In the 1930s, Americans fell in love with Czechoslovakia and Spain; today, it’s Ukraine. What happens when one finds a “second mother country”?
Books about law are often utilitarian. But perhaps sometimes we should embrace sublime uselessness.
In the 1740s, Bordeaux developed some of the first modern theories of racial difference, even as the city profited from the slave trade.
The translator can’t go where the writer hasn’t gone. But it feels good to bound eagerly toward a text’s limits.
“The asylum system is a rejection of anything that disrupts American universalism. It’s kicking people out who offer an alternative view of the world.”
Railroads—in the Jim Crow South just as in today’s Ukraine—employ physical infrastructure to create racial divisions.
If you play a videogame and you avoided or never met a particular queer character, did they exist in the game for you?
America’s premier literary magazine promises to offer a cosmopolitan view of the world beyond New York City. Does it deliver?
There has long been a fear that media only makes room for one Black writer at a time. But that’s always been difficult to prove—until now.
A fundamental truth about bestseller lists? They are not a neutral window into what the public is really reading.
What kind of world does Spotify—through its algorithmic sorting of millions of users’ desires, through our aggregated listening—produce for us to hear?
People who use audiobooks are expanding what reading is and can be. But they are also incentivizing publishers to change, in unexpected ways.
Industry is already using data to remake culture. To reverse the tide—to make culture more equitable—we need to decode that data for ourselves.
A behind-the-scenes look at what Public Books editors and staff have been reading this month.
"My first book was used by actual librarians, planners, architects. I realized, wow I can do work that matters beyond the academy."
“It’s why science fiction matters so much to me: I’m trying to dislocate our sense of the normal.”
In 1857, the largest rebellion against the British East India Company took place. And famed poet Mirza Ghalib was there to witness it all.
“I was more impressed by what I heard from my mother than by what I read in the library.”