Culture

Do Self-Help Books Really Help?

As far as individual books go, controversy is normal and often welcomed. In terms of disagreement on entire genres, however, one category up for discussion is that of self-help literature. These types of books have been around for over a century, even if they seem to be a relatively modern occurrence, and their popularity has been on the rise. In 2018, sales of self-help books in Britain were up 20% from the previous year, landing at a solid three million books sold. Celebrities have even gotten in on the business, with Russell Brand and Fearne Cotton having written and published their own books. It is estimated that the genre will be worth 13.2 billion dollars in the US market by 2022.

Music to be Murdered

On January 17th, Marshall Mathers — aka Eminem — quietly released his 10th major-label album, entitled Music to Be Murdered By. The title and cover image are a nod to Alfred Hitchcock’s eponymous work from 1958, and the “Alfred” interlude and outro are the famed director’s orated introduction and closing from his own album. But Eminem didn’t use the theme to make a concept album. Instead, with production by Dr. Dre, Tay Keith, and D.A. Doman, among others, the 64-minute album has Eminem performing a balancing act that invokes his crude alter ego — Slim Shady — with rabid foolishness. It has him rapping alongside younger artists such as Juice WRLD (in his first posthumous musical appearance) and Young M.A, all while still trying to provoke nostalgia by emulating his D12-era self and sharing the scene with established rappers like Black Thought and Royce Da 5’9”. Unfortunately, for a body of work that takes its title from the so-called “King of Suspense,” the album leaves the listener largely unmoved.

Dear Mac,

Circles is Mac Miller’s first, and likely only posthumous release. The album comes seventeen months after the singer/rapper was found dead in his home from an apparent drug overdose. His death sent shockwaves throughout the hip-hop and music communities at large.

The Secret to Writing Well

The Secret to Writing Well

While people may say, “oh, it’s nothing, anybody could do it,” that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do or understand. Like flying a plane, knowing how to write well takes more than knowing the function of the buttons at your disposal. Yes, it’s helpful and possibly important to know the descriptive elements of visual art or the narrative flow of classical music when it comes to writing, but it is not enough to make one’s writing great.

Why is Cynicism So Prevalent?

Why is Cynicism So Prevalent?

Climate disasters, endless Middle Eastern conflicts, nationalist uprisings, xenophobia, and government surveillance. Most societies today are combatting at least one of these predicaments. The increased speed at which information travels has made people aware of problems that should not be persisting in a progressive social order. Aside from being a unifier of sorts and an aid to the consolidation of voices, mass communication may have contributed to widespread cynicism, making us distrustful of the principles and norms around us.

Fascism Can Be as Glittery as the Tyrrhenian Sea

Fascism Can Be as Glittery as the Tyrrhenian Sea

Last summer I visited the Amalfi Coast in Italy, the last leg of my first real vacation to Europe. Time didn’t seem to move in Amalfi. I did nothing but gorge myself on pizza and pasta, and roast in the sun on a different beach each afternoon. I turned five shades darker in the span of five days. I ate pistachio gelato until I was sick.

Literary Value and Zadie Smith’s “Tower of Shame”

Literary Value and Zadie Smith’s “Tower of Shame”

An interview with Zadie Smith recently appeared in The Guardian, and, in the title, was a quote from Smith herself: “I’ve never finished Proust or even the Brothers Karamazov.” Only in the subtitle is there any information about Smith’s responses to the multitude of dependent-clause prompts that read a little like a feedback form: The book I’m currently reading. The book I wish I’d written. The last book that made me cry. Despite the format of the interview, it still manages to provide plenty of lovely insight into the interests and reading habits of one of the world’s most famous authors.

Honey Boy Is *Literal* Therapy.

Honey Boy Is *Literal* Therapy.

The immersiveness of Honey Boy goes like this: You imagine playing your own father in an autobiopic. You imagine doing it so well that the audience believes you are not you, that you are your father, and a little boy with a different childhood is you. Maybe this pleases you in some way, because maybe you feel connected to your father only by exploring the pain he might have caused you.

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