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The Wendell Berry Sentence That Inspired Michael Pollan's Food Obsession

For Pollan, "eating is an agricultural act" offers more insight into how food relates to the world than Thoreau or Emerson's words ever could.<p>Doug McLean<p><b>By Heart is a series in which authors share and discuss their all-time favorite passages in literature.</b><p>Perhaps more than any living writer, …

David Sedaris's Sorta-Secret Side Career as a Speech Writer for High Schoolers

Why does the best-selling humorist's new book include six monologues for teen speakers? Because Sedaris moonlights as a hero in the world of competitive high-school forensics.<p>Facebook / David Sedaris<p>There's a peculiar author's note at the beginning of David Sedaris's new collection, <i>Let's Explore</i> …

No One, Male or Female, Should Be Ashamed of Leaving the Workforce

For some people, regardless of gender, family is more important than career. And that's fine.<p>20th Century Fox<p>I'm a grad-school drop-out. I spent a year in the University of Chicago's history program, and then quit to go be a poet. I spent years sending manuscripts off to tiny magazines without any …

Executing the Mentally Handicapped Is Illegal—Except When It Isn't

In spite of the Supreme Court's 2002 ban on such executions, Warren Hill, a convicted murderer who all experts now agree is mentally retarded, once again faces lethal injection.<p>AP<p>It rarely registers as news anymore when a federal appeals court denies a request for relief made by a death row inmate. …

What Would You Add to the Bill of Rights?

An informal survey suggests a desire for greater privacy protections is present among some liberals, conservatives and libertarians.<p>Here are some of the responses:<p>And my personal favorite:<p>The one larger conclusion I gathered from the highly unscientific sample of responses I got, some of which are …

Is This the Best-Looking Cake on the Internet?

Marcella Robin's eye-popping graphic cakes look more like modern art than dessert.<p>We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.

The Rise of Gay Marriage and the Decline of Straight Marriage: Where's the Link?

The story behind the rise of gay tolerance, unwed mothers, and delayed marriage<p>Let's talk about marriage. Today, young people get married later. There are more unwed mothers. And gay marriage is winning broad support.<p>These are three true things about marriage. But three true things about marriage …