Posts by: Ryan Zee

Artful

“Artful,” by Ali Smith

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In one of the more memorable passages of Ali Smith’s Artful, the narrator notes how “surprisingly lightly” we treat books “in contemporary culture. We’d never expect to understand a piece of music on one listen, but we tend to believe we’ve read a book after reading it just once.” As I wound my way for […]

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Encyclopedia of a Life in Russia

“Encyclopedia of a Life in Russia,” by José Manuel Prieto

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In 1988, Czech novelist Milan Kundera published a personal dictionary of his “key words, problem words, words I love.” Not your average lexicon, “Sixty-three words” fuses history, philosophy, social-critique and autobiography, ingeniously invigorating a literary form often lumped with the Yellow Book on the excitement scale. Ten years later, as if to prove that the […]

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