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Monthly Archives: January 2011

Teen Dream

The Los Angeles-based Star–a magazine dedicated to aspiring teen-age groupies–only lasted for five issues, in 1973, folding due to pressure from “concerned citizens.” Fortunately, the Internet knows no parental advisory board, and all of the original issues of Star have been scanned and put online. Read more at newyorker.com… Tweet

My People

My grandmother’s family came from, as she put it, “hearty German peasant stock,” a phrase invoked whenever my mom or her siblings complained about chores or homework. It was Grandma’s way of saying, “Suck it up, kid.” She was clever that way. Grandpa’s family was from Poznań, Poland, and as far as my childhood self […]

Q&A: Jessie Sholl on Hoarding

In 2006, Jessie Sholl’s mother was diagnosed with cancer. But before Sholl could deal with the illness, she had to first confront a sickness of a different sort: her mother’s compulsive hoarding, which rendered everything—her home, her car, and her life—completely unmanageable. In her memoir “Dirty Secret,” Sholl documents a disease that affects millions of […]

Biased

Well hello, Charles Baxter. What’s that? Your new book is carried along by an undercurrent of quiet Midwestern drama? Whether surveying a loving but prickly mother-son relationship strained by a night-school classroom visit or a drunken grad student’s hapless journey to pick up his stranded fiancée on a snowy night, Baxter is a melancholy expert […]

Mappow

At the 2009 New Yorker Festival, Ariel Levy interviewed the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow about her career, her sexuality (she’s America’s first openly gay television anchor), and her ambition. “I like to win a lot,” she told Levy. Maddow is now leading the charge on the iPad: MSNBC has released a free app for “The […]

Staff Meeting

Last week, the Metropolitan Museum of Art launched “Connections,” a weekly multimedia series featuring museum staffers—curators, conservators, librarians, designers—discussing works in the museum’s collection. Each episode has a theme: “Small Things,” “Virtuosity,” “Tennessee,” “Maps.” “I wonder why it is that we love maps so much,” muses the medieval art curator Melanie Holcomb. “I think, in […]

Literary Fantasy

I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but seriously, how badass is the cover of “Destiny and Desire”? Furthermore, how badass is that title? I’ll be reading it on the subway, and someone will be all, “Tsk tsk–how can you look at such lowbrow smut?” and I’ll be like, “Actually, […]

Tin Star

Earlier this week, the literary quarterly and publisher Tin House relaunched its website, which had remained largely unchanged since it launched, in 1999. “Our web concerns were primarily concentrated on whether or not we’d have enough munitions to fight off the post-apocalyptic hordes of cannibals that would inevitably follow the Y2K bug,” wrote associate editor […]

A Small Bag

This week’s Brieflier Noted is looking a little grim. There’s “pessimism tempered by dark humor,” “a grim collection of contemporary maladies,” and “little insight.” Thank goodness for the “spirited history” provided by Philipp Blom. Tweet

Tu Vuo’ Fa L’Italiano

Last week, my New Yorker Digital Pick was the New Year’s Resolution Generator, a nifty li’l site that spits out fun resolution ideas with a click. I suppose you could cycle through it for hours, finding the one that suits you best, but I got mine on the first try: And I had already intended […]