Archive for the ‘Words’ category

Weekend recs

Turn Around Bright Eyes, by Rob Sheffield (2013) Part memoir of sweetness and falling in love, part musing meditation on the cultural relevance of ubergods like Rod Stewart and Neil Diamond, part spelunking exploration of the shimmering psyche of why we Must Sing Karaoke. Nobody remembers every second of pop culture and every conversation he […]

Weekend recs

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti (2008) A plucky orphan with one hand and a deep conscience navigates colonial New England with a supporting cast of grotesque, mysterious and occasionally redeemable characters. Among them are a loyal murderer, an artistic dwarf, an ailing widow and a scoundrel lover, all crowding and competing in a vibrant […]

Elastic time: Open City

Cross-posted from ahistoryofnewyork.com. From its first sentence I had a hunch that Teju Cole’s Open City (2011) would have been a perfect fit for the Writing New York syllabus Cyrus Patell and I tinkered with for almost a decade, and when we eventually take up the course again — Inshalla — I take very seriously […]

Weekend recs

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, by Mohsin Hamid (2013) You start reading a novel you know nothing about. It’s written in the second person, which is rarely done and even more rarely done well. But as you read the story of a young man in an unnamed Asian city, you are first […]

End-of-summer book club: Teju Cole’s Open City

Looking for one last, fantastic read before summer ends? This year I’m pitching Teju Cole’s 2011 award-winning novel Open City to anyone who’ll listen. It’s brief but still feels bursting with detailed observation, beautifully written, and as important a novel I’ve read about global politics and local identity in a long, long time. Set in […]

Weekend recs

Orange is the New Black (2013- ) Series in the age of Netflix are designed for binge watching, and Orange, about a Smith grad who goes to federal prison, is a prime example. Season I is thirteen episodes and everyone you know has already watched the whole thing, so you might as well power through. The […]

Weekend recs

Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class, by Jefferson Cowie (2010)  Like a What’s the Matter with Kansas? with liner notes, this book’s hook is how Cowie reads cultural products of the time as reflecting shifts in working class identity from the mid ’60s through the early ’80s. Paul Schrader’s […]

Weekend recs

Hollywood Lesbians by Boze Hadleigh (1994): Celebrity gossip is only enjoyable when the subjects themselves are compelling. Hadleigh interviewed mostly closeted lesbians from Hollywood’s Golden Age, a few from behind the camera like Edith Head, and got startlingly frank — if sometimes coded — responses out of almost all of them. It’s dizzying to watch […]

Weekend recs

Anselm Kiefer at Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea, NY. Der Morgenthau Plan, Anselm Kiefer’s show at Gagosian, is completely arresting. Expressive, imposing, somewhat menacing, and intensely, darkly vibrant, these massive paintings are named after US Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, who in 1944 proposed converting “post-war Germany into a pre-industrial, agricultural nation, allegedly in order to limit […]

Weekend recs

The perfect teenage love story is about discovery: finding self, a beloved, a messed up world and the promise that love can save the day. Warm Bodies presents this satisfying combination through a zombie Romeo and a living Juliet, outcast from their respective houses, who connect over vintage music and teach the grownups how to […]