David Rakoff

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In a short video from earlier this year, the author of three essay collections, including his most recent, Half Empty (Doubleday, 2010), and a frequent contributor to This American Life, talks about why he writes, the nature of creativity, and why writing only gets harder. Rakoff died on Thursday night after a battle with cancer. He was forty-seven.

How to Fly a Horse

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"Creating is not magic, but work. And anyone can create. Necessity is not the mother of invention. You are." In this forthcoming book from Doubleday, debut author Kevin Ashton explores humanity's greatest creations, and the seemingly unremarkable individuals, gradual steps, multiple failures, and ordinary acts behind them.

Colson Whitehead

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"I have a good poker face because I'm half dead inside." Colson Whitehead reads excerpts from his new book, The Noble Hustle, chronicling his experience preparing for, and then competing in, the World Series of Poker. Read Kevin Nance's interview with Whitehead—on how he met his agent Nicole Aragi—in the July/August issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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