The Paris Review

The Horsewomen of the Belle Époque

A story describing the world of the écuryères, “transgressive horsewomen of turn-of-the-century Paris” who played starring roles in the circuses of the time and were amongst the subjects of notable artists and authors.

Reading in the Age of Constant Distraction

A meditative piece on the value of reading books, in comparison with our digital lives – “the internet, is a nowhere space, a shallow time. It is a flat and impenetrable surface. But with a book, we dive in; we are sucked in; we are immersed, body and soul.”

The Crane Wife

A woman goes on a scientific free trip to observe water cranes in Texas days after calling off her engagement. In this powerful essay she reflects on the relationship she walked away from, and life ahead.

Sitting Up

A piece describing itself aptly as ‘A brief history of chairs’, looking at how different societies approach the act of sitting.

The Art of Biography

The Paris Review interviews a master of political biography, whose epic work on President Lyndon Johnson has only reached the start of his Presidency after four volumes. Caro eloquently described his philosophy on biography at a round table with Kurt Vonnegut in 1999 – “I realized that what I wanted to do was to use biography as a means of illuminating the times and the great forces that shape the times – particularly political power.”

The Lost Joys of the Screen Saver

This piece, an artistic appreciation of computer screen savers, doesn’t hesitate to use three long words where one short one would suffice, and cites sources from Borges to Escher. Alongside that it retains an infectious enthusiasm for these artefacts of an earlier age of the web.