The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan

The Sport of Kings

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“Evolution is a ladder, and our aim is to climb it as quickly as possible,” says Henry Forge, one of the three principal characters of C.E. Morgan’s second novel, The Sport of Kings. Whether or not evolution is indeed “a ladder,” his selective views on the subject of natural selection form the crux of Morgan’s ambitious new book, a dynastic saga on horse-breeding and the conservative beliefs it can breed. It depicts father-daughter team Henry and Henrietta Forge as they strive to raise the perfect racehorse, employing the recently paroled Allmon Shaughnessy as a groom on their Kentucky farm. The trio’s travails are a microcosm of a changing America, of an America that’s becoming increasingly intermixed but is still suffering the ugly fallout from decades of prejudice and subjugation. Below the surface, it’s also an allegory for two competing visions of evolution itself, and of how society should develop into the future.

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HITTING SHELVES #34: Will & I by Clay Byars

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Will & I comes out today!

It’s a memoir by Clay Byars, who endured a near-fatal car crash and a massive stroke at age eighteen. Doctors said he would be paralyzed for life from the eyes down. As Clay struggles to recover—to literally regain his voice—his twin brother, Will, gets married and raises a family, while his former love interest moves on. Will & I is a fearsomely honest memoir about frustration, resilience, and the construction of personal dignity.

We asked the author one question. Continue reading

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America This is Quite Serious: Andrew Sullivan on Tyranny in America

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I know I’m not the only one who had been wishing Andrew Sullivan would say something about this insane election. I will remember to be careful what I wish for.

I wanted to hear from Sullivan because I knew he would be devastating on the rise of Donald Trump. Personally, I suspected I would enjoy what he has to say about Bernie Sanders. And the real treat — the opportunity to actually learn something — would be to watch him square his historical distaste for the Clintons with his support for what she know stands for, which is essentially a third Obama term. That is why I was JON-SNOW-IS-ALIVE! excited when Sullivan re-emerged earlier this year in New York Magazine. And while some of my expectations were met, his real point was much deeper, and more terrifying: “Democracies end when they are too democratic.”

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The title alone is bracing, given our fealty to full representation in our democra– er, republic. But like most things with Sullivan, the argument is more complicated than its clickbait headline. Continue reading

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Ash Consults the Necronomicon

Ash Consults the Necronomicon

What dark secrets does your future hold?

Ashley Wells, the movie critic behind The Boomstick Film Club, looks deep into her evil book in search of your new favorite movie.

Write the names of the last 3 movies you loved in the comments section, and Ash will consult her necronomicon and give you a personalized recommendation for what to watch next.

Klaatu barada nikto!


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America This is Quite Serious: “Fear” by Marilynne Robinson

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The massacre of 49 people in Orlando this weekend has, once again, raised enormous questions about the current state of American life.

Photograph by Paolo Pellegrin.

This incident, more than most others perhaps, stirs discussion. Not just because it is an election year, but also because of the many existing debates into which it painfully intrudes. Rather than the usual exasperations about the great need or the totaly futility of gun control, we are also debating the shooter’s supposed faith and affiliations with ISIS; his attack on the LGBT community when he himself might have also been gay; and how we should react in our politics, our policy, or for our own protection.

Almost all of these come back to one thing: Fear. The shooter’s, and our own.

In 2015, Marilynne Robinson wrote about this fear. As usual, she speaks from the perspective of a Christian. But — also as usual — you don’t need to share her faith to make sense of what she believes. She also speaks as an American, someone who loves her country and is a student of our long and complex history.

I have read this article at least five times since it was first published. Sadly, I often have reason to pull it up after hearing about another senseless mass murder with a firearm. I am sorry to say that I found it useful again this week.

America, this is quite serious, which is why “Fear” by Marilynne Robinson is worth a read.

Read more from our election year series “America This is Quite Serious.”

-Michael Moats

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Knowledge Porn

The Last Samurai

Over at The Millions, our very own Brian Hurley writes about Helen DeWitt’s The Last Samurai and novels that “perpetuate a seductive fantasy about the nature of intelligence.”

Read that thing.

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