Shoplift Lit: You Are What You Steal

By Ron Rosenbaum The New York Observer September 29, 1999 So I’m in this car with Dennis Hopper and Sean Penn, two generations of Hollywood Bad Boys. Hopper’s driving, Penn’s in the back. This is maybe a dozen years ago when Sean was still with Madonna, and Hopper had...

Seeing Catch-22 Twice

By Ron Rosenbaum Slate August 2, 2011 Now, my father wasn’t a big reader and rarely wrote letters, much less to authors. But when I went through a phase in high school of constantly carrying Catch-22 around and quoting from it and writing things like, “There was only...

Fear of Reading: Lexical Anhedonia Sweeps the Land

By Marcelle Clements The Baltimore Sun May 19, 1992 Although this is the era in which flaws in the emotional and psychological development of every man, woman, child and dog have been scrutinized in the most minuscule detail, there seems to be no organized interest in...

The Land

By David Bradley Goodlife August, 1985 Not long ago I crossed the Great Divide to attend a conference of writers and other literary types. The theme of the conference was “Literature and The Land”, which is hardly obscure. I mean, while a lot of people in America...

Terry Cannon: The Great Enthusiast

By John Schulian The Stacks Reader August 4, 2020 By its name alone, the Baseball Reliquary was unique, for who besides those taught by knuckle-rapping nuns knew what a reliquary was? (Answer: a receptacle for storing religious artifacts.) Right there you have your...

A Hollow Venue

By Steve Oney New York July 29, 1996 The most telling news to come out of Atlanta during the days leading up to the opening ceremonies of the centennial Olympic Games had nothing to do with the erection of a 165-foot-tall statue of a Coca-Cola bottle—in a city of...

First Aid to Inebriates

By Helen Lawrenson From The Hussy’s Handbook 1944 One summer night, when I was visiting an uncle and aunt of mine, we were all sitting in the house, talking and listening to the violent rain storm outside. It was very late, and we were about ready to go to bed, when...

Boy, 8

By Marilyn Johnson Life June 1, 1992 I didn’t want to be part of anything when I was a teenager, especially my family. There were seven of us, and they pressed in on me. So I buried my head in books. My reading irritated my parents; books were a narcotic I used right...

On Revision

By Nora Ephron From Nora Ephron Collected November, 1986 I have been asked to write something for a textbook that is meant to teach college students something about writing and revision. I am happy to do this because I believe in revision. I have also been asked to...

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...

To The Beat

By Will Blythe The New York Times July 8, 2010 If you’re like me, you tend to regard plot summaries as a necessary boredom at best. They’re the flyover country between a reviewer’s landing strips of judgment, revealing almost nothing about the way a book actually...

I Was a Champion

By Floyd Patterson The American Weekly May 15, 1960 (as told to W.C. Heinz) For almost a whole year I’ve seen it day and night, maybe a thousand times. Me and Ingemar Johansson boxing and Johansson sticking out that left jab and me ducking under it, and then I’m down...