Scribbles from Italy: Intelligence

By Vian Andrews | Mar 24, 2023

Vian Andrews is out in the olive orchards, clearing brush from under the trees and thinking about ChatGPT and the future of artificial and other kinds of intelligence. The latest passage from Andrews’ journal about life in the Umbrian countryside, “Scribbles from Italy.”

Reality Hunger: A Manifesto / b / mimesis

By David Shields | Mar 24, 2023

A tour through the history of writing. From David Shields’ 2010 manifesto, “Reality Hunger.” Time for a second look.

The Sussex Variations, or Two Boars (Ch. 4): Concentration, and Testicles

By Brian Fawcett | Mar 19, 2023

Brian Fawcett learns about the gory details of life on the farm. Ch. 4 of “The Sussex Variations.”

From the Archives: 20 Years Ago, in 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq. Here’s what Dooney’s said about the imperial “punitive expedition.”

From the Archives: Twenty years ago, the U.S. invaded Iraq. Here’s what Dooney’s said two decades ago about the American imperial “punitive expedition,” as it rolled across Iraq.


The Sussex Variations, or Two Boars (Ch. 3): Females and Males

Brian Fawcett learns about males and females, both human and porcine, on a pig farm in Sussex, England in the early 1960s.


Scribbles from Italy: The Thing About Sex; Standards of Measurement; Simplifications; No Oil…

Vian Andrews hiking and thinking in the Umbrian countryside, amid olive groves in the rain and “sentieri” paths between mountain hamlets.


The Show Goes On: Nik Sheehan reviews the 2023 Best Picture Oscar Nominees

Filmmaker and critic Nik Sheehan takes a last-minute tour of the Oscars before the show goes on.


Women I Read: International Women’s Day

An International Women’s Day game: who would be on your list? One way to mark IWD: thinking about the women writers we read.


The Sussex Variations, or Two Boars (Ch. 2): Stress, Distress, and the Sussex Downs

Brian Fawcett’s “Sussex Variations, or Two Boars,” Ch. 2. People feel distress. So do pigs. Living and learning on an English farm.


After the Asshole Apocalypse

From the Archives: How to keep thinking and acting during and after the Apocalypse. Daniel Gawthrop has some practical suggestions.


The Sussex Variations, or Two Boars (Ch. 1): Luck, Generosity and the Rules

Brian Fawcett, age 18, from northern British Columbia, arrives at his uncle’s and aunt’s pig farm in Sussex, England, and comes-of-age as two 400-pound boars charge into battle.


What We're Reading:

Andrea Wulf, The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World (2015)

A biography of one of the most remarkable figures of the 19th century. Alexander von Humboldt -- naturalist, explorer, anthropologist and intellectual -- reshaped our concept of "nature" in the jungles of South America. A friend of Goethe, Simon Bolivar, and Thomas Jefferson, his work influenced contempories, and affected environmental thought for the next two centuries.

Peter Marsh, And Finally: Matters of Life and Death (2022)

A recently retired London brain surgeon receives a diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer. After decades of seeing life and death from a doctor's perspective, Peter Marsh is now looking at final things as a patient. He's as scared as the rest of us, but not scared to death -- and, in semi-remission, he's still here to tell the tale.

Tom Crewe, The New Life: A Novel (2023)

Crewe, a London Review of Books editor, has generated lots of buzz with his debut novel, a gay historical fiction about John Addington Symonds and Havelock Ellis, two pioneer thinkers who co-authored a book about same-sex sex. Set in 1890s London during the Oscar Wilde scandal, New Life is a look at several unconventional Victorian families.

Bernie Sanders, It's OK to Be Angry About Capitalism (2023)

The socialist senator from Vermont lays out the latest version of his program for healing America of the injustices that afflict it. The gravelly-voiced, 81-year-old Sanders is still rolling up his sleeves and ready to offer some commonsense in the midst of the civic brawl.

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Booker Prize Project

Jean Baird's year-by-year analysis of the Booker prizes is here.

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