The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Josh Clark

FOMO: Fear of Missing Out In the Book Of Life, an entry on the difference between classical and romantic versions of fearing that one is missing out on life.

How the Cold War Created Astrobiology On Nautilus, Caleb Scharf writes about how one quick-thinking biologist's concern for human contamination of alien worlds led to the creation of an entire field of study.

Where Did Kurtz Come From? On Slate, Matthew Pearl writes about the idea that Robert Louis Stevenson may have inspired Joseph Conrad's classic character Kurtz in Heart of Darkness.

Phantom of the Orchestra In the New Republic Christopher Beam writes about the bizarre saga of Mamoru Samuragochi, a deaf classical composer who turned out to be neither.

The Underground Inferno That Created A Ghost Town On Narratively, Anthony Taille writes about the demise of Centralia, a Pennsylvania coal mining town that became abandoned after the coal beneath it caught fire.

The Insane Story of the Guy Who Killed the Guy Who Killed Lincoln In Washingtonian, Bill Jensen writes about Boston Corbett, the man who killed John Wilkes Booth, much to the country's dismay.

The Lost City of Z In a 2005 article in The New Yorker, David Grann writes a fascinating story of the search for a lost civilization which may have never existed in the last largely unexplored place in the Amazon Basin.

Don't Trust Dictionaries and Maps On Next Nature, Yunus Emre briefly covers a podcast episode of The Allusionist.

Charles Bukowski Rails Against 9-5 Jobs in Brutally Honest Letter (1986) On Open Culture, Josh Jones republishes a letter from the legendary writer and central character in Barfly.

On me in 3...2...1 In the inaugural post on the Groundhog Day Project, Robert EG Black writes about the possibility that the subtext of the movie Groundhog Day may hold the key to life.

A Citizen of the World: Orson Welles at 100 In the Los Angeles Review of Books, F.X. Feeney writes about recent revisions into investigating the character of Orson Welles, from overweight lout to tireless champion of human rights.