How Pleasure Works

Is there a unifying engine of desire behind the variegated affections of humanity? Yale psychologist Paul Bloom attempts to parse the hidden mechanisms underlying our preferences, be they sexual, musical, or literary.

April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…