One of my favorite passages in 'Leaves of Grass,' that breathless, exuberant poem so rich and full of innocence and joy and generosity and compassion, is 'Mannahatta.'
Good TV is not just TV about good behavior.
Everyone who moves to New York City has a book or movie or song that epitomizes the place for them. For me, it's 'The Cricket in Times Square', written by George Selden and illustrated by Garth Williams.
There are no moral lectures in 'Lookaway, Lookaway;' there aren't even any lessons. But there is passion. It is a work that hides its craft but never its beauty, that is ambitious but never pretentious, that does not sacrifice nuance for power or power for nuance.
'What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal' was thrilling in its light, deceptive tone, its subtle but irresistible momentum.
Michael Chabon has long moved easily between the playful, heartfelt realism of novels like 'The Mysteries of Pittsburgh' and 'Wonder Boys' and his playful, heartfelt, more fantastical novels like 'The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay' and 'The Yiddish Policemen's Union.'
A tenth of Dostoyevsky is plenty for a seventh grader, I think.
For women, World War II had offered an opportunity, and often the necessity, to get out of the house to work.
Stewardesses were a joke to many of us coming of age in the liberated Sixties. They were no joke in the women's movement that liberated us, however.
Nathaniel Rich wrote 'Odds Against Tomorrow' well before Hurricane Sandy and its surge crashed onto the isle of Manhattan, well before the streets were flooded and the subways drowned, only the Goldman Sachs building sparkling above the darkened avenues.
Anyone who has read a Trollope novel knows that women did not have to wait until 1960 to feel trapped.
'Blue Nights' is a story of loss: simple, wrenching, inconsolable loss.
I do not go out to dinner or to the movies with the neighbors, as I do with my friends. I don't make dates with them. I don't have to.
In my stunted career as a scholar, I'd read promissory notes, papal bulls and guidelines for Inquisitorial interrogation. Dante, too. Boccaccio... But after 1400? Nihil.
I've been fortunate in that I never actually read any Jane Austen until I was thirty, thus sparing myself several decades of the unhappiness of having no new Jane Austen novels to read.
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