Aaron Cloyd

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What Are We Doing Here? by Marilynne Robinson review – hope, as distinct from optimism

“I have never admired deference.” Marilynne Robinson is a stubborn nonconformist, and her new collection of essays confirms the distance between her combative ideas and the dominant values of the west. This is partly a matter of temperament. Her years as a novelist reflect her belief that character …

Books

15 Short Story Collections Everyone Should Read

Great literature in small portions<p>Last December, a short story by Kristen Roupenian called 'Cat Person' went viral. It was a reminder of the power the form can wield, and a great advert for literature in an era dominated by other mediums.<p>Short stories, of course, have the added advantage of being …

Books

10 Facts About Edgar Allan Poe That Will Completely Change How You Feel About The Mystery Writer

January 19, 2018 marks mystery and horror writer Edgar Allan Poe's 209th birthday. The poet and writer died when he was just 40 years old, but he …

6 stunning examples of mirrored architecture

When art and architecture combine<p>Art-inspired houses can come in all shapes and sizes: orbs floating in the trees, inverted pyramids set in the hills, even mimetic architecture in the shapes of giant oranges or boots. But one of the most stunning styles over the past five years has been the rise of …

Architecture

From Sherlock Holmes to Tartan Noir, a decade-by-decade guide to the best British crime novels

1900s<p>Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902), in which Sherlock Holmes hunts the “black beast …larger than any hound that ever mortal eye has rested upon”, is the greatest case of the world’s greatest detective, and still grips readers as irresistibly as the Grimpen Mire …

Books

Eerie 'Fen' Is Full Of Dazzling, Hard-To-Explain Stories

"The land was drained." That's the first sentence in Daisy Johnson's haunting short story collection, <i>Fen</i>, and she wastes no time in establishing a setting. The Fens of eastern England are marshlands — or they were, until the 17th century when Parliament ordered them drained and converted into …

Books

Nonfiction Book Review: Brevity: A Flash Fiction Handbook by David Galef. Columbia Univ, $25 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-0-231-17969-0

Brevity: A Flash Fiction Handbook<p>David Galef. Columbia Univ, $25 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-0-231-17969-0<p>More By and About This Author<p>Novelist Galef …

11 Indigenous Authors You Should Be Reading Instead Of Joseph Boyden

Turn these pages.<p>In a written statement, Boyden, who has at various points claimed Metis, Anishinaabe, Nipmuc and Mi'kmaq heritage, admits he has stolen the spotlight on Indigenous issues as he is "a white kid from Willowdale with native roots."<p>What does authenticity mean when it comes to fiction? …

Strange Weather: Fiction and Climate Change

ONE HAPPY SUMMER, I devoured a series of Amitav Ghosh’s books back to back. That was the summer when my son was born, and I was caught between the …

Universities undergo "quiet revolution" as they switch to open-plan learning, Haworth report finds

<b>Haworth white papers:</b> higher education institutes around the world are undergoing radical change as they swap old-fashioned lecture rooms for …

Harvard Has a Free Online Course on Buddhism That You Can Take Right Now

If you wanted to learn more about Buddhism, but needed an easy and authoritative resource, you are in luck. Harvard University made a great course on …

Don't gloat about reading Ulysses: all books follow the same six storylines, researchers find

There may once have been cachet in ploughing one's way through Ulysses, War and Peace or Kafka's Metamorphosis.<p>But according to one study, there is no greater cause to boast about reading James Joyce than EL James.<p>All novels contain one of just six possible plots, with similar emotional arcs …

Literature

Why don’t we grieve for extinct species?

We have no rituals for coping with extinction, ecological destruction or environmental loss. And that’s a problem. Now, an impassioned group of artists and activists are trying to create them.<p>In early 2010, artist, activist and mother, Persephone Pearl, headed to the Bristol Museum. Like many …

Extinction

The Loneliest Land

More than 100 years before Cheryl Strayed chronicled her solo adventures on the Pacific Crest Trail in her best-selling memoir, <i>Wild</i>, another young …

Trails
Literature
Nature

Scientists find only one true wolf species in North America

How many species of wolves live in America? A new study suggests there is just one.<p>The new work, published Wednesday in Science Advances, finds that the gray wolf is the one true wolf in the United States. The red wolf, which lives in the Southern U.S., and the eastern wolf, now found primarily in …

Does reading fiction make you a better person?

I have been a nerd my whole life. I was always "that kid," the one who read in a corner at recess and talked about Jo March and Ponyboy as though they were real people. I have a vivid memory of myself at 8 or 9, staying up far past my bedtime to read Katherine Paterson's "Bridge to Terabithia" by …

Psychology
Books

30 years after Chernobyl disaster, wildlife is flourishing in radioactive wasteland

It was the worst nuclear disaster in history, spewing thousands of tons of radioactive waste into the atmosphere and prompting the evacuation of more than 100,000 people.<p>But thirty years after its reactor number four exploded in a pillar of radioactive smoke, the abandoned wasteland around the …

Books

All Stories Are the Same

From Avatar to The Wizard of Oz, Aristotle to Shakespeare, there’s one clear form that dramatic storytelling has followed since its inception.<p>A ship lands on an alien shore and a young man, desperate to prove himself, is tasked with befriending the inhabitants and extracting their secrets. …

Alice In Wonderland

4 Ways to Become a Better Learner

The CEO sitting across from me is explaining how he and the other executives of a telecommunications firm were caught off guard by a new technology that disrupted the firm’s business. “We did not see WhatsApp coming,” he says, shaking his head. He wants to increase his capacity to learn, to spot …

Leadership

Kiasmos

Kiasmos is an Icelandic electronic duo who masterfully weave emotional melodies with tactile beats to create soundscapes that let the imagination …

Best Ambient of 2015

Ambient Music

The Best Electronic Music of 2015

It's been a year of quiet successes for electronic fans. Unlike previous years when artists like Aphex Twin, Daft Punk, and Flying Lotus so clearly …

Daft Punk

So you'd like to get into highbrow comics. Here's where to start

From superheroes to memoirs, there’s never been a richer time for comic books. But where does one start with a genre that is exploding so quickly?<p>I am a man with an immoderate number – some might say a houseful – of comic books, which is probably why people ask me questions like: “Where on earth do …

Graphic Novels

Eli Horowitz Wants To Teach You How To Read

McSweeney’s was one of the most significant indie publishing houses of the last 20 years — and Eli Horowitz was a central force behind it. Armed with an app-based novel that aspires to be the most bonkers book ever written, can he change that world again?<p><b>It’s an exquisite</b> Indian-summer day in the …