In 2006, Christina Bryza was working in publishing, reading children’s books daily as part of her job. She found herself envious of how those pithy picture books could take a complex problem, deconstruct and decipher it, and tie so many life questions up with a solution by the end. Reading them, she says, “You’d learn something, but you wouldn’t necessarily know you learned something, you’d just feel better.” Not completely fulfilled by her post-grad 9-to-5, nor her dating life, she wanted something like that for herself, a friendly, handy explainer of modern adult life. She jotted down some notes, comparing P.D. Eastman’s classic kids book Are You My Mother? to [...]
Freelance writer Sara Eckel, the author of the recent, fantastic Modern Love column, "The Hard-Won Lessons of the Solitary Years," has a new book out: It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single. It comes with a self-help designation, but its message is really more like “self-compassion.” That’s an expression Sara uses to talk about the way unmarried women in their 30s and beyond (and, really, all women, regardless of age or marital status) should treat themselves. It’s a message we could all use a reminder of now and again. Especially in January.
Human genomes are 99.9 percent identical—with one prominent exception. Instead of a matching pair of X chromosomes, men carry a single X, coupled with a tiny chromosome called the Y. Tracking the emergence of a new and distinctive way of thinking about sex represented by the unalterable, simple, and visually compelling binary of the X and Y chromosomes, my book, Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome, examines the interaction between cultural gender norms and genetic theories of sex from the beginning of the 20th century to the present, postgenomic age. Here, we've excerpted from the chapter "Save the Males!"
The prospect that [...]
New Yorkers may know Jamie Shupak best as the traffic reporter on beloved local news channel NY1, but getting up at 3 a.m. (and being done with the traffic part of her workday by the afternoon) has its benefits, at least to someone with the boundless energy of Shupak. In her time at NY1 she's also written a dating column for Complex magazine, chronicled her cooking adventures on her blog, TV Dinner, and written an e-book, out now, loosely based on her own life, with leeway for dramatization, of course. Transit Girl >tells the story of NYNN traffic reporter Guiliana Layne, who's happily engaged to be married to her college sweetheart, J.R., until she [...]
For someone not in the MFA Universe, novelist and Hairpin pal Emma Straub's description of the writer Lorrie Moore—"She’s a bit of a goddess, sort of like the Stevie Nicks of the M.F.A. universe: beautiful, mysterious, magical"—doesn't quite register, but dear lord is it ever something to aspire to, anyway. In this mini profile, Moore describes writing as a "form of insanity": "How a novel finishes, is there’s a moment when you know it has problems, and you don’t know how to fix them. That’s when you’re done." Oh, just like that. Moore's new story collection, Bark, is out next week. [NYT [...]
At Bookforum, Natasha Vargas-Cooper's argument for prioritizing nonfiction over fiction in high school English classes—"just maybe the novel is not the best device for transmitting ideas, grand themes, to hormonal, boisterous, easily distracted, immature teenagers"—begins with: "It wasn’t until my second reading of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, over a decade after it first had been assigned to me by my public high school English teacher, that I understood that Jake’s dick didn’t work." GO ON. [Bookforum]
I would like to salute the women who created dinosaur erotica this year. Most of the very short e-books are about cave-women-type people who engage in various types of sex with dinosaurs. Not because they have dinosaur fetishes (at least not that they know of, at first! ahhhh I love it), but because they get caught in unexpected hunting situations, etc. (putting aside that people and dinosaurs didn't live at the same time. PROBABLY). For instance, the opening of Taken By the T-Rex:
Drin!! Can you guess what happens? Haha ahhhh, I just love it so much. I love it, I love it; it deserves the Pulitzer Prize. [...]
My best Valentine’s Day occurred years ago, in high school, when I made a cake for my then-boyfriend that said “Happy V.D.” on it. (I thought it was hilarious, so did he. Neither of us, for the record, had an STD). That V.D. was followed by many, many other Valentine's Days, all fine, good, decent, whatever, that I don’t really remember too terribly much about at all, because nothing much happened on those Valentine’s Days aside from going to dinner or not going to dinner with a date or boyfriend or not. I remember a cheeseburger with bacon; that was good.
If we’re talking worst Valentine’s Days, however, the worst [...]
Katie Heaney's book, Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date is out today from Grand Central. In it, Katie, an editor at BuzzFeed who's also responsible for this site's "Reading Between the Texts" series, recounts her experiences—or lack thereof—with the opposite sex, from childhood to the age of 25. What comes through is not an absence of relationships, however, so much as the presence and importance of the deep, abiding friendships she's formed over the years. And amid the humor and tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation, there's also a hearty message of empowerment to all women to be who they are, and not necessarily what society expects [...]
Notoriously mansplaining Times columnist Ross Douthat made a foray into literary criticism this weekend when he cited Adelle Waldman’s novel The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P as evidence for why fathers with daughters may, and should, tack conservative. Let me elucidate. In the dating milieu chronicled (astutely) by Waldman, women are vulnerable to shagging slightly misogynistic dudes like protagonist Nathaniel P. And these women are presumably someone’s daughter. Thus, Douthat’s “Daughter Theory” goes, fathers naturally hearken back to a more conservative society where they could be assured that their daughters lacked encouragement to date and sleep around, and were therefore no longer liable to have their [...]