Author Archive

Netflix’s New Joan Didion Documentary Speaks to Pain and Memory

I cannot watch a documentary about Joan Didion impartially any more than her nephew, Griffin Dunne, could make an impartial film about his legendary aunt. To say that Didion, now 82, has had an impact on me is an understatement.

How Do We Decide What to Read?

There are too many beloved books and not enough prizes, and somehow they get lost underneath all the news about the really important books that I should be reading.

Thomas Hardy’s Rule-Breaking Heroines

Hardy humanizes his heroines' ambitions, the intensity of their feelings, their fancies and passions. In both Bathsheba Everdene and Tess Durbeyfield, Hardy writes intelligent women who work hard and write their own rulebooks.

Florida’s Nonfiction Borderland in Sunshine State

By switching back and forth between epistolary writing, imagined scenes, memoir, and journalism, Gerard shows her range of skills and voice while keeping her story contained to one location—Pinellas County, Florida, where Gerard grew up, and dips in and out of in her adulthood.

The Grieving Mother of Modern Dance: Isadora by Amelia Gray

The book allows our gaze to lurk in the shadows cast by the family’s grief, and explores what it means to make art even when the world is crashing down around us.

On Accidental Books

Books, even books writers didn’t know they were writing, are born from discipline, by people who took their ideas seriously, even before they amounted to anything.

The Lost Generation’s Women: Writers, Muses, and Supporters

The generation straddled wars, genres, and identities, leaving behind the staid writing of Edwardians, or what Hemingway referred to as “broad lawns and narrow minds.” Gertrude Stein was their godmother, acting as both an artist and a supporter of the arts.

“Listening to my friends is one of my favorite ways to write”: An Interview with Durga Chew-Bose

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"I found it touching and also rare to read about awe. It made me want to write because so much of my experiences, the ones I remember at least, involve appreciation. Or maybe I just confuse seeing with appreciating?"

A Fractured America with a Missing Center in Joan Didion’s SOUTH AND WEST

The political and cultural moment of SOUTH AND WEST's release could not have been foreseen, but through her narrative disappearing act, Didion leaves us to make sense of what we read to find its central purpose.

All the Lives I Marched For: Alana Massey’s Second Stories

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I learned I am a Winona in a world made for Gwyneths. From the onset, Massey probes how society shapes or punishes women based on how we talk about or dismiss them. She writes with as much empathy about the women we mock as she does the women we