b. 1975

By Marilyn Johnson AARP February 24, 2006 After a few decades, you get accustomed to picking up a Joyce Carol Oates book without marveling at its existence—another inspired, ingenious, and compulsively readable tale from someone whose books flow past in a glittering...

The Search for Lily Tomlin

By James Kaplan Us Weekly January 22, 2001 Lily Tomlin is frazzled. Normally, she lives quietly in Hollywood with her partner of three decades, Jane Wagner, and their dog Princess, a 7‑year‑old cattle dog—corgi mixed‑breed, cataloging her archive of taped...

Persia: Ancient Souls of Iran

By Marguerite Del Giudice National Geographic August, 2008 What’s so striking about the ruins of Persepolis in southern Iran, an ancient capital of the Persian Empire that was burned down after being conquered by Alexander the Great, is the absence of violent imagery...

The Many Faces of Arianna

By Steve Oney Los Angeles Magazine October 2004 On a July evening several days before the opening of the Democratic Party’s national convention in Boston, Arianna Huffington steers Dr. Justin A. Frank through a throng of people packing the hallway of her $7 million...

Shakespeare in Rewrite

By Ron Rosenbaum The New Yorker May 13, 2002 In 1997, when Harold Jenkins, the editor of the Arden “Hamlet,” a leading scholarly edition of Shakespeare’s play, went to see Kenneth Branagh’s film version of “Hamlet,” he was both excited and...

Helen—An Introduction

By Nora Ephron from The Attentive Eve May 2002 The first time I heard about Helen Dudar, I was working at Newsweek magazine as a fact-checker in the National Affairs department. A new writer named Peter Goldman had just arrived at the magazine from St. Louis, and he...

Dylan Brings It Home: Memoir Is a Ballad to the Beat Village

By Ron Rosenbaum The New York Observer October 14, 2004 Thaddeus Stevens? Who knew? One of the least-understood of Dylan mysteries has to do with influences: His music seems to come from everywhere, and from nowhere but him. You can listen to endless droning folk...

Thriller of the Century: The Third Man

By Ron Rosenbaum The New York Observer January 17, 2000 Wait a minute, I’m not finished. I was just getting started. I’ve got more awards to bestow for Bests of the Century. I was just warming up last month when I named Pale Fire Best English Language Novel of the...

The Worst Pop Singer Ever

By Ron Rosenbaum Slate January 23, 2009 This may seem an odd moment to bring up the subject of Billy Joel. But the recent death of the painter Andrew Wyeth revived a long-standing debate over whether his art is respectable or merely sentimental schlock. (Say it: good...

The Attentive Eye

By Peter Goldman Introduction to The Attentive Eve May 2002 New York City For our forty-two years together, I have been assuring Helen Dudar that she ought to do a book. For forty-two years, she has assured me that she should not. My argument, reduced to its essence,...

Agee Unfettered

By Will Blythe The New York Times June 15, 2008 On May 16, 1955, James Agee, 45, died of a heart attack in a New York City taxicab while on the way to his doctor’s office. Elegized by the critic Dwight Macdonald as a literary James Dean, he left behind an...

Benching Himself

By Will Blythe The New York Times November 4, 2001 At 59, the novelist John Edgar Wideman has recently given up the game of playground basketball. His new memoir, Hoop Roots, originates in that loss, which is monumental, the terrifying and inevitable fate of every...