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Newsletters | The Atlantic
Newsletters | The Atlantic
The Books Briefing: Gender Equality Is Valuable but Vague
Every year on March 8, International Women’s Day promotes gender equality—a term that leaves room for many interpretations, some of them contradictory. For example, the historian Paula J. Giddings describes how America’s early feminist organizations excluded women of color, including the journalist and activist Ida B. Wells, who worked for suffrage and black civil rights. Today, attitudes about what constitutes female empowerment are sometimes split along generational lines, a conflict dramatized in Meg Wolitzer’s most recent novel.The journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman attribute gender disparities in pay and power in part to a widespread sense of self-doubt among women. The lawyer and writer Jill Filipovic argues that assessments of gender equality must include not only economic conditions, but also individuals’ experience of fulfillment. Meanwhile, the scholars Patricia Bell-Scott, Akasha Hull, and Barbara Smith call for equality in school curricula, so that girls can grow up learning about women’s achievements—and preparing to accomplish their own. Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re ReadingThe feminist case for happiness“There’s a subtle radicalism to [Jill] Filipovic’s vision of politicized pleasure … She’s proposing a thorough remodeling of the house that white men built.”
2020-03-06 17:30:00
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theatlantic.com
Books Briefing: The Uncut History of Black Life
The scholar Carter G. Woodson, who’s known as “the father of black history” and the creator of what would become Black History Month, dedicated his life’s work topromotingthe study of black people and their accomplishments. In his seminal book The Mis-Education of the Negro, Woodson makes the argument that African Americans have to learn about their history in order to help heal their inherited trauma.The visual artist Lorna Simpson’s work approaches black identity with an eye toward archival history and everyday life, such as inher collages that showcase the dynamism of black women’s hair. Kiley Reid captures a modern dilemma in her novel about a young black woman whose part-time babysitting gig turns awkward due to her white employer’s attempts to impress her with “wokeness.”Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” written in 1963while he was being detained for leading a protest, is as relevant as ever when reflecting on black history and racial politics. The same is true of a poem Nikki Giovanni wrote after King was assassinated, imagining how black people could respond to such an overwhelming loss.​ Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re Reading‘Letter From Birmingham Jail’“[This] eloquent call for ‘constructive, nonviolent tension’ to force an end to unjust laws became a landmark document of the civil-rights movement.”
2020-02-28 17:30:00
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theatlantic.com
The Books Briefing: A Study in Sleuthing
Many thrillers trace a strange or catastrophic event back to its surprising source. But what catalysts lead to those stories being written in the first place? Walter Mosley’s mystery-writing career was set off by a single simile from an older giant of the genre. Celeste Ng’s haunting novels draw unexpected lessons from the surreal, unexplained illustrations of Goodnight Moon. Charles Willeford’s quartet of novels starring a Miami detective prompted many other tales about the city’s underworld—even though Willeford’s sleuth doesn’t technically do much investigating.A story by Edgar Allan Poe is the historical prototype for a modern true-crime wave that revisits classic themes with heightened complexity. And a new generation of female suspense novelists is reinvigorating a genre once dominated by male authors and characters.​ Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re ReadingWomen are writing the best crime novels“The female writers … don’t much believe in heroes, which makes their kind of storytelling perhaps a better fit for these cynical times. Their books are light on gunplay, heavy on emotional violence … Death, in these women’s books, is often chillingly casual, and unnervingly intimate.”
2020-02-21 17:30:00
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theatlantic.com
Books Briefing: Giving Romance a Language
The sweet little messages on Valentine’s Day candies and cards simplify romance in a pleasant, cheerful way. But the many nuances of affection are difficult to put into words.Patrick Hamilton’s novels highlight the messiness of relationships,exploring all the ways love can be troublesome when it’s mismatched. The author André Aciman’s Find Me catches up with the central lovers of his celebrated novel Call Me by Your Name after they’ve moved on from their years-ago fling. They still pine for each other, revisiting circumstances in which feelings seem impossible to articulate.The young protagonists in Mary H. K. Choi’s Emergency Contact meet during one character’s panic attack and cultivate a romance through text messages, theirintimacy defined by the digital world.In her bookAn Exclusive Love,which chronicles her grandparents’ choice to die together rather than risking one having to live without the other,Johanna Adorján attempts to plainly narrate this complexevent—even incorporating police reports about it—while also imagining dialogue to create a portrait of the couple.Maggie Nelson’s Bluets breaks free of traditional narratives, telling the story of an affair by weaving together allegorical lyric essays about the color blue.​ Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re ReadingAn exploration of desire“In the decade since its publication, Call Me by Your Name has grown from an object of niche devotion to one of mainstream interest, in great part because [André] Aciman chose to give Elio and Oliver what they wanted: each other.”
2020-02-14 17:30:00
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theatlantic.com
The Books Briefing: The Act of Writing Is an Oscar-Worthy Performance
“You never really understand a person … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it,” Atticus Finch famously tells his daughter Scout in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. When actors take a practical approach to this empathetic challenge, their interpretations can yield new insights into a classic character—as the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and the actor Ed Harris found when translating Atticus himself to a Broadway play.The act of assuming a new perspective or embodying a different role isn’t limited to the theater or screen. Novels by Zadie Smith and Roxane Gay illustrate the many different identities people perform in different contexts, while the science writer Jennifer Ouellette describes how one’s own sense of self can be reinforced by external props such as clothes and keychains.And for the authors Molly Antopol and Cutter Wood, writing itself is a kind of performance—the imaginative and compassionate feat of fully inhabiting the character on the page. Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re ReadingFor Molly Antopol, writing can feel like method acting“I feel like I’m able to access much deeper truths about my own life by exploring what I know from different angles, through the lens of character. Writing across boundaries—of gender, of generation, of country—helps me locate what I don’t know in what I know, and try to bring it out onto the page.”
2020-02-07 17:30:00
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theatlantic.com
The Books Briefing: The Artists Who Melodize Our Lives
Musicians are often able to wield language and sound in ways that transcend what can be communicated in writing. These unique sensibilities make the artists compelling and challenging biographical subjects.Many biographers have written about the enigmatic trumpeter Miles Davis, but it is Davis’s own autobiography (written with Quincy Troupe) thatis best able to describe the inspiration for his inventive jazz. Robin D. G. Kelley’s biography of the eccentric pianist Thelonious Monk tries to disentangle the jazzman’s odd persona from his distinctive music—considering each on itsown terms, and acknowledging his mental health.The singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell was bewildering to audiences, according to her biographer David Yaffe. Her sage aura and overall elusiveness amplified the poetic lyrics of her songs, earning her wide attention. Debbie Harry, the lead singer of Blondie, gained icon status by embracing the spotlight, but took care to maintain control of her own image, as she writes in her memoir, Face It.Songs themselves also have hidden lives that are worth exploring. In their recent book, the podcast hostsNate Sloan and Charlie Harding dissect popular tunesto reveal the nuances that make them so lovable.​ Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re ReadingThe book on Miles“With Miles, Davis proves to be his own most perceptive critic …the book is so successful in capturing Davis’s voice (including his incessant, if tonally varied, use of profanity) that the odd line that sounds like the work of his collaborator … calls for a double take.”
2020-01-31 17:30:00
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theatlantic.com
The Books Briefing: Short Stories to Read and Reread This Weekend
In recent years, The Atlantic’s publication of short stories has only been occasional. But the magazine has harbored a love of literature since its very first issue—and thanks to our new fiction initiative, you’ll soon see short stories on our site on a more regular basis.To that end, we’re starting with Lauren Groff’s new story, “Birdie,” in which a visit to a friend’s deathbed prompts a woman to reconsider a formative period in her life. Other stories from our archives also featureways of reframing and retelling the past.The narrator of Walter Mosley’s “Reply to a Dead Man” gets a message from his deceased brother that leads him to see his own life in a completely different way. In “Wolves of Karelia,” Arna Bontemps Hemenway imagines the memories of a real sniper from Finnish history—including scenes the man would prefer to forget.In E. C. Osondu’s “A Simple Case,” a man imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit attempts to talk his way out of jail. And in Louise Erdrich’s “Saint Marie,” a teen girl treks uphill to a convent on a quest that she sees as part vengeance, part salvation.​ Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re ReadingFour friends, a reunion, and an unexpected reckoning“The women were drinking peach schnapps, telling stories about the worst things they’d ever done.”
2020-01-24 17:00:00
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theatlantic.com
The Books Briefing: What’s White and Black and Read All Over?
In uncovering truths and disseminating information, journalists shape the way the public understands world events. Ida Tarbell went to great lengths to gather information on her subjects, and her immersive reporting for McClure’s magazine—which Stephanie Gorton chronicles in Citizen Reporters—laid the foundation for the way members of the press work today.Timothy Thomas Fortune’s identity as a black man in America informedhis work as a newspaper editor and civil-rights leader, which is collected in an anthology edited by Shawn Leigh Alexander.The influential writer Walter Lippmann, who had insider access due to his close relationships with public officials,used his newspaper columns to influence U.S. policy, as Ronald Steel describes in his biography of Lippmann.The journalist Yang Jisheng’s comprehensive book Tombstone investigates the 20th-centuryChinese policies that caused one ofthe largest famines in history. And Jason Rezaian’s work as a correspondent in Iran for The Washington Post led to his 544-day imprisonment in the country, an experience he contextualizes inhis memoir, Prisoner. Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re ReadingThe woman who made modern journalism“Back when modern journalism was defining itself—before objectivity was a reportorial byword, before off the record and on background were terms of the trade, and before narrative nonfiction was common parlance—one of the leading practitioners of the bold new form of inquiry was Ida Tarbell.”
2020-01-17 17:00:00
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theatlantic.com
The Books Briefing: First Exercise, Then Write
The vows to exercise and eat nutritiously that start off many a new year don’t only benefit the body. Many writers, including Haruki Murakami and Mohsin Hamid, find that running or walking helps stimulate their creativity. Others draw connections between individual health and the wellness of society.While working on his book How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi received a diagnosis that forced him to fight for his life—and fueled his commitments to both writing and political change. Gandhi’s activism extended to his own diet; according to the historian Nico Slate, he believed that eating raw food was not only cleansing but also liberating, because of the money and time it could save.Near the turn of the 20th century, anxieties about America’s expanding urban environments led physicians to diagnose a wide range of symptoms as effects of modern technology, a phenomenon explored in histories by David Schuster and Tom Lutz. And a recent book by Barbara Ehrenreich links prevailing ideas about preventive care to a cultural desire for control that may actually hurt patients’ well-being. Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re ReadingThe disease of living too fast“Neurasthenia … took [the] age-old problems of happiness and comfort and medicalized them.”
2020-01-10 17:30:00
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theatlantic.com
The Atlantic Daily: A Killing More Significant Than Bin Laden’s
It’s Friday, January 3.In today’s issue: He was an “indispensable man.” Plus: Our critics on three buzzy new shows.Know someone who might enjoy this newsletter? Forward them this email. Got this from a friend? Sign yourself up for The Daily here.Today’s Top StoryIran’s “indispensable man,” the general Qassem Soleimani, is dead at the hands of U.S. forces. “We took action last night to stop a war,” President Trump said during a televised statement this afternoon from his Mar-a-Lago residence. “We did not take action to start a war.” But many feared the opposite: that the strike was only the beginning. Soleimani’s death marks the escalation of an already unfathomably tense standoff between the U.S. and Iran.Below, our writers make sense of this precarious moment.(ILLUSTRATION BY SIMON MONTAG; PHOTOS: GETTY)Americans typically rally around wartime presidents. But Trump has a credibility problem. “Trump arrives at this perilous moment at a decided disadvantage: He can’t assume people will accept what he says as true, because millions have concluded it never is.” ​​​​​​This is America's most consequential strike of the century. “Of the most feared terrorist leaders the United States has hunted and killed this century—from Osama bin Laden to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi—no death ever had the significance of the one America just dealt.”Why now? “The real questions are not of morality (did he have it coming?) but of timing. I doubt that yesterday was the first time Soleimani became a visible target for the United States.”The strike was a blunder—perhaps a catastrophic one.“Soleimani was a supremely powerful leader of a state apparatus, with his own cult of personality, but he was not a terror kingpin. His death doesn’t decapitate anything.”From Our CriticsGeralt of Rivia is a Witcher (Katalin Vermes / Netflix)ON NETFLIXThe Witcher is what Game of Thrones would have become if it hadn’t taken itself so seriously—and that’s a good thing.“Until I saw it,” our culture writer Helen Lewis writes of the new Netflix fantasy series, “I hadn’t realized how debilitating it can be for a program to be ashamed of itself.”ON DISNEY+Season 1 of The Mandalorian blurred the line between human and robot.In the finale’s climactic moment, the Star Wars spinoff “deepened its take on the defining trope of the broader Star Wars franchise—and of the largest fantasy genre that drives so much modern entertainment,” our critic Spencer Kornhaber writes. (Spoilers ahead.)ON NETFLIXIn the second season of You, Netflix surrounds its murderous stalker protagonist with dynamic women.While the Season 1 love interest (and eventual victim) for Penn Badgley’s Joe was a “decidedly bland human,” in Season 2, “the show lends that same tension and aura of threat to its women.”GettyThis is how viciously Southeast Australia has burned.Extreme heat and winds have led to record-setting bushfires. The photo editor Alan Taylor offers a harrowing tour of the ongoing blazes.The Atlantic CrosswordAraki Koman1-Across, five letters: ObscureTry your hand at our daily mini crossword (available on our site here), which gets more challenging through the week.→ Challenge your friends, or try to beat your own solving time.
2020-01-04 02:00:00
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theatlantic.com
The Books Briefing: On Self-Progress
While resolutions are notorious for being abandoned not far into the new calendar year, really any time of year is a good time to refine the way you inhabit the world.When going through her midlife crisis at age 50,the writer Alison Gopnik said the philosopher David Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature—which argues that the beauty of life is the experience of living itself, without concern for the metaphysical—helped her get through the crisis. In his memoir Hiking With Nietzsche, John Kaag explores the prescriptive writings from the famous philosopher, interspersing that commentary with first-person accounts to show how Friedrich Nietzsche’s ideas influenced Kaag’s day-to-day life.Being more understanding of others is another common resolution. In her essay collection The Empathy Exams, Leslie Jamison inspects her own quest to become more empathetic, and questions if empathy is really something that can be taught. The harrowing experience of being imprisoned in a concentration camp during World War II inspired the Jewish psychiatrist Viktor Frankl to write Man’s Search for Meaning, in which he said that pursuing simple happiness over searching for a greater meaning in life was detrimental to satisfaction.Memoirs by Kiese Laymon and Casey Gerald each tackle how pursuing the American idea of self-progress as black men was damaging not only to themselves, but also the disadvantaged communities where they came from, because their image of success set false standards for achievement.​ Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re ReadingThe personal cost of black success“Both books take on the important work of exposing the damage done to America, especially its black population, by the failure to confront the myths, half-truths, and lies at the foundation of the success stories that the nation worships.”
2020-01-03 21:42:39
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theatlantic.com
The Atlantic Daily: Our Culture Desk’s Favorite Listening of 2019 ⏯
It’s Monday, December 30.In today’s issue: First, reflections on the aftermath of Monsey, New York. Plus: Our culture desk’s favorite music and podcasts from 2019.(AP)“It’s tapping into every fear.”A recent machete attack at a rabbi’s Hanukkah celebration in Monsey, New York capped a month of brutal anti-Semitic violence.New York State, home to the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, has been the site of 13 different anti-Semitic incidents in December alone.Emma Green spoke with community leaders across the state about the security measures they’re now considering. But, she writes: Increased security often places a financial burden on religious communities that have been attacked: Hiring security guards and arranging for extra police presence can be expensive. It can also reinforce people’s fears. Read Emma’s full story.Such attacks reflect growing anti-Semitic sentiment in the U.S. and Europe. Jewish communities being forced to adapt are in some cases forced to make stunning decisions, the Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt writes. The news that most depressed me did not involve violence. It was not something done to Jews but something Jews did. A synagogue in the Netherlands is no longer publicly posting the times of prayer services. If you want to join a service, you have to know someone who is a member of the community. Jews, she writes, are going into hiding.We’re closing out 2019 by rounding up some of our editors’ and writers’ favorite things to watch, read, and listen to from this past year.Today: What they loved listening to. (Come back tomorrow for our team’s favorite books of 2019, or check out last week’s edition on their favorite things to watch.) —Isabel Fattal(Naomi Elliott)
2019-12-31 02:00:00
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theatlantic.com
The Atlantic Daily: Our Culture Desk’s Favorites of 2019
It’s Friday, December 27.In today’s issue: Memorable shows; memorable films; memorable TV moments (yes, a Game of Thrones scene made the cut).The year is coming to a close, and you know what that means: It’s time for best-of-the-year lists.We’re spending the remaining days of 2019 rounding up some of our editors’ and writers’ favorite things to watch, read, and listen to from this past year.Today: what they loved watching. (Come back Monday and Tuesday for more on our team’s favorite albums, music moments, podcasts, and books.)—Isabel Fattal(Naomi Elliott)
2019-12-28 00:00:00
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theatlantic.com
The Books Briefing: All the Books We Loved This Year
Writing (and reading, for that matter) is often a way of taking stock—making sense of life’s tangled plotlines and inconclusive endings. And while many of the year’s best books blew apart storytelling conventions, they also pieced together a clearer picture of painful and confusing moments, both national and personal.Carmen Maria Machado told the wrenching story of her experience in an abusive relationship, while Daša Drndić paid tribute to people whose histories were obliterated by the Nazi and Soviet regimes. Namwali Serpell wrote a novel that careened across time to show how Zambia’s colonial past may shape its future. Susan Choi’s characters reconsidered their formative high-school experiences in a novel that tumbled through multiple perspectives.Ted Gioia gave readers an entirely new way to look at how music evolved. And Jane Alison created a taxonomy of literature that on first glance resists categorization. As the year draws to a close, we are taking stock of the recent books we’ve admired most. Here are just some of the fiction and nonfiction works that stood out to Atlantic writers and editors in 2019.​Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re Reading❖ Mostly Dead Things,by Kristen Arnett“In its exigency and sometimes-gruesome specificity, Mostly Dead Things mirrors the work of its protagonist, Jessa-Lynn Morton, a taxidermist who must run the family business after her father dies by suicide.”❖ The Old Drift, by Namwali Serpell“The Old Drift … is, in some measure, all of the following: historical epic, surrealist adventure, interpersonal (and interspecies) study, dystopian warning, anthropological commentary. It is also … a story that grips the reader from its first pages.”❖ Night Boat to Tangier, by Kevin Barry“Short runic paragraphs, mad images, bursts of almost-poetry, profligate (but artful) swearing … And underneath it all … a drug-smuggling love story.”
2019-12-27 17:30:00
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theatlantic.com
The Books Briefing: The Part of Human Nature That Bends Toward Solitude
The craft of writing is often associated with solitude;silent contemplation, the reasoning goes, can sprout potent ideas and feelings.Writers find this isolation in many different circumstances,which all translate to the page in striking ways.Annie Dillard is one of the best-known explorers of the part of humannature that bends toward solitude. Inher book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,she surveys life in a teeming natural ecosystem, where she seems to transcend her suburban surroundings. The poet Dulce María Loynaz is said to have lived alone for decades in a mansion in Havana, producing many rich poems about the treasure and trouble of solitude.The family in Gabriel García Márquez’s classic novel One Hundred Years of Solitude experiences a collective isolation. They maintain little to no contact with the outside world in their small town for an extended period of time, which serves their clan well for a while.The married couple in Marilynne Robinson’s novel Lila show that internal isolation isn’t necessarily overcome by even the closest of human bonds. But the main character in Dostoyevsky’s novel The Idiot, in spite of the isolationbrought on by his severe illness,finds that hissingular torment grants him the ability to witness the suffering of all.​ Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re ReadingHow One Hundred Years of Solitude became a classic“Over the course of a century, [the] town of Macondo was the scene of natural catastrophes, civil wars, and magical events; it was ultimately destroyed after the last Buendía was born with a pig’s tail.”
2019-12-20 17:15:49
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theatlantic.com
The Books Briefing: What Makes Falsehoods Captivating
Fyre Fest, Theranos, catfishing, cons, fake-news claims both false and legitimate: The 2010s have been a decade of seemingly unprecedented uncertainty about what’s real. Books by Lee McIntyre and Farhad Manjoo describe the rise of what Manjoo calls “a post-fact society,” in which the internet plays a particularly catalyzing role.But while modern technology may have fostered the spread of misinformation, the social psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson write that our tendency as humans to convince ourselves that we’re right no matter what the evidence shows has deep psychological roots; indeed, as the anthropologist Pascal Boyer writes, prioritizing beliefs over facts was part of human evolution. At the same time, cultural anxieties about knowing whom and what to believe have their own centuries-long history, Geoffrey C. Bunn’s book about the lie detector reveals.Real historical hoaxes are a source of inspiration for writers such as Dexter Palmer and Peter Carey, who use the stories of a woman who claimed to have given birth to rabbits and of an editor dazzled by a fictitious poet, respectively, as jumping-off points for novels that explore the dynamics of belief. And a novel by Uwe Johnson set during a year in the protagonist’s life shows how the process of collecting and parsing information can become a source of strength. Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re ReadingThe lie detector in the age of alternative facts“The device, [Geoffrey C.] Bunn suggests, is in many ways a work of science fiction that lurks, awkwardly, in the present reality—a machine that has been, from the beginning, in dialogue with pop culture and its myths.”
2019-12-13 18:57:30
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theatlantic.com
The Atlantic Daily: 2020 Could Be Netflix’s Year
It’s Monday, December 9.In today’s issue: The 2020 awards season is off to a good start for one streaming platform. But don’t be surprised if you see #OscarsSoWhite trending in a few weeks.Impeachment InterludeJust in: It was a strange day on the Hill. Our politics reporter Russell Berman explains: Today’s impeachment hearing was supposed to be a check-the-box session for House Democrats—a formality, really: Its purpose was to televise the evidence against President Donald Trump that party lawmakers presented in a voluminous written report released last week. What it turned into, however, was the weirdest, most chaotic hearing of the entire impeachment saga so far. Today’s Top Story NetflixThis could be Netflix’s big Oscar year. That’s one major takeaway from today’s Golden Globe nominations, which mark the beginning of Hollywood’s awards season.The streaming platform bested all other film and television studios, netting 17 nominations in total. It did so on the back of some high-profile films, like Marriage Story and The Irishman (and amid a standoff with major theater companies like AMC and Regal). You can browse the full list of nominees on our site.One thing you might notice: It’s pretty male and white. Expect diversity conversations to flare up once again, more than four years after #OscarsSoWhite first went viral.Our critic David Sims breaks down today’s nominations—and what they say about the future of film: It looks like the Oscar race will gravitate toward films with that old-fashioned, marquee-idol appeal, even if some of them are mostly viewed on streaming services. But that also indicates that rising female filmmakers such as Greta Gerwig, Marielle Heller, and Lulu Wang are being overlooked. Marriage Story (SIX NOMINATIONS)What our critic thought:This movie is “an epic told on the tiniest stage, magnifying the minute and irrelevant-seeming details that can either strengthen a partnership or end it,” David Sims wrote. The Irishman (FIVE NOMINATIONS)What our critics thought: David called it “a stunning achievement, worthy of a great director’s twilight years.” Jack Hamilton reflected on its place in gangster-film history in the December issue of our magazine. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (FIVE NOMINATIONS)What our critics thought: David called it Quentin Tarantino’s “best movie in a decade.” With this work, Quentin Tarantino is “giving his answer to the question of how onscreen violence relates to actual violence,” Spencer Kornhaber argued. Caitlin Flanagan argued that the film is transgressive, and “celebrates values that have been repeatedly dismissed as dangerous and outdated.” Greta Thunberg, the youth climate activist, attended a protest this month at the UN climate talks, where the U.S. Climate Alliance is announcing its first results.JAVIER BARBANCHO / REUTERSClimate1. A group of U.S. states still wants to fulfill the country’s Paris Agreement obligations. “Is it actually working?” Our climate reporter Robinson Meyer takes a look at a new report evaluating these 24 states plus Puerto Rico.Music2. Juice Wrld, one of the pioneers of “emo rap,” died at 21. He’s not the first. Juice Wrld’s “death will inevitably be discussed in the disturbing context of tragedy for rappers of his generation and subgenre.”Weed3. Cartels are growing marijuana on public lands—and hurting the environment. So-called trespass grows are “a severe threat to the forest ecosystem, from the microbes in the dirt all the way up to apex predators like eagles.”Foreign Policy4. An American detained in Iran for the past three years was released as part of a prisoner swap.The Trump administration will be able to claim Xiyue Wang’s release as a victory on two fronts.Dear Therapist Bianca BagnarelliEvery Monday, Lori Gottlieb answers questions from readers about their problems, big and small. This week, a parent struggles with how one son’s mental-health issues have affected the entire family: About 10 months ago, my young adult son returned home, appearing distraught over a broken relationship. Before this, he had moved back to his university city to be with his girlfriend, who was entering her final year, and he spent four months trying to get a job and develop social networks, and being committed to the relationship. It appears he was unsuccessful on all fronts, and my previously sunny, gregarious kid slumped into a mood matching the cold, dark winter weather in which he was living. He returned to sunny California just prior to Christmas, but struggled with sadness, anxiety, and generally feeling lost. My other two sons returned home for the holidays, and we tried to make the best of a difficult situation. → Read the rest, and Lori’s response. Write to Lori anytime at dear.therapist@theatlantic.com.
2019-12-10 00:00:00
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theatlantic.com
The Books Briefing: Looking Back on Moving Forward
When W. E. B. Du Bois devised the idea of “double-consciousness” in his 1897 Atlantic article “Strivings of the Negro People,” which he later included in his book The Souls of Black Folk, he set a new language for meditating on black progress in the United States. He’s one of many thinkers who devotedhis life to analyzing and ruminating on the overwhelming effectsof slavery, which still reverberate throughout Americanculture.The black suffragist Anna Julia Cooper outlined the need for better domestic spaces and opportunities for black citizens in her book A Voice From the South, which emphasized the importance of education in achieving those advancements. Decades after the debut ofThe Souls of Black Folk, Du Bois published Black Reconstruction in America, predicting that African Americans would remain a lower class until a radical series of reforms restored their resources and civil rights.In his book about Thomas Jefferson, Alan Taylor details the Founding Father’s belief that a new university in the South could help bring about the cultural change needed to end slavery,whilealso acknowledging the contradiction of Jefferson’sstatus as a slaveholder. Nicholas Buccola devotes the entirety ofhis book The Fire Is Upon Us to a famous 1965debate on racial politics between James Baldwin and William F. Buckley Jr.—looking to their backgrounds to further understand the men’s opposing views on racial injustice. Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re ReadingThe famous Baldwin-Buckley debate still matters today“Though he makes it clear by the end that his own ideological sympathies lie with [James] Baldwin’s calls for racial justice, [Nicholas] Buccola gives ample room to examining both men’s ideologies, without—and this is crucial—suggesting that [William F. Buckley Jr.’s] racist views were somehow acceptable.”
2019-12-06 17:30:00
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theatlantic.com
The Books Briefing: What Does Home Mean to You?
“My home was not simply a house or a town but, more importantly, an awakening story,” Chinua Achebe writes in his memoir Home and Exile.For Achebe, this realization was part of what motivated his work: He saw that Africa’s image in the eyes of the world had been shaped by a colonial narrative, and set out to write novels and criticism that helped convey a more accurate picture of the continent. Many other authors also find inspiration in the idea of homes and homelands, exploring the complex and bittersweet associations of the places people leave behind or choose to make their own.In her short-story collection, How to Love a Jamaican, Alexia Arthurs follows characters across the island and throughout its diaspora to capture what a Jamaican identity can mean. Dance of the Happy Shades, Alice Munro’s debut story collection, has a memorable setting that’s influenced by the author’s own rural Ontario hometown, and features protagonists reckoning with the confines of domestic life.The recently divorced narrator of Rachel Cusk’s novel Transit struggles with feelings of vulnerability while her fixer-upper house is dismantled and rebuilt around her. And the single mother in Yuko Tsushima’s Territory of Light builds a new home for her daughter in a small, light-filled apartment that she hopes will protect them both.​ Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re ReadingRevisiting the rural towns in Alice Munro’s debut“In a setting where many homes lack electricity or running water, many men still make a living off the land, and many housewives must jar their own preserves, Munro’s female protagonists often confront expectations that seem as old, and firmly rooted, as the landscape itself.”
2019-11-29 17:30:00
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theatlantic.com
The Books Briefing: Following Food From Field to Market to Plate
The food people eat today is the product ofcenturies of change and systematization. Not only have contemporary cuisines been defined by historical travel and colonization, but agricultural and economic developmentshave also shifted how we think about and consume food.The Way We Eat Now,by Bee Wilson, and Pressure Cooker,by Sarah Bowen, Joslyn Brenton, and Sinikka Elliott, both examine how and why processed foods have replaced home cooking, dissecting the social phenomena that shape Americans’reliance on cheap meals. Michael Ruhlman’s Grocery focuses on the role that supermarkets play in the modern food landscape, detailing the evolution of these mega-stores for food and other home goods. The market demand for fish has led to a decline in the wild populations of salmon, sea bass, cod, and tuna, which Paul Greenberg covers in his book Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food.In their cookbook Provisions: The Roots of Caribbean Cooking, the sisters Michelle and Suzanne Rousseau trace the histories of dishes such as saltfish and ackee—a Jamaican staple that enslaved people once relied on to survive.And Samin Nosrat’s cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat analyzes the chemistry behindhow certain foods are prepared.​Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re ReadingUncovering the roots of Caribbean cooking“A modern collection of vegetarian comfort-food recipes, the book details the lineage of the invisible contributions of African women, and the savvy meal refinement of their descendants, self-reliant and creative West Indians who innovated the region’s most beloved foodstuffs.”
2019-11-22 17:30:00
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theatlantic.com
The Books Briefing: How Writers Try On New Perspectives
Both reading and writing are exercises in perspective: attempting to see the world through the eyes of an author or audience, or to step inside the mind of the writer or character on the page. That process is an important part of people’s moral and emotional development, which is why the philosopher and novelist Rebecca Newberger Goldstein argues that kids can be taught early on to interrogate their own perceptions. Reading may challenge the ideas you take for granted—or, as the author Dinaw Mengestu notes, it may help you recognize yourself in circumstances that at first seem unfamiliar.The novelist Tania James has found that she does her best work when she experiments with new perspectives. Yiyun Ligets inspiration for her fictionfrom watching strangers closely, trying to imagine the lives they lead and what the world looks like from their viewpoint. And the poet Tracy K. Smith uses the literary technique of erasure—creating poems by removing or crossing out words from a source text—to reveal new meanings in documents from American history.​Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re ReadingHow novels widen your vision“We read not to encounter the Other, but to see ourselves refracted in a different landscape, in a different time, in shoes and clothes that perhaps bear no resemblance to our own.”
2019-11-15 18:52:41
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theatlantic.com
The Books Briefing: How to Build a Family Legacy
How is a family legacy built? Through novels or memoirs, authors puzzle together the myths and realities of their family history to help readers think through that question—and to process it for themselves.Writing her novel, The Turner House, which traces the history of a family home over 50 years in the city of Detroit, helped Angela Flournoy learn more about the gutting transformation of the place where her father grew up. Janny Scott explores the life of her own father in her memoir,The Beneficiary, where she parses his many diaries to uncover the hidden details about who he was.The title character in Juliet Grames’s novel, The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna, becomes the subject of her granddaughter’s exploration, which raises questions about who has the right to tell someone’s personal story. And inStrangers and Cousins, by Leah Hager Cohen, a series ofrapid life changes, including the sale of their house, leads the members of a large family to reflect on their roots.Questions that Mira Jacob’s son asked her about race and identity as a 6-year-old reminded her of similar conversations she had during her own upbringing,and inspired her to document these tricky discussions in her graphic memoir, Good Talk.The Social Life of DNA, by Alondra Nelson, also grapples with race by considering how ancestry tests can be used to recover valuable pieces of family history lost through enslavement.​Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re Reading(Shutterstock)Reconstructing the memories of aging matriarchs“Though the characters’ attempts to piece together the stories of their elders read in part as a way of recognizing these forgetful and forgotten women, the process affirms the identities of the younger generations even more, by endowing them with a history—whether imagined or not—that can guide their present.”
2019-11-08 17:30:00
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theatlantic.com
The Books Briefing: Let’s Talk About Death
The Mexican holiday Día de Muertos, marked by processions and other festivities in which families honor dead loved ones and celebrate the cycle of life, takes place this weekend. For those who participate, the Day of the Dead can be an annual reminder that death comes to everyone, and that it isn’t necessarily something to fear.Among medical practitioners in the United States, however, such frank acknowledgments of mortality are comparatively rare, according to the physicians Atul Gawande and Angelo Volandes. These authors argue that the lack of direct conversations between doctors and patients about end-of-life care sometimes leads to procedures that put the dying through unnecessary pain. Analysis of the ways in which dying people communicate is also hard to come by, although a recent book by Lisa Smartt provides a starting point.A prescient work of science fiction by D. G. Compton depicts a woman who’s dying within a dystopian, privacy-free world, reflecting on the deeply personal experience of coming to terms with death. And the journalist Erika Hayasaki documents a highly popular college course in which students use science and philosophy to put death in perspective.​Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re ReadingIn this 1974 novel, death is a reality show“Compton offers not only … a chilling appraisal of society that still rings true, but also an indelible portrait of an intelligent, middle-aged woman grappling with the ultimate existential crisis: How should one conduct oneself while dying?”
2019-11-01 16:30:00
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theatlantic.com
The Books Briefing: Costume Party
Halloween is an opportunity for many people to step outside of themselves, donning costumes inspired by favorite fictional figures. Children and adults roll out a litany of popular ensembles around this time of year to channel their inner heroes, villains, and everything in between.It’s due to the imagination of their creators that many of these classic charactersreemerge throughout the decades with fresh layers of complexity. Marvel’s Black Panther, who’s become wildly popular sincethe release of the 2018 film, was given new life in 2016 through a series of comics written by Ta-Nehisi Coates. His revival explores the original character’s homeof Wakanda, a mythical African nation and technologically superior world power, alongside the real histories of pre-colonial Africa and the American Civil War.Spider-Man, created in 1962 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, remains so beloved in partbecause his other identity is the relatable teenager Peter Parker—a crime fighter by night who faces high-school drama by day. And the infamous Joker from DC’s Batman comics is portrayed with depth in Alan Moore’s graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke (a key influence for Todd Phillips’s recent Joker film), which provides a sentimental backstory for the villain’s madness.Witches, another staple Halloween costume, were depicted almost exclusively as “mad” women before books such as Jules Michelet’s La Sorcière—and later, L. Frank Baum’s Oz series—popularized a more positive representation of them as a symbol of female autonomy. Princesses have also been reinvented in a similar way. Gail Carson Levine’s retelling of Cinderella in the young-adult novel Ella Enchanted, for instance, represented a new kind of princess whose value wasn’t dependent on physical beauty.​Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email. What We’re ReadingThe comic that explains where Joker went wrong“Despite the critiques, The Killing Joke endures as a milestone in the industry, an exercise in brutality that stood out in a more family-friendly comic-book world.”
2019-10-25 17:30:00
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theatlantic.com
The Atlantic Daily: The Rise of ‘Sad Bois’
It’s Thursday, October 24. In today’s issue: Musical male angst finds a new formula—“sad bois.” Plus: a look at three ongoing protests around the world Were you forwarded this email? Sign yourself up here. We have many other free email newsletters on a variety of other topics. Browse the full list. Today’s Big Idea(ALEX WAESPI)The rise of the “sad bois”Their lyrics are steeped in moodiness. They take an almost clinical approach to talking about depression and mental health. This new wave of male artists, called the “sad bois” (or “sad boys”), is downright morose.It’s not that men are just now being given permission to talk about their feelings. White male rage, our music critic Spencer Kornhaber points out, is perhaps “one of the most celebrated of all emotions in popular music.”What’s changed is its expression. Today’s artists “ramble out their emotions matter-of-factly, with hope for recovery and admiration (sometimes worship) for those who’ve supported them.”Read Spencer’s story on the new term here. Associated artists: Rex Orange County Hobo Johnson Chris Farren Previous Ages of Angst(Chloe Scheffe)Today it’s “sad bois,” but here are some other musicians and eras you might recognize, brilliantly summarized by Spencer:PunkEra: 1970sAssociated artists: Sex Pistols, Black Flag“Punk balked at prescribed roles and reveled in sexual transgression ... Rock misogyny remained alive and well, but these maneuvers encouraged men to communicate in ways that would previously have gotten them labeled wimps.”GrungeEra: 1990sAssociated artists: Nirvana, Soundgarden“Its practitioners’ moans conveyed a sense of chafing against bodily constraints and cultural expectations … A song like Soundgarden’s ‘Big Dumb Sex’ brutishly satirized the previous decades’ hair-metal machismo.”Nu metalEra: Turn of the centuryAssociated artist: Linkin Park“If the results were ugly, so was the subject matter: pain and trauma, expressed in even more personal terms than before.”Emo rapEra: TodayAssociated artists: Lil Peep, Juice Wrld“The anti-anxiety medication Xanax is to many of today’s rappers what Patrón was to rappers a decade ago, and self-harm is referenced routinely.”Read more about these genres, and how they evolved in relation to one another, in Spencer’s thoughtful essay from last summer.Get Caught Up, Protests Edition As Brexit and impeachment continue to unfold (read this to catch up on Brexit; this to catch up on impeachment), we’re taking a look at some movements taking hold outside of Washington and London. (KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / GETTY)ChicagoIt’s day eight of negotiations in the Chicago teacher strike. Some teachers are using it as an opportunity to teach students the history of organized labor.ChileProtests in Chile take aim at economic inequality. The demonstrations, sparked by a subway-fare hike, have claimed more than a dozen lives. The photo editor Alan Taylor assembled photos of the movement here.LebanonHundreds of thousands are protesting government corruption and economic mismanagement in Lebanon. This movement was sparked by a proposed tax on messaging apps like WhatsApp. View photos, curated by Taylor, here.Before You Go(JOHN MACDOUGALL / GETTY)Married bliss can be costly.Thankfully, some communities developed a sort of crowdfunding strategy: At “stag and doe” parties, they celebrate the betrothed—and raise money for the lucky couple’s nuptials. Julie Bogen explains: A couple gets engaged and then settles on an event space—church halls and community centers are popular because they can fit large groups of people at non-exorbitant rates. Then hundreds of people are invited to buy tickets that cover food and entertainment for the night, and donations are collected from local businesses, sometimes in the form of raffle items or catering. ... “I’ve heard of people making 15, 16, 20 thousand dollars,” [Kyle Reid, of Binbrook, Ontario] told me while planning his own event. → Read the rest.The Atlantic Crossword1-Across, five letters: Reed section?Try your hand at our daily mini crossword (available on our site here), which gets more challenging through the week.→ Challenge your friends, or try to beat your own solving time.
2019-10-25 02:00:00
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theatlantic.com