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Presidential civility, literary utility, and Kim Kardashian tragedy: Today’s TNR Reader

Editor’s Note: We’ll be running the article recommendations of our friends at TNR Reader each afternoon on The Plank, just in time to print out or save for your commute home. Enjoy!

Why is such a premium placed on civility in presidential debates? 
The New Yorker | 5 min (1,286 words)

Are books irreducibly physical objects or just a vessel for data and ideas?
Slate | 6 min (1,610 words)

From Oedipus to Kim Kardashian: Jenny Diski on the evolution of tragedy.  
New Statesman | 16 min (3,968 words)

Howard Jacobson on bad boys' good books.
The Guardian |11 min (2,849 words)