Rethinking Howard Zinn

While reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’s We Were Eight Years in Power a couple years ago, I came across some information that required consideration. In the book Coates addresses some remarks made by Howard Zinn regarding the Civil War, which Coates had written about for The Atlantic. These are Zinn’s comments, made a few months before he…

A World That Is Disappointing Us Every Single Day

A little while ago I read a great interview with Bob Odenkirk. When asked if he thought of himself as a cynical person, this is what he said: Most people who are described as cynical are truly not. They’re idealists, and the cynical points of view that they espouse are literally their idealistic mentalities reacting…

Supplication to the Gods of Television

A show where people watch The Joy of Painting and try to do what Bob Ross does. They should probably be drinking; in fact, the source material lends itself perfectly to a drinking game. Take a drink anytime he paints the indication of something, creates the illusion of something, or tells the audience they get…

Who would we complain to, anyway?

“I gazed at Kobe harbour, sparkling leadenly far below, and listened carefully, hoping to pick up some echoes from the past, but nothing came to me. Just the sounds of silence. That’s all. But what are you going to do? We’re talking about things that happened over thirty years ago. “Over thirty years ago. There is…

Just Kids, by Patti Smith

Four stars, read in February 2017. I didn’t know much about Patti Smith before this and hadn’t heard of Robert Mapplethorpe at all, so this book was a springboard into a huge number of artistic works for me to explore. I’ve been listening to her first album, Horses, since finishing the book a few days…

Because Today We Remember Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am taking home this book, which I’ve had on my to-read shelf for years, probably. I’m trying to do a thing this year in which I just actually read things, instead of adding to an exponentially-growing list of things I could never possibly get all the way through. (I’m also going through that list, trying to…

Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Reading List

1. The Bible—“to learn that it’s easier to be told by others what to think and believe than it is to think for yourself.” 2. The System of the World by Isaac Newton—”to learn that the universe is a knowable place.” 3. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin—”to learn of our kinship with all other life on Earth.”…

David Bowie’s Reading List

The Age of American Unreason, Susan Jacoby, 2008 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz, 2007 The Coast of Utopia(trilogy), Tom Stoppard, 2007 Teenage: The Creation of Youth 1875-1945, Jon Savage, 2007 Fingersmith, Sarah Waters, 2002 The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens, 2001 Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder, Lawrence Weschler, 1997 A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1890-1924, Orlando Figes,…

Postcards From the Edge

2016 was almost over. There were only four days left, but we couldn’t even make it that far. The cruelest thing is that she was fine. They’d just told us she was okay. I’d just thought it was safe to relax. And then I went to work the next day, and Carrie Fisher was gone….

Matilda, Mara Wilson, and Me

I started out writing this as a review for my book blog, but it turned into (1) a pretty personal post that is also (2) not at all a review. I know I have severe anxiety, but I hadn’t realized how many specific things I would have in common with Wilson. Not being in a great…

The Beats: A Graphic History, by Paul Buhle

Four stars, read in August 2015. I read On the Road five years ago, my first foray into the collective oeuvre of the Beat Generation. It wasn’t a huge success. But I’ve always had it in my head that I want to explore their work more, and I’m really into graphic biographies right now, so…

Black History Month

I took an online course about the Civil War from Eric Foner at Columbia, and what he had to say about abolitionists was the most accurate thing I’ve ever heard on the subject. I’m not totally sure whether it’s okay to quote him directly, but this was the gist of it: We might almost say…

For Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Angela Davis. Coretta Scott King. Fannie Lou Hamer. Malcolm X. Shirley Chisholm. Booker T. Washington. Frederick Douglass. Colia Lafayette Clark. Ruby Bridges. Daisy Bates. Maya Angelou. Amelia Boynton Robinson. Stokely Carmichael. Harriet Tubman. Septima Poinsette Clark. John Lewis. James Farmer. Ida B. Wells. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sheyann Webb. Diane Nash. Rosa Parks. Jesse Jackson….

Fablehaven and the Invasion of the Sexist Cover Art

One night several years ago, I found Fablehaven at the grocery store for five dollars and decided to try it out. Within about a week I’d lent it to my husband and bought a second copy to give to our niece, and they both also loved it. We recommended it to my parents and my siblings…

Heartbroken.

The year 2016 is starting off cruelly. I didn’t even know I felt such an affinity with David Bowie until Monday morning, when I found out he was gone. But I’ve loved Alan Rickman actively for almost half my life. What was the first role you saw him in? Mine was Colonel Brandon in Sense and…

Elena Ferrante

I only made it about halfway through this interview with the Paris Review, because I was at work and couldn’t maintain the thread of it. But all of this, everything I shared here, I find so beautiful. I need to get around to one of her books; I’ve had her on my list for a while….

Louise Erdrich

It can be a little boring sometimes when writers talk about their methods, but I found Erdrich’s pretty fascinating in the conversation she had with the Paris Review. I love that she writes by hand, sitting in an armchair; I can totally see myself writing that way. And how she says that when she’s writing…

Wallace Shawn and the Paris Review

I have never read a Paris Review interview before, and I have never seen or heard a word from Wallace Shawn outside The Princess Bride. I feel immediately embarrassed about it, but I’ve basically always thought of him as Vizzini. Of all people for me to feel such a connection with! I’m floored by his interview….