How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read by Pierre Bayard - Not reading is our main way of relating to most literature, find out how to make the most of your ignorance.
Tense Present by David Foster Wallace - In one of his finest essays, DFW reviews a dictionary of English usage, thereby tackling everything from democracy and free will to racism in academia.
The Rise of the Essay by Zadie Smith - Why do novelists write essays? And what excatly is an essay these days?
Words by Tony Judt - One of the very best essayists refelcts on his relationship with words.
The Birth of ‘The New Journalism’ by Tom Wolfe - Who put the ‘I’ in journalism? Tom Wolfe seems to think it was him and his friends.
Own Your Own Words by Steven Johnson - The ubiquity of Google has made it easy to gain control of a word or phrase, what effect is this new power having?
A Linguistic Big Bang by Lawrence Osborne - “For the first time in history, scholars are witnessing the birth of a language, a complex sign system being created by deaf children in Nicaragua.”
Cyber-Neologoliferation by James Gleick - A guided tour through the strange world of the lexicographer.
The Language of the Future by Henry Hitchings - A fascinating look at how English is mutating as it becomes the world’s lingua franca.
Printed Words, Computers, and Democratic Societies by Irving Louis Horowitz - This essay from 1983 looks forward to the advent home copmuting and the “videotext revolution”.