The fault lines of American higher education

From the New York Times Magazine, Michael Sokolove on the trials of Graham Spanier, Penn State’s ousted president. The coup that failed: Talbot Brewer on how the near-sacking of a university president exposed the fault lines of American higher education. Avoiding disastrous presidencies: Ry Rivard reviews Presidencies Derailed: Why University Leaders Fail and How to Prevent It by Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, Gerald B. Kauvar and E. Grady Bogue. There’s the war on college, and then there’s Rick

Paper Trail

Jeb Lund picks on Ed Klein’s new book about the Clintons, Blood Feud—specifically, Klein’s calling attention to Hillary’s swearing: “Utilizing someone’s occasional profanity as the basis of a character attack is up there with a sinister ad voiceover saying, Candidate John Cussbrother uses toilets.” Former judge Stuart Kelly makes predictions for the Man Booker prize


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

Blood on the Tracts

It would be easy to overlook the fact that communist literature is fictional, and, like most good fiction, bears, at least intermittently, some resemblance to the particulars of our real world. There is the desperation of the toiling many, alongside the indifference of the privileged few, and rounded out by the inability, ever, by anyone, to find a lasting solution.


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.


F for Fake

Brian Dillon

What exactly do we mean when we call an artist or writer a charlatan? What manner of truth is in question? Assuredly, an artistic or literary charlatan is not merely a fraud, a forger, or an impostor. Such quasi-criminal categories have their own clear-cut logic: The perpetrator either is or isn't what he purports to be. But an accusation of charlatanry points to something far more fundamental than a simple waywardness with the facts.