The Best of Literary Hub
20+ most popular Literary Hub articles, as voted by our community.
A daily literary website highlighting the best in contemporary fiction, nonfiction, and criticism.
These are currently making the rounds on Refind.
How Smell—the Most Underrated Sense—Was Overpowered By Our Other Senses
Despite the wonderful contributions that smell makes to our lives, it’s undervalued in modern Western societies. Polls conducted in both the US and the UK reported that of our five main senses, sme…
“But Where’s Its Anus?” On How We Imagine Alien Lifeforms
I first read Carl Sagan’s Contact and Cosmos in high school, when I was working at a bookstore that let us borrow any book we had at least two copies of on the shelves. I loved them then and was ex…
What Kind of Pandemic Storytelling Do We Actually Need?
With its sweeping popularity, HBO’s The Last of Us left me wondering: what are we looking for in our pandemic stories now? I stumbled into a pandemic story in the introduction of Jenny Odell’s new …
10 of the Best Indie Bookstores in the World
This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of Independent Bookstore Day, the one-day book party held all across the country on the last Saturday in April every year to celebrate indie bookstores large…
On the Wild West of Internet Regulations and the Birth of Pornhub
In the fictional world of the Broadway musical Avenue Q, Kate Monster is a puppet with a sweet demeanor, a lavender-colored turtleneck, and a bob hairstyle. She works as an assistant kindergarten t…
Literary Hub on Books
The 50 Best Contemporary Novels Under 200 Pages
About a month ago, we published a list of 50 of the best contemporary novels over 500 pages, for those of you who suddenly have a lot of extra time on your hands. But for those of us who suddenly h…
«The winner of the 2001 Man Booker prize is a wonderful if melancholic novel about memory, aging, and what it is to live a good»
75 Nonfiction Books You Should Read This Summer
Must a beach read be a novel? (If you answered yes, head here.) If you answered no please read on for a look at the nonfiction titles we’re most excited about this summer. From the history of food …
Literary Hub on Fiction
Did Tolkien Write The Lord of the Rings Because He Was Avoiding His Academic Work?
Umberto Eco has examined our ongoing fascination with the Middle Ages and listed ten different versions including the “shaggy medievalism” of works like Beowulf. Much of J.R.R. Tolkien’…
How to Review a Novel
How do novel reviews begin? Just like novels very often: Motherless boys may be pitied by mothers but are not infrequently envied by other boys. For the friends of the Piontek family, August 31st, …
Literary Hub on History
Doubting Shakespeare’s Identity Isn’t a Conspiracy Theory
The Shakespeare authorship question—the theory that William Shakespeare might not have written the works published under his name—is the most horrible, vexed, unspeakable subject in the history of …
How Christianity Influenced the Development of Capitalism in Medieval Europe
In many ways, the story of medieval economic thought begins with the life of the founder of the Franciscan Order, Saint Francis of Assisi. He was born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone in 1181 in Um…
Literary Hub on Language
What Science Can Tell Us About How We Express Ourselves
When Bara parents on Madagascar tell their children to show tahotsy, or label their children’s behavior as tahotsy, they introduce their children to the cultural goal of obedience in the hierarchy.…
Generation Amazing!!! How We’re Draining Language of Its Power
I noticed it recently when I scheduled my dog for a veterinarian’s appointment. The person who answered the phone was friendly enough and greeted me warmly, and then I made my request. I’d like to …
«What is it that makes us talk this way? That to express a modicum of emotion, we have to reach for words like fantastic, incredible, unbelievable, and unreal, words meant to convey a certain level of magnitude, but that no longer carry their original weight.»
Literary Hub on Peace
The Many Wars Within the Last Great War
Once it was enough to explain the Second World War as a military reaction by peace-loving nations to the imperial ambitions of Hitler and Mussolini in Europe and the Japanese military in East Asia.…
Literary Hub on Poems
43 of the Most Iconic Short Stories in the English Language
Last year, I put together this list of the most iconic poems in the English language; it’s high time to do the same for short stories. But before we go any further, you may be asking: What do…
Literary Hub on Poetry
The Most Important Poem of the 20th Century: On T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” at 100
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the publication of “The Waste Land,” we invited four writers and academics—Beci Carver, Jahan Ramazani, Robert Crawford, and David Barnes—to discuss…
Everyone Misunderstands the Point of Fight Club
“The first rule about fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.” “The second rule about fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.” But the most important rule of fight club is: Fuck the r…
Literary Hub on Psychedelics
John Waters on Taking LSD at 70, Clarence Thomas, and Reading Bad Reviews
The legendary filmmaker, author, and speaker John Waters is a font of wisdom both profound and profane. In Mr. Know-It-All, an essay collection that recalls his film career and his adventures past …
Literary Hub on Women
The Problematic Myth of Florence Nightingale
“No matter whether this treatment is carried out by sorcerers, priests, doctors, or old women, we find examples of the historic ancestry of modern nursing and the earliest forms of the art.” –Lavin…
Literary Hub on Writing
What If… Listicles Are Actually an Ancient Form of Writing and Narrative?
Measurement was a crucial organizing principle in ancient Egypt, but metrology itself does not begin with nilometers. To understand its place in human culture, we have to trace its roots back furth…
Baroque, Purple, and Beautiful: In Praise of the Long, Complicated Sentence
The meter-tall stone that has come to be called the Mesha Stele, its smooth, black basalt carved some sixteen centuries before it was unearthed from the packed, red sand of Dhiban, Jordan in 1868, …
These are some all-time favorites with Refind users.
What Makes a Great Opening Line?
Maybe it has happened to you: a stranger catches your eye while you peruse the plant identification section of the library, or wander a mossy hillock speckled with Amanita bisporigera, or shuffle a…
How It Feels To Chase a Tornado Across Three States
In the moments before entering every supercell thunderstorm, there’s a moment of pause that washes over me. It usually comes as daylight vanishes, a few seconds after I turn on my headlights; just …
Unhealthy, Smelly, and Strange: Why Italians Avoided Tomatoes for Centuries
Just when did tomatoes arrive in Europe? We can pinpoint many events of the Spanish Conquest down to the hour, but historians haven’t been able to determine even the decade that tomatoes made landf…
The 25 Most Iconic Book Covers in History
First things first. What makes a book cover iconic? There are no hard and fast rules, of course—like anything else, you know it when you see it. But in order to compile this list, I looked for reco…
Why Smarter People Might Be More Prone to Irrational Biases
Are some people less susceptible to bias? How about those who are typically considered smart? We might like to think that people who are more intelligent can discern what is right or wrong and appl…
What is Refind?
Every day Refind picks the most relevant links from around the web for you. is one of more than 10k sources we monitor.
How does Refind curate?
It’s a mix of human and algorithmic curation, following a number of steps:
- We monitor 10k+ sources and 1k+ thought leaders on hundreds of topics—publications, blogs, news sites, newsletters, Substack, Medium, Twitter, etc.
- In addition, our users save links from around the web using our Save buttons and our extensions.
- Our algorithm processes 100k+ new links every day and uses external signals to find the most relevant ones, focusing on timeless pieces.
- Our community of active users gets the most relevant links every day, tailored to their interests. They provide feedback via implicit and explicit signals: open, read, listen, share, mark as read, read later, «More/less like this», etc.
- Our algorithm uses these internal signals to refine the selection.
- In addition, we have expert curators who manually curate niche topics.
The result: lists of the best and most useful articles on hundreds of topics.
How does Refind detect «timeless» pieces?
We focus on pieces with long shelf-lives—not news. We determine «timelessness» via a number of metrics, for example, the consumption pattern of links over time.
How many sources does Refind monitor?
We monitor 10k+ content sources on hundreds of topics—publications, blogs, news sites, newsletters, Substack, Medium, Twitter, etc.
Can I submit a link?
Indirectly, by using Refind and saving links from outside (e.g., via our extensions).
How can I report a problem?
When you’re logged-in, you can flag any link via the «More» (...) menu. You can also report problems via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Who uses Refind?
200k+ smart people start their day with Refind. To learn something new. To get inspired. To move forward. Our apps have a 4.9/5 rating.
Is Refind free?
Yes, it’s free!
How can I sign up?
Head over to our homepage and sign up by email or with your Twitter or Google account.