Author Archive

Looking Back at Bright Lights, Big City

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The New York Times was not impressed with Bright Lights, Big City when it first appeared in 1984. “A clever, breezy--and in the end, facile documentary,” was what they said.

Communists and Cassoulet: Julia Child on Dried Herbs, Dull Knives and Joseph McCarthy

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If Julia Child and Avis deVoto were here today, they’d be great Facebook friends. Julia and Avis bonded over food—buying it, cooking it and eating it. But since they were without technology, they wrote letters, which Joan Reardon collected into a book titled As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis

Carefully Chosen Words: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Vladimir Nabokov

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One of my favorite little known facts about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is that she was a student in Vladimir Nabokov’s European Literature class at Cornell when she was an undergraduate in the 1950s. Nabokov’s influence is seen in many of Ginsburg’s writings.

The Two Holly Golightlys

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Sometimes a movie is adapted from a well-known novel that entirely eclipses the original material. Characters and plot points get rewritten then cast with A-list stars to take on a life of its own completely apart from the book. The result is two similar but separate works that each

Island Time with The Durrells

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Somewhere between Downton Abbey, Little House on the Prairie, Arrested Development and The Swiss Family Robinson are The Durrells in Corfu. The Durrells is based on the first book of classic semi-autobiographical trilogy "My Family and Other Animals," by conservationist Gerald Durrell.

Books and Cleverness: Hermione Granger and the Glass Ceiling

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We must thank Hermione Granger for the new trio of e-books from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling available for download on September 6. The books are called Short Stories from Hogwarts and provide a user’s manual for poltergeists, politics, heroes and even a guide (although unreliable) to the venerable

The Bitter Southerner’s New Song of the South

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"Sometimes you just gotta show people," writes Chuck Reese, founder and editor of The Bitter Southerner, an online magazine of writing, photography and music from and about the South. Reese, like many natives, grew tired of the clichés about the South as a region of yahoos.

Whit Stillman and Jane Austen: Together Again for the First Time

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Everybody from P.D. James to your best friend's sister seems to be writing Jane Austen fan fiction but the only fanfic I'm really excited about right now is Whit Stillman's reimagining of Lady Susan, an early epistolary novella.