Author Archive

The Best Essay I Read This Month: “My President Was Black,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

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It’s a treatise on President Obama’s blackness, and so, by extension, America’s blackness. It’s hard to read, not so much this time because it challenges paradigms or covers history many of us should have learned in school but didn’t, but mostly because it is sad.

The Best Essay I Read This Month: “How Trump Made Hate Intersectional,” by Rembert Browne

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Browne rightly points out that the engine behind Trump’s last 18 months of momentum has been his willingness to target any marginalized group without discretion, to unite his base through an undifferentiated, broad-spectrum hatred of anyone who appeared Other, no matter what kind.

The Best Essay I Read This Month: “Barbara, Wanda,” By Nathalie Leger

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It’s generally a mark of good writing when a writer is able to render something compelling, even intimate, despite nothing actually happening, plot-wise. Nathalie Leger’s contemplative “Barbara, Wanda,” in the the Fall 2016 Paris Review, is a testament to this kind of understatement.

The Best Essay I Read This Month: “Pete Wells Has His Knives Out” by Ian Parker

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Parker takes the profile beyond the person being profiled, canvassing the phenomenon by which a single dismissive adjective from a single man can cut down an empire, at least for a while.

The Best Essay I Read This Month: “Atlas Aggregated” by Walter Kirn

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LitHub recently introduced a feature called “Book Marks,” which it describes as “‘Rotten Tomatoes’ for books.” Under the Book Marks grading system, a novel could receive an ‘A’ (Totally Positive), or a ‘B’ (Mostly Positive), or so on and so forth. This obviously raises some questions.

The Best Essay I Read This Month: “Who Are All These Trump Supporters?” by George Saunders

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It’s easy—reflexive, even—to be snarky and closed off to genuine emotion when writing about this election season, which is why it’s nice to read a piece rooted in genuine concern and the desire to understand people, especially people whose beliefs seem to us impossibly far removed from our own.

The Best Essay I Read This Month: “Citizen Khan” by Kathryn Schulz

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It is a good thing that Kathryn Schulz’s “Citizen Khan” was published in The New Yorker, because it is so eerily textbook perfect a piece of longform feature writing that had it come through a lesser fact-checking department, I might have worried some of the details were made up.

The Best Essay I Read This Month: “Antarctic Dreams” by Douglas Fox

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Reported essays often forget either the ability to be literary in their writing, or else overcompensate for such and crowd out the facts with flowery prose. A balanced one is a pleasure to read, as with Douglas Fox’s “Antarctic Dreams” in the Spring 2016 issue of Virginia Quarterly Review.

The Best Essay I Read This Month: “The Habits of Highly Cynical People” by Rebecca Solnit

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There are many benefits of cynicism. But there’s also a certain kind of knee-jerk, armchair cynicism that lets those who subscribe to it reduce complex political and social events to doomed exercises in futility, and to pretend to know the totality of their worth. That kind of thinking is

The Best Essay I Read This Month: “Sign of the Times” by Sara Nović

Disenfranchisement is an unpredictable thing. What the mainstream may assume isolates or weakens a person will sometimes give rise to community and strength, as in Sara Nović’s “Sign of the Times,” published this month in Guernica. Nović, who is deaf, writes about the belief that deaf people are broken