23 posts

Book Review: The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America's Banana King by Rich Cohen

Bananas, it turns out, don't grow on trees, but instead are large herbs and are best classified as berries. The plant, which is actually a tall grass, can grow - from a cutting and not a seed - twenty inches in twenty-four hours. The banana we eat in the United States, the Cavendish variety, is not the one that first graced our grocery store aisles; that banana, the Big Mike, is now extinct. In fact, we get our "slippery banana peel" comedy from the Big Mike, with its slimy skin. To the dismay of grade-school comedians everywhere, the Cavendish isn't slippery at all. If these banana facts astonish you, you may be delighted to know that these and more are buried in the pages

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Short Story Review: Notes on a Suicide by Rana Dasgupta

Scrolling through my Facebook feed, I feel poisoned: the figments are both overwrought and vacant. I want to know what my friends are feeling but would prefer a conversation over a café crème or good bottle of wine. Why status updates and short videos instead of living in the moment? Obviously a traitor to my generation, I recently marooned myself in Europe for a short time. While strolling through Shakespeare & Co., I bought a fitting souvenir: a copy of Granta 140: The Mind (The Magazine of New Writing), the summer 2017 edition of the journal for up-and-coming writers. In white lettering across the cover, the title of this edition, "State of Mind," contrasts sharply with the black background and a vaguely Egyptian figurine

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Book Review: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway wrote and rewrote A Moveable Feast, the memoir of his impoverished years as a young writer in Paris, but was never satisfied. He could not decide on a title, or an ending, or which chapters to include or reject. In the end, he did not decide any of this. His editors (first his fourth wife and then, in a later edition, his grandson) chose for him posthumously. This is the version of A Moveable Feast we read today: a pieced together memoir Hemingway himself never finished. Yet, the fragments lend humanity to a literary legend, bringing author and reader closer together. A Moveable Feast is a jaunt through the St. Germaine district of Paris. As he drinks at bars, writes and dines in cafes,

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Book review: The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and the Blockchain are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey

The Internet Will Eat the World I installed my first computer in my bedroom when I was nine. What a machine! This box ran Windows 95, which meant I could play games, and it had a modem, which meant I could email my best friend across the country and browse usenet groups. Then came this great software called Netscape that opened an entire world: pages on any topic I could dream of. My bedroom transformed into a library, making my world much larger than a rural Maine town. Opportunities seemed infinite. Since those days, few things have made me so excited that I've lost sleep and forgotten to eat. All, though, have been related to this decentralized, world-opening, business-eating thing called the Internet. Fast forward to

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Book Review: Luck Favors the Prepared by Nathaniel Barber

In the first sentence of what turns into an uncommonly poignant and funny book, Nathaniel Barber dives headlong into a familiar topic: the interview for the job your don't want. We've all been there, sitting across from our future boss, being talked out of a position we never really wanted anyway. We all come to the same conclusion: My team would be cordial, for a day or two. But they'd eventually come to believe, as a district implant, I'd stolen their rightful path to middle management. He passes on the job and gets a new one. Unfortunately for Barber, as he walks to work on his first day, a man in a window somewhere above pisses on him. This, we learn, is just his luck. What

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