From the category archives:


Forbidden Fictions

June 24, 2014

First published one year ago in The Public Humanist… My husband is teaching a class called “Forbidden Fictions” this summer, to a self-selected group of high school almost-seniors. One of his first thoughts: “This might be the only opportunity I ever get to teach Lolita to high school students.” He reread the book with far more discomfort […]

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Falling into poetry from fiction, one year on…

April 24, 2014

This piece was published one year ago in The Public Humanist: It’s National Poetry Month, and while we could drink our way through an entire month of pure poetic delight without the well ever running dry, we (whisper) might not want to stop reading stories. Or, we might feel more at ease reading stories. Poems […]

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nothing says “the holidays” like nepotism

November 9, 2013

…and what more appropriate time to celebrate my family than as Thanksgiving approaches. Halloween is behind us, and I am in no way encouraging any of you to put up Christmas decorations. All in good time. (It has been fun to scheme and dream about the perfect Hanukkah/Thanksgiving fusion menu. I propose latkes with Mama […]

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“Therein…lies the richness of reading”

October 3, 2013

In his brief, memorable novel How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, Mohsin Hamid reminds us of the true relationship between readers and writers. Like all books, this…book is a co-creative project. When you watch a TV show or movie, what you see looks like what it physically represents. A man looks like a […]

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The Golden Treasury of Poetry; Louis Untermeyer, 1959

April 30, 2013

Before we leave National Poetry Month behind for another year—though in our hearts every month may be poetry month—I want to express my gratitude to my parents for bringing poetry into my life from an early age, for reading poems aloud to me—from A. A. Milne to the fella referred to in an infamous student […]

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Journey to the River Sea; Eva Ibbotson, 2001.

February 4, 2013

In the throes of a relentless virus from a week before Christmas until long after New Year’s, my plans to read grownup books over the holidays flew out the window, and when I could read at all, all I was good for was yet another rereading of a handful of Eva Ibbotson’s YA novels: The […]

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Sweet Tooth; Ian McEwan, 2012

February 1, 2013

At the end—or so I’d hoped, anyway—of a dreary and relentless sinus infection, when the second round of antibiotics had started to kick in (this was long before the third round) and the pain that had held my face and forehead in its searing claws released its grip enough that I could read again, some […]

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One for the books…

December 3, 2012

For a laugh, listen to Joe Queenan, author of, most recently, One for the Books, talking about his prolific reading on NPR. For a sigh, scroll down and read the comments, which prove Wavy Gravy’s assertion that if you don’t have a sense of humor, it just isn’t funny. Dios mío, NPR, wherefore art thy […]

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“I thought I was the only one!”

September 24, 2012

A sweet paean to the  Betsy-Tacy books in The New York Times this week, illustrated with a Lois Lenski drawing of Tib, Betsy and Tacy (left to right) sitting on a fence, barefoot as children should be, and (spoiler alert) apparently post-haircuts. Hard to believe that the years those first books describe are more than a […]

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reading: interactive communication ne plus ultra

May 2, 2012

It’s been too long, my darlings. Working like a fiend at my day job and finishing a draft of a novel in the wee hours filled my winter as the snow we didn’t have might have filled in the cracks and crevices in the landscape, quieting the noise of the world and making it difficult […]

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