Will the Supreme Court Pick a Gay-Marriage Case in Today's Meeting?

Keep one eye on the Supreme Court today and tomorrow, as it holds its "Long Conference" about all the petitions it got over the summer. In the mix are five cases asking the same question: Are bans on same-sex marriage constitutional? Join me below as I split into multiple personalities to explain it. » 9/29/14 12:20pm Yesterday 12:20pm

The End of the Mitford Sisters

Deborah Mitford, the last of the "Mitford Girls," died this week in England at the age of 94. She and her five sisters, Nancy, Pamela, Diana, Unity and Jessica (called Decca), were the Middletons of their day. That is, if Kate had literary talent, and was ever called upon to utter a political opinion. And if Pippa… » 9/26/14 9:45am Friday 9:45am

Reviewer Slams New Fashion Book as an "Exercise in Narcissism"

A new book called Women In Clothes is in bookstores. Edited by Sheila Heti, Leanne Shapton, and Heidi Julavits, the book comes with a good literary pedigree and is, by all reports, gorgeously designed. Today, however, a review appeared in The Guardian by Rebecca Carroll which deemed the book, well... » 9/16/14 5:17pm 9/16/14 5:17pm

What the Hell Just Happened to Oscar Pistorius? An Explainer

This morning we woke up to the news that Oscar Pistorius had been acquitted of murder charges in the death of Reeva Steenkamp. That, at least, was how the headlines played it. The reality is slightly more complicated. Join me below, as I explain things to the angry-feminist voice in my head. » 9/11/14 12:05pm 9/11/14 12:05pm

Notable Letters to the Editor: I'm A Dominatrix, Not A Sex Worker

The London Review of Books recently ran a long critical essay on the life and work of Alain Robbe-Grillet. He directed films and wrote novels about sadomasochism. In passing, the essay referred to Robbe-Grillet's wife Catherine, as receiving "clients" in a "chambre secrète." She objected. » 9/10/14 2:15pm 9/10/14 2:15pm

Harry Potter Reigns in "Facebook's 10 Books That Stayed With You" Meme

Bookish friends of mine have been sharing their ten books that "stayed with" them in their FB statuses for a while now. Facebook data scientists, intrigued, took the last 130,000 or so such statuses, and found that many of you are stuck in a Harry-Potter-and-Tolkien-decorated prison of the mind. » 9/09/14 9:52am 9/09/14 9:52am

The New Jack the Ripper ID Joins Long And Proud Tradition of Trolling

Those of us who enjoy reading serial killer trivia on Wikipedia late at night are obsessing this week over news that someone has identified Jack the Ripper from DNA. A book about this is coming out tomorrow, which I have not read. And yet... that story sound fishy (and also, familiar) to anyone else? » 9/08/14 4:00pm 9/08/14 4:00pm

What Was Celebrity-Nude-Gate? Or, An Adventure in Reddit Philosophy

Celebrity-nude-selfie-gate was a thing that passed quickly for most people. They came to the internet, they clicked around and saw the pictures. That role completed, they went back to watching Redtube and reruns of How I Met Your Mother. » 9/08/14 1:50pm 9/08/14 1:50pm

Hero Federal Appeals Judge Burns Down the Case Against Gay Marriage

Judge Richard Posner, moderate conservative of the Seventh Circuit, has espoused the occasional nutty idea. He also has an ego roughly the size of the Midwest. But this week, he delivered a beautifully-argued opinion laced with righteous sarcasm striking down the gay marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin. Let's… » 9/05/14 9:49am 9/05/14 9:49am

What Takes A Mystery Novel To Another Level? A Q&A With Tana French

Tana French's Dublin murder mystery novels, of which the new release The Secret Place is the latest, always hit the bestseller lists. But her readers are a proud cult in my experience, always happy to find another fan to discuss them with. She has a talent for lighting up the brain's pleasure and intelligence centers. » 9/03/14 9:25am 9/03/14 9:25am