by Max Rivlin-Nadler

UPDATED: Colson Whitehead finds his degradation


The attraction to poker mystifies me. HOWEVER, Colson Whitehead’s sobering, muscular, and whip-smart writing about his participation in the World Series of Poker has gotten me to give up my aversion, if only to tag along as he navigates the sad world of casino poker.

Penguin Classic Skateboard Decks


Penguin Classics is holding a photo contest of people skating and reading, with the prize being these super-fucking-cool skateboard decks.

Fiction ‘improves social understanding’….YES!


While I’m not really sure why the phenomenon of fiction needs any scientific explanation, I’m more than willing to accept the notion that it somehow improves our ability to empathize with one another and transform steady readers into eyeglass-wearing social freaks.

fait divers


Teju Cole, whose novel Open City is incredibly smart and beautiful, has posted an essay on his blog about fait divers, brief stories of weird and startling events. Cole is in Lagos working on a non-fictional narrative about his native city.

In Patagonia?


It’s nice to think that Bruce Chatwin, who died in 1989 from AIDS, would be happy to see people on the street, rallying for natural beauty, helping preserve what struck him so profound.

Victor Lavalle


One lesson wish I could send back in time to myself, and particularly a lesson for young male writers, is the idea that writing about tough things make you tough. But almost by definition, if you are writing books, you were not a tough kid. But in the writing world it’s not tough to be the tough kid.

Brian McGackin, these guys could kick your ass


The New York Daily News, long known for its thoughtful commentary on contemporary literature, has published a piece by Brian McGakin (author of the forthcoming opus Broetry), about the lack of manliness in contemporary fiction.



With the Dial-a-Poem project of the late 60’s, Artist John Giorno provided a phone number that one could call to hear a poem read by its author.

Phobos in Forest Hills: Anatomy of a Wendy’s


Reading Amanda’s excellent review of Iphigenia in Forest Hills, I was reminded of another tragic location in that strange neighborhood….

Forbidding Zones: Hersey’s Hiroshima and Vollmann’s Fukishima


The differences in tact and tone of the pieces reflect the passage of time, and unfortunately, that the hour is already terribly late. We are amidst the peril of atomic energy, and no matter how urgent the reporting, no matter how dire the warnings, we, like the journalists, are bound to wander through its devastation.