Our reality in reverse: A conversation from a Russian classroom

I treasure my subscription to Harper's Magazine. Each month it delivers a sampler of high-quality original writings and other material, like a fine box of Belgian chocolates. The "other material" is what makes Harper's especially delicious. Harper's rummages through the world's vast written record, and like an artist making sculpture out of found objects, the … Continue reading Our reality in reverse: A conversation from a Russian classroom

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Beautiful advice to an aspiring writer

One of the most arresting and affecting books I've ever read is Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. It's a collection of advice columns that she wrote anonymously for an online magazine years ago, before she wrote Wild and deservedly achieved fame. She signed her advice as "Sugar," and her column became known as "Dear Sugar." … Continue reading Beautiful advice to an aspiring writer

The tragic story behind the Magnitsky Act

A dispatch from the era of alternative facts...  This week, I've been reading Congressional testimony.  (I should point out -- something I don't normally do. Desperate times.) With everything on Russia swirling around, we've heard by now about the Magnitsky Act -- which is often mentioned in the same breath as Russian adoptions. News articles … Continue reading The tragic story behind the Magnitsky Act

A salty take on F. Scott Fitzgerald in a 1945 New York Times article

Speaking of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and his delicate and moving personal essay The Crack-Up... I unearthed a 1945 book review on the collection of Fitzgerald writings of the same name, that had just been published. The review is by a one William Du Bois, who thought Fitzgerald was more or less a useless, immature, pretty-boy hack … Continue reading A salty take on F. Scott Fitzgerald in a 1945 New York Times article

A well-told (true) tale of a raving madman’s dark suspicions

The most entertaining thing I read this week was also the hottest topic on cable news. A surprising overlap. Ryan Lizza is The New Yorker's Washington correspondent, and anyone following politics or circuses is aware of his already-infamous call with Anthony Scaramucci (also goes by: Mooch; The White House Communications Director). What Mooch said to … Continue reading A well-told (true) tale of a raving madman’s dark suspicions