped us. Kirk Johnson speaks to John Kael Weston about his book and why the fight goes on.
I first met Kirk Johnson mid-2005 in Fallujah. A former Fulbright Scholar in Egypt and fluent in Arabic, he served as the USAID representative, helping oversee projects to rebuild the city, which was the site of the biggest street-to-street battle of the Iraq war. Marine-led American troops leveled half of Fallujah in an effort clear insurgents and al Qaeda-linked terrorists. The massive assault began in November 2004 just after President George W.
We are what we eat—or dream of eating, in the case of Anya von Bremzen’s attempt to reclaim her motherland, Soviet Russia, through food. Liesl Schillinger is so inspired by her book that she’s going to try fish-in-aspic, again.
One of the most misleading phrases in the Russian language is “Ochen’ vkusno!” which is invariably said any time you sit down to a meal in Russia that a hostess has gone to some effort to prepare. It means “very tasty;” and it simply never is—that is, not to those unaccustomed to the flavors of the Slavic palate. Reading Anya von Bremzen’s one-of-a-kind culinary and sociopolitical memoir, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking, a nostalgically anti-nostalgic tribute to 20th century life and food in the land once known as the Soviet Union, I thought of that gustatory paradox.
‘Media Beast’ to be published in 2016.
What’s next for Tina Brown? Now you have your answer. The editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast, who is stepping down in January, will write a memoir of her years at the top of the world of magazine journalism. Media Beast will be published in early 2016 by Metropolitan Books, an imprint of Henry Holt and Company, whose president, Stephen Rubin, published Brown’s best-selling The Diana Chronicles in 2007. Brown will tell the story of how she became the editor of Tatler magazine at age 25, and unveil the vivid diary she kept in the ’80s and ’90s, when she took over the editorship of the struggling Vanity Fair at age 31, bringing into prominence such writers and photographers as Dominick Dunne, Annie Leibovitz, and Helmut Newton. She will also reveal how she revived the legendary New Yorker magazine in 1992 with the likes of David Remnick, Lawrence Wright, Malcolm Gladwell, Jane Meyer, Richard Avedon, and Art Spiegelman, before launching the controversial Talk magazine, founding The Daily Beast, creating the Women in the World Summit, as well as taking over Newsweek magazine. “In the last five years of editing, I’ve missed writing enormously,” Brown said. “Now is the time and Metropolitan/Holt is the publisher to get down on paper, at last, my journey through the incredibly changing landscape of media in the last 25 years.”
‘Harry Potter’ author J.K. Rowling has signed on for a series of new films based on her famous world of wizards. Nico Hines on what fans can expect.
It didn’t take Warner Bros. long to persuade the creator of their multibillion-dollar Harry Potter empire to come out of her spell-casting retirement. J.K. Rowling has signed on with the studio for a series of movies based on the wizarding world of Hogwarts, Azkaban, and Diagon Alley, just two years after the release of the final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. The new films will be set in the same fantasy realm occupied by Harry, Ron, and Hermione, but the action will take place 70 years before they were welcomed into Gryffindor.
Based on fictional Hogwarts textbook.
You didn't think Harry Potter was over, did you? Warner Bros. announced Thursday that J.K. Rowling will be the screenwriter for a new series of Potter-themed movies based on the Hogwarts textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which will be the title of the first film. The new series will tell the story of the book's fictional author, Newt Scamander. Rowling warned that the new movies will not be "sequels" to Harry Potter; in fact, Newt Scamander's story "will start in New York, 70 years before Harry's gets underway." Rowling said Warner Bros. approached her with the idea, and she couldn't bear the thought of the movie being written by someone else.
One of England’s most famous potters—and the author of the surprise bestseller The Hare with Amber Eyes—makes his American debut today at Gagosian Gallery. He talks to Iain Millar about the writing and potting life—and his next book on the color white.
“Being trapped by genre is pathetic,” says Edmund de Waal. Given what he’s done, it’s hard to take issue. His book The Hare with the Amber Eyes, a record of the travels of a collection of tiny Japanese Netsuke carvings in the hands of family members, enduring fortune and folly across Europe and Japan over three centuries, sold by the truckload and won a shelf of awards. By then he had confirmed his position as one of the leading ceramic artists of his generation, exhibiting at the best museums and selling to the pickiest collectors.
As the 2012 Obama reelection campaign geared up, there was open warfare with two of his closest aides, David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs. An inside look at the messy drama at the heart of the campaign in an exclusive excerpt from Richard Wolffe’s ‘The Message.’
The press liked to call their style No Drama Obama. It was a nice turn of phrase that matched the mood of the candidate in 2008. But that all changed with the reelection. The personal tensions started earlier and rapidly worsened. They fought in private and in the open. There was plenty of simmering, and often a high boil. The team of rivals rarely achieved a spirit of cooperation and seemed more inclined to bitter, dogged rivalries. There was a new actor in the campaign drama: Jim Messina.
The legendary singer, who died 10 years ago today, was never shy about political stands, but he avoided the hyperbole and polarization we have today. Michael Stewart Foley, the author of the new book 'Front Porch Politics: The Forgotten Heyday of American Activism in the 1970s and 1980s,' on what Americans can learn from the man in black.
Although Johnny Cash passed away 10 years ago this week, on September 12, 2003, the Man in Black and his music remain as popular as ever. The Johnny Cash legend that has been sold to the public since his passing—in numerous box sets, “bootleg” releases, new biographies, and the film Walk the Line—is one that portrays him as someone who, despite his own contradictions, brought Americans together.Cash, we are told, appealed to people from all walks of life, all backgrounds and beliefs.
Fourth Installment of “Millennium’ Trilogy on the Way
Stieg Larsson’s series to continue with new author. More
Report: Cohen to Write Ephron Bio
They were longtime friends.More
CHILL YOUR BONES
CBS Buys ‘Scary Stories’ Film
1980s children’s horror books.More
Oldest U.S. Book Sells for $14.1M
Printed in 1640.More
National Book Award Winners Announced
The Good Lord Bird takes fiction prize. More
STRIKE A POSE
Selfie Is Word of the Year
Beat out twerk, bitcoin.More