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2014 felt like a long, cruel object lesson in disappointment. Should we really have expected better?
From Leslie Jamison to Roxane Gay to Charles D’Ambrosio, 2014 was a perhaps uncommonly good year for essays. How did we get here?
Harry Styles of One Direction
Anna Todd’s One Direction fanfic-turned-novel After lets readers indulge specific fantasies—not just through the fictionalized versions of celebrities, but through the author’s life as well.
Infinity Mirrored Room by Yayoi Kasuma, via Flickr
The author of 33 Artists in 3 Acts discusses whether being an artist means knowing how to do life drawing, art as a financial asset, and the rise of Lena Dunham.
David Foster Wallace’s big concerns live on in the interviews of Jaden and Willow Smith.
From "Leaves of Grass" by Geoffrey Farmer
The authors discuss the influence of visual art in their writing, working to rap music, and the hypnotic smell of oil paints.
In e-mail conversation with the UK music critic about “We Are the World,” “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and other “classics” of the genre.
The author of Between Gods on uncovering family secrets, converting, and the vulnerability of self-discovery.
Serial has 1.26 million listeners hungry for clues that might only add up to chaos: like W.G. Sebald or Toronto writer Martha Baillie, it plays on our impulse to make sense of it all.
Witch trials, whispers of genocide, and colonialism’s real legacy—our final dispatch from the Central African Republic.
The beloved leader of Frog Eyes discusses his first book, Clouds of Evil.
By attempting to discredit his victims, Ghomeshi lost his own credibility. This time, the public listened to the survivors; will they continue to?
Will Self via Wikimedia Commons
During a visit to his London home, the author and noted perambulator talks about his new novel, the pathologies and addictions of late capitalism, and his present “end-of-days consciousness.”
As Dana Goldstein writes in The Teacher Wars, education is at the centre of any national project. But are teachers agents of equality, or are they too often forced to be the opposite?
The National Gallery filmmaker talks about cultural elitism, film vs. digital, and the challenges of bringing artwork to life on screen.
The revival of The Four Horsemen Project uses dance, projection, and immersive sound to answer a call made by avant-garde poets 30 years ago.
Patrick Modiano’s Missing Person, like Christopher Nolan’s Memento, is about the selection of memory; perhaps we’re much worse than we recall.
Lenny Bruce, First Amendment crusader, broke ground for arguably every significant comic in his wake. Laughing at his material can seem like a civic duty. But does it hold up?
The author of My Struggle talks about memory, translating the Bible, and his most epic of autobiographies as an act of “re-staging something that is inside of me.”
The Maze Runner depicts a world without adults: a giant maze beset by giant monsters. Is it a utopia?

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