Category Archives: Noteworthy

The Story Prize 2016: A Tremendous Empathy

I recently reviewed a couple of books about patterns; similar subjects, different approaches. One dealt with patterns found in nature, in utilitarian objects, in random occurrences. The other examined the lore behind classic patterns—why the polka in polka dots, the etymology of “seersucker” (from the Hindi śīrśakkar, meaning “milk and sugar,” for the fabric’s alternating […]

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Jeanette Winterson on Not Cursing the Darkness

If you ask me, the first day of winter doesn’t fall on the Solstice. Rather, it comes on the first Monday after Daylight Saving time ends, when you look up from your desk at 5:00 and it’s dark out—that moment you realize that you’re not going to see much of the sun until March, except […]

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An Unhaunting

It’s easy enough to get in. There are no locks; you can enter as you like. Once you’re inside, though, there’s something unsettling. Everything looks to be in order, but you get an uneasy sense of abandonment. Someone used this place, once, on a regular basis—loved it, even. But now there’s a pervasive pall of […]

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A Yankee Girl’s Thoughts on Reading Go Set a Watchman

As others have noted, Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman is very much a first draft of a first novel. When PBS aired an episode tag on the book’s publication one of the people interviewed said the manuscript was published “without changing a word.” This is wholly believable. The dialogue is choppy. The internal monologues […]

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Dreaming of a Cold and Rainy Fourth

Confession time: I’m hoping it rains tomorrow. I know, I know—that’s a terrible thing to say. People have beach plans and grilling plans and fireworks-viewing plans. Me, I have a very beloved ten-year-old dog who is absolutely terrified of anything percussive, and I live in a neighborhood of obnoxious dumbass teenagers who like to blow […]

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“The Most Mundane and Human Holiday”

My relationship to New Year’s Day has changed as I’ve gotten older. It’s funny; you’d think that as a younger person I would have been more concerned with looking ahead, at all the untapped energy of those blank calendar pages. But maybe because they were so abundant I could take them for granted, I was […]

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Pocket Review: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories Hilary Mantel Henry Holt & Company, 2014 The worth of a book is in the reading, obviously, but there’s also a value to the conversation it creates. To the Lighthouse, Ulysses, On the Road—the aggregate comments they generated took on a life of its own. And a book doesn’t […]

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Happy Birthday, Theodore Roosevelt

Today is Dylan Thomas’s birthday, and Sylvia Plath’s, and Zadie Smith’s… the book blogosphere is practically melting from all those virtual candles. Happy birthday to those literary lights, and thanks for all the good writing. But Theodore Roosevelt was also born on this day, 156 years ago: police commissioner, governor, president, soldier, naturalist/hunter, explorer, one […]

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Fifty Scary Short Stories from Flavorwire

I am not, as a rule, a big fan of holidays—especially the ones with stuff. The thought of having to get things down from the attic and out of boxes and put them all around my house and then put them back in the boxes and take them back up to the attic in short […]

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The Birth of the Trailer

The history of book trailers dates back to the arrival of broadband Internet access and personal computers, for good reason—how else would you watch them? But there were a few outliers: TV spots for mass market blockbusters back in the early days of cable, and, apparently, some on film as well. Remember those odd shorts […]

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