The Last Living Bohemian in Chelsea Tells All

June 17, 2015 – The composer and pianist Gerald Busby on the famously louche (and recently sold) Chelsea Hotel.

Four Types of Opinion Pieces I Will Not Read

May 20, 2015 – In a grumpy midnight mood, this too-frequent pundit made a list of the types of op-eds that he will avoid.

B.B. King's Inimitable Sound

May 15, 2015 – No one made a guitar talk as King did—as an extension of his entire soul, an instrument of human expression.

The Coffee of Civilization in Iceland

April 16, 2015 – One might see the Icelandic coffee cult as one case of a too-little-touched-on aspect of the human comedy: our tactical amnesia about trade.

The Pure Artistry of Frank Sinatra

April 8, 2015 – He is the most emotionally rewarding and wide-ranging of all American singers. But Sinatra resistance is still found in surprising corners.


February 23, 2015 – Richard Avedon’s photography was visually arousing and still within The New Yorker’s vision of itself.

Laugh Factory

November 17, 2014 – A new biography by Richard Zoglin will make even Hope-haters curious about his good early work.

The Franklin Ship Myth, Verified

September 24, 2014 – The Franklin expedition has long provided the single most eventful mythological moment in Canada’s admittedly not-exactly-limitlessly mythologized history.

An Anatomy of Endings

September 3, 2014 – What made the “Sopranos” ending unique, if not original, was not the absolutism of its ambiguity but the clarity of its choice.

The Conscientiousness of Kidspeak

July 20, 2014 – The language of adolescents is an instance of compression in balance with concision. What sounds limited to the outsider is as nuanced as Henry James.

Many Moons Redux

June 20, 2014 – Pluto, it seems, may be accepted back into the club of planets.

The Strange Triumph of “The Little Prince”

April 29, 2014 – Saint-Exupéry’s book has become a classic, but we are no closer to penetrating the central riddle: What is it about?

Of Hippos and Kings

March 19, 2014 – “1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed” adds an archaic flavor to the current stew of apprehension about where the world is going.

Behind Two Good Movies, Two Great Books

January 22, 2014 – A word of praise for two books eclipsed by the films they inspired.


Writers and Rum

January 9, 2014 – I’m just old enough to have seen that literary culture of really big drinkers—and a real culture it was.


Two Ships

December 30, 2013 You don’t have to have a very enlarged sense of history to remember what happened last time Western Civilization sped around the corner from ‘13 to ‘14. Not so good.

"America's Cleanest Writer Goes His Lonely Way": The Letters of J.F. Powers

October 1, 2013 – With the sudden appearance of a “liberal” Pope, there may be no more serendipitous moment to be thinking again about the writer J. F. Powers.

Why Teach English?

August 27, 2013 – Whence, and where, and why the English major? The subject is in every mouth—or, at least, is getting kicked around agitatedly in columns and reviews and Op-Ed pieces. 

Mandatory Drug Sentences and Moral Change

August 16, 2013 – Even if the new approach to drug-offender sentencing is the first decisive small stone pitched against a national shame, its specific effect on the imprisoned will still be minimal.


May 9, 2011 – On the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Adam Gopnik examines the legacy of the Civil War in the North.