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Posts tagged bookforum

innovators abroad - bookforum.com / current issue

My essay for Bookforum, in print in the latest issue, is now online. It’s about new books by Walter Isaacson and Steven Johnson and the worship of innovation.

For Bookforum, I reviewed David Nutt’s Drugs Without the Hot Air, a stellar primer on drugs policy and pharmacology. Nutt is a British scientist and former drugs policy advisor who was sacked for publishing an article claiming that ecstasy was safer than horseback riding, as well as for advocating for a more empirically minded drugs policy. (For example, he thought that cannabis should classified as Class C, the least restrictive category for illegal drugs, but his recommendations were disregarded.) His book can be a touch dry, but it’s rigorously empirical and without the usual hysteria or emotionalism that accompanies writing about drugs. Very much recommended.

My story MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD [A Drone By Any Other Name] is in the drones issue of The New Inquiry. The issue features a great roster of contributors, and I’ve been very impressed by the design. TNI is only $2/month, so consider subscribing.

And my review of Blaine Harden’s Escape from Camp 14, which is in the Bookforum summer issue, is now available online.

My latest Jewcy column is about Jon Stewart and his cultivated ignorance about all things Jewish.

And for Bookforum, I reviewed Blaine Harden’s Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West. It’s only in print for now but may be online later in the month.

Over at Bookforum, I reviewed The Letter Killers Club by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky.

Certain writers are too weird to fully belong to their own time. Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky—a Soviet writer obsessed with Kant and Shakespeare, whose own life barely rippled beyond a small coterie of Muscovite writers before his death in 1950—is among them. Krzhizhanovsky wrote philosophical works of fiction that veer between chattiness and, in the fine translations of Joanne Turnbull and Nikolai Formozov, unexpected elegance. They are tales of bodies suspended between life and death, of an animated Eiffel Tower that rampages across Europe, and of towns where dreams are made literal. To read these stories is to be buttonholed by a slightly mad but unfailingly interesting stranger desperate for a sympathetic ear. In Krzhizhanovsky, we find the aphorisms of a dime store philosopher and the polyphony of a schizophrenic.

Read the rest here.