Ellen Willis was born in 1941 in the Bronx, grew up in a middle-class family, and, for a while, did what was expected of her: she married “a nice Jewish boy from Columbia while majoring in English at Barnard,” writes her daughter, journalist Nona Willis Aronowitz, in her introduction to her late mother’s recently published compendium of essays, The Essential Ellen Willis. At 24, though, Willis divorced her husband, got an apartment in the East Village, and started writing about rock, politics, culture, feminism, and sex. She went on to become the first rock critic for The New Yorker, an editor and columnist at the Village [...]
Tales of Post-Graduate Love, Turmoil, and Friendship: A Conversation with Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale
Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults is an epistolary memoir by Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale that’s out today. You may already know Jessica from The Hairpin; she writes the Baking from a Bygone Era column and often enlists Rachel when she embarks “on disgusting culinary adventures from the past," she says. The two friends and co-authors met at Brown. Before they graduated and Rachel headed to New York and Jessica to Beijing, they promised to stay in touch with honest, tell-it-like-it-is, regular emails to each other. Those emails, which they returned to years later after reuniting in London, became the basis for [...]
*Every generation thinks it's special—my grandparents because they remember World War II, my parents because of discos and the moon. We have the Internet. Millions and billions of doors we can open and shut, posting ourselves into profiles and digital scrapbooks. Suddenly and totally, we're threaded together in a network so terrifyingly colossal that we can finally see our terrifyingly tiny place in it. But we're all individuals. It's beaten into us in MLK Day assemblies (one person can make a [...]
There are quite a lot of good books currently out, and it comes as no surprise that quite a lot of them are by ladies (no offense to men, who we hear can also write very fine books when they put their minds to it). As for our list, which you will find below, there is something for nearly everyone: Y.A., short stories, essay collections, novels, nonfiction, books you might have read a long time ago and probably should read again in their updated states now—they are here. If we missed a book you have been reading and loving that’s out now (or will be very soon), please share it [...]
She describes him as “full of an interest, an influence that quite mastered me,—that took my feelings from my own power and fettered them in his.”
He tells her, “[Y]ou please me, and you master me—you seem to submit, and I like the sense of pliancy you impart; and while I am twining the soft, silken skein round my finger, it sends a thrill up my arm to my heart. I am influenced—conquered; and the influence is sweeter than I can express; and the conquest I undergo has a witchery beyond any triumph I can win.”
So speak the characters of an 1847 novel about a teenage girl’s liaison of [...]
In middle school, the babysitters in The Babysitter's Club lived out every possible problem and dilemma a privileged tween in the '90s could face. But no one can stay 13 forever—eventually, a girl has to start growing up and facing the problems and dilemmas of privileged twenty-somethings.
If only the babysitters could come with us…
In Pamela Ribon’s recent, very funny, moving memoir, Notes to Boys: And Other Things I Shouldn't Share in Public, the author looks back at her many teenaged letters to her crushes, examining them from her current-day vantage point. I really loved it (so much that I included it here), and as a lifelong journal keeper with my own history of cringeworthy meanderings, wanted to know more about what inspired Ribon to examine her younger self in this way — and what she learned about not only “Little Pam” but also Current Pam, and writing itself, through the course of creating the book. Luckily, she was kind enough to answer [...]
From 1999 to 2004, Kate Fagan played Division I basketball for the nationally-ranked University of Colorado Buffaloes. She's now a reporter for ESPN. Her book, The Reappearing Act, out this week, chronicles her two-year coming-out process at Colorado, when she was a starting guard and a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Your book covers a lot of ground. Can you break it down for anyone not familiar with your story?
It’s really a coming-of-age tale. It has the backdrop of big-time sports, Christianity, and sexuality as well. It’s about a two-year period in my life when I'm participating in the Fellowship for Christian Athletes and going [...]
"While books bound in human skin are now objects of fascination and revulsion, the practice was once somewhat common," writes Heather Cole, assistant curator of modern books and manuscripts at Harvard's Houghton Library. "Termed anthropodermic bibliopegy, the binding of books in human skin has occurred at least since the 16th century. The confessions of criminals were occasionally bound in the skin of the convicted, or an individual might request to be memorialized for family or lovers in the form of a book." Quick: better or worse than the Permanent Retweet? [Atlantic]