Reading Archive

Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Hema and Kaushik”: Love Across Borders

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
When I first read Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri’s long short story “Hema and Kaushik,” I lived in suburban Mumbai, where I often sat in darkness by the window at night all by myself. In Koparkhairane, twenty-four miles from downtown Mumbai, power outages were common.

Is Life Imitating John le Carré’s The Little Drummer Girl?

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
Navigating through the hairpin twists and turns in le Carré novels is always fun and almost always challenging. In his Cold War novels, such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the plot is a subtle game of cat and mouse. The Little Drummer Girl was a change of pace.

Tarot in the Time of Uncertainty

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
A friend I was visiting a while ago agreed to read tarot cards for me. I was a complete novice in the matter. The reading was about me picking up each card, describing what I saw, and then having my friend help me articulate my gut reaction to/analysis of

“There’s only one subject. That’s the trouble”: DeLillo and Saunders in 2017

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
The first paragraph I wrote after reading Saunders’s essay felt exhausting. Every sentence felt vague and hollow. But good: a feeling akin to my physical therapist standing beside me, correcting the form on my squats. Painful but good when I got it right.

Mistresses, Written by Women

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
The affair in Lorrie Moore’s story, “How to Be an Other Woman,” starts with a meet cute on a bus: “A minute goes by and he asks what you’re reading. It is Madame Bovary in a Doris Day biography jacket.” Moore’s story is more playful than Flaubert’s, but she

SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE Revisited

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
By way of introduction at readings, I often start with a poem about my hometown. “For those of you who don’t know me,” I say, “I’m from Schenectady, New York, and I think it is the greatest small city in the world.” I wait a beat before the punchline:

The Elephant in the Room: How Elissa Schappell Broke My Heart Twice

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
In March 2015, I went off the pill. It was all very well-planned on the surface, but inside I was hesitant, equivocal, terrified. I knew I wanted to have kids, but I didn’t ache for a baby, and I was worried about all the ways it would change my

Seven Black Films Based On Books You Should Watch Right Now

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
The history of Black people in America is important and complex, which is why film is such a crucial, valuable way to understand it. Here’s a list of seven Black films, based on books, that impart insight into the depths of Black joy, Black suffering, and Black life.

Sinister Trees and Fragrant Flowers

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
For a brief period in childhood, I was afraid of trees. It was after Hurricane Fran swept through North Carolina, and when the winds subsided trees had fallen on roads, houses, sidewalks. Maybe they would fall on me. And maybe trees in the South are scarier than trees elsewhere.

On the Enduring Appeal of the Bildungsroman

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
Though genre forms and conventions have changed rapidly throughout the short history of the novel, the popularity of one subspecies has endured: the bildungsroman, or coming-of-age novel.