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Omnivore

Democrats need to take sides

From Jacobin, waiting for SCOTUS: By fixating on the Supreme Court, liberals have inherited the framers’ skepticism of popular sovereignty and mass politics. Jack M. Balkin on how liberals can reclaim the Constitution: Conservatives have been winning the constitutional debates for a generation, but liberals can stage a revival using an originalist argument. From The Baffler, Ned Resnikoff on the self-fulfilling prophecy of “next generation” neoliberals. Elias Isquith on how a left-wing Tea Party


Paper Trail

In the UK, nine million fewer books were given as gifts in 2013. In the United States, gifts counted for 22 percent of book sales, a drop from 24 percent the year prior. Digital e-books counted for a quarter of all book purchases. Forty-four states plus Washington DC have poet laureates or writer in residence

Syllabi

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

In the Wolf's Mouth

Each of Adam Foulds's recent novels suggests a cloud-chamber into which some physicist has introduced particles that won't bond. With In the Wolf's Mouth, the author ratchets up the conflict considerably. The novel takes place during World War II, primarily in Sicily, where "liberation" only unearths deeper discord, much of it instigated by the Mafia.

Interviews

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.

Excerpt

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

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