I, Reader

I opened the [Kindle app] on my next subway ride downtown. It began with approximately two paragraphs of the book, lit up on the screen of my phone. I tapped the side of the screen and it flew to the next three paragraphs, and so on. A few minutes passed and I observed that I was reading peacefully. It was both an entirely new reading experience, like I had a secret that fit inside the palm of my hand, but it was also familiar: In the fifth grade I was taught to speed-read on a machine that projected sentences onto a wall at high speeds, sentences in the white box of a screen, flashing in a dark room.

Published: Nov 29, 2010
Length: 16 minutes (4,074 words)

Signposts in a Strange Land: Writers Roundtable on New Orleans

“The Bywater, two neighborhoods down from the French Quarter, where I live and work, is the most active new art scene—it’s totally exploded recently. We’ve been calling it Williamsburg South because we keep meeting kids from Brooklyn and we can’t keep up with the new writers and artists who’ve been moving into the neighborhood. New coffee shops, new galleries—we don’t know what’s going on, but it’s kind of exciting. And also scary, I mean, what do they want with us? Rents aren’t that cheap since Katrina.”

Published: Nov 10, 2010
Length: 29 minutes (7,306 words)

The High Is Always the Pain and the Pain Is Always the High

A chronicle of dependency in seven parts, about poker, Lolita, and how to lose $18,000 in 36 hours

Published: Oct 8, 2010
Length: 20 minutes (5,173 words)

Planet Zoo

More than a generation of Americans have been urged to save the Earth. After surveying the current climate and every H.G. Wells-inspired geoengineering project, Anthony Doerr says it’s time to pray for Homo sapiens.

Published: Sep 24, 2010
Length: 20 minutes (5,239 words)

Invasion of the Bayou Snatchers

Not all oil-soaked animals in Louisiana deserve saving. Nicole Pasulka attends fashion shows, braises venison, and heads into the bayou to understand the varmint of New Orleans: nutria.

Published: Jun 1, 2010
Length: 8 minutes (2,022 words)

A Distribution of Chairs

My visit to West Bengal comes more than 16 years after India’s parliament ordered the nation’s local governments to save a third of their seats for women. At that time, the Women’s Reservation Bill passed with hardly any discussion and no opposition, also demanding quotas for certain castes and tribes. Today, India has more women in government than any country on the planet. And yet, India’s parliament is still debating whether to pass a women’s quota for its own seats.

Author: Anrica Deb
Published: Apr 14, 2010
Length: 29 minutes (7,410 words)