On American belief

Jonathan Pidluzny (Morehead State): How Religions Die: Alexis de Tocqueville on the Importance, Genesis and Decay of Otherworldly Concern. Ira C. Lupu (George Washington): Hobby Lobby and the Dubious Enterprise of Religious Exemptions. Capitalism’s war on Christianity: Elizabeth Stoker on how a “makers vs. takers” culture poisons our ethics. Fernando Alcantar reviews Caught in the Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind by Daniel C. Dennett and Linda LaScola. Sam Kestenbaum interviews Jeff Sharlet, editor

Paper Trail

The New Inquiry is closing in on its $25,000 goal in a fundraising campaign that ends today. If the (excellent) online magazine reaches its goal, an anonymous donor will kick in a matching $25,000 gift. The writer Kate Bolick, who hosts a literary interview series at Edith Wharton’s country estate, the Mount, has compiled a guide to entertaining that


Weird Sex

Vanessa RovetoThere's good sex and there's bad sex. And then there's weird sex—a Freudian purgatory that somehow neither stimulates the libido nor inhibits it. In art and life, we're inclined to seek out pleasure

Daily Review

All Quiet on The Western Front

I read only one war novel while I was writing my own. There were reasons: I didn't want to hear another novelist's voice as I was trying to find my own way into a soldier's mind. Also, my book is about a marine coming home from Iraq, and every war has its own weather and terrain, its own equipment and language.


William T. Vollmann

William T. Vollmann's latest story collection considers death from a variety of perspectives, veering from realistic to supernatural, from reportage-like writing to the ghost story. Bookforum talks with the author about his new book, his FBI files, his ongoing research of coal mines and the environment, and his female persona, Delores.


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Zadie Smith reads from On Beauty


An Air of Impoverishment and Depleted Humanity

Amanda Petrusich

In Do Not Sell at Any Price, Amanda Petrusich visits the secretive, insular world of 78rpm collectors. The oldest version of the record, these 10-inch, two-song albums are increasingly hard to track down. Finding a matching turntable is a feat in itself. The scarcity has kept the number of hobbyists small, and their devotion to “the treasure hunt” fanatical. As Petrusich explains, her interest in 78s began as a nostalgic protest