Poverty is a touchy subject for Americans, evoking as it does an awkward mixture of empathy and reproach. Its not that we lack compassion for the grizzled old man shuffling down the subway platform in his paper bag shoes; its just that we cant help holding him somewhat accountable for his own misery.
It happened on a mercifully temperate June afternoon out in front of the Brooklyn Heights outpost of Housing Works Thrift Shop. A willowy brunette with flowing, Botticelli-esque hair stood at a rickety folding table, a winsome expression on her face as she tried to lure in random passersby.
Its hard to overstate the influence that Julia Child had on the American food landscape. The engine or inspiration behind countless cookbooks and television shows, Julia was a one-woman industry decades before such a thing even existed.
1968, in a tone of unassailable authority, an ethicist by the name of Joseph Fletcher stated that parents should feel no guilt about putting a Downs syndrome baby away.
If you celebrated the 2009 announcement that political wag Thomas Frank was resurrecting his cult mag, The Baffler, only to watch, crestfallen, as the effort petered out after just one issue, take heart: The Baffler lives again.
Wild, Cheryl Strayeds new memoir, is a book that needs to be loved. If Wild were a person, it would be scouring online personals and begging friends to set it up on a date.
The other day, I walked into my local cafe and encountered a startling sighta well-dressed man, inching toward 50, rocking back and forth over his cappuccino with an anguished, far-away look on his face.
Skepticism seems to be a natural by-product of literary nonfiction. Today we tend to think of ourselves as uniquely cynical.
What is the role of memory in our lives? How do our memories of the past define and shape how we envision ourselves in the present and the future?
Several years ago I had the opportunity to interview one of the doyennes of the publishing world, an editor whose critical instincts and unerring taste have earned her a loyal stable of writers whose names regularly appear on all the right kinds of lists (Best of, Bestseller, Shortlists).