Secrets Among Distractions: The Power of Wimmelbooks

The suspended crowds depicted in these "teeming pictures" provide the opportunity to explore overwhelming chaos. 

The Worthy Elephant: On Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

For the fiftieth anniversary of the book's publication, a discussion of craft, veracity and the literary appeal of true crime. 

Footnotes to a Murder

The 1943 killing of a Manhattan heiress led to a demonizing public conversation on homosexuality. A decade later, a true crime book obfuscated the sexual details.

The Conspiracy Against a Good Night's Sleep

Cosmic horror tends to be synonymous with H.P. Lovecraft, but others, from Thomas Ligotti to Nathan Ballingrud, show the many ways in which tales of a monstrous world can scare the hell out of us.

The Myths That Keep on Giving

Passed down through generations, fables provide rich material for everything from novels such as Patrick deWitt's Undermajordomo Minor, to Rocky and Bullwinkle and the Twilight Zone. 

'This Goes All the Way to the Queen': The Puzzle Book that Drove England to Madness

An amulet, a treasure hunt, and a legion of readers mobilized by the false patterns our brains create to make sense of the world around us. 

Good Reads Gone Bad

When it comes to erotic work by female authors, users on critical online forums can have trouble separating artists from their art.

Notes on a Fan

Remembering Frederick Exley’s Frank Gifford and Frederick Exley’s Frederick Exley.

The Lost Lives of Old Families

The most privileged among us take the history of their family names for granted. For many, we're lucky to find a foothold even in fiction.

'A Kind of Artistic Séance': The New Phase of Literary Collaborations

Outside of (unfairly maligned) genre work, literature has historically been seen as a solitary calling rather than a collaborative one. That seems to be changing, and we're all the better for it.