Have a heart for Roiphe’s past

Why do so many people want to read Art and Madness, Anne Roiphe’s memoir about sex, booze and literary ambition?

Continue Reading May 12, 2011 at 11:05 AM 1 comment

Why I love Joan Micklin Silver

I wish every movie I saw had the effect on me that director Joan Micklin Silver’s Hester Street, Crossing Delancey and Chilly Scenes of Winter have whenever I see them (three times each so far).

Continue Reading April 14, 2011 at 9:58 PM 3 comments

The Chinese Mother Manifesto

Amy Chua sure has hit a lot of raw nerves. Her book’s premise — that mothers need to practice gonzo parenting on their kids — has freaked people out about childrearing, education, class status, work, marriage, intermarriage and sex. On The Wall Street Journal website, which triggered this national asthma attack by running an excerpt from the book called “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior,” you’ll even find an angry thread about immigration. What argument hasn’t this woman provoked?


Continue Reading January 27, 2011 at 10:44 AM 1 comment

In defense of long books

The influential purveyors of culture who ought to be defending big smart books are throwing in their lot with a babyish digital culture that is spamming our minds with games and sound bites and what The Onion louchely calls the 24-second news cycle.

Continue Reading January 13, 2011 at 12:55 PM 1 comment

Giving Borges his due

Translator and editor Suzanne Jill Levine talks about Borges and his five volumes of nonfiction and poetry published by Penguin Classics. 7-minute audio essay and pdf transcript.

Continue Reading December 17, 2010 at 2:46 PM Leave a comment

My old flame

On my way to work one morning, I spied an old flame. He had an unkempt, professorial look and he was dragging a trolley full of books behind him. Could I still be enamored of such a shlumpy looking personage?

Continue Reading December 12, 2010 at 4:30 PM 1 comment

Cooking and Eating Tips

Tom Hudgens gives a brief overview of the recipes and basic food philosophy that went into the production of The Commonsense Kitchen: 500 Recipes and Lessons for a Hand-crafted Life.

Continue Reading December 5, 2010 at 9:24 PM Leave a comment

Just let me sleep!

A computer scientist I know reportedly gets by on four or five hours of sleep a night. By four in the morning, and often earlier than that, he is at his computer working out an algorithm, answering e-mail or reading the blogs he follows. Much to my dismay, I just waste my time when I can’t sleep, and the only thing I manage to accomplish is a higher state of anxiety.

Continue Reading December 5, 2010 at 4:34 PM 2 comments

A shoutout to the unheralded victorious

Many of us little people indeed have a speck of singing ability, literary skill or Scrabble prowess, but unless we record it for posterity, nobody will ever know how we excelled.

Continue Reading November 28, 2010 at 4:03 PM 2 comments

The various offerings of the world

I am still trying to figure out why some consumer products companies do not tell you where they produce their goods. Aren’t they proud of their manufacturing plants?

Continue Reading November 21, 2010 at 8:34 PM 2 comments

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