• Books
  • Hurricane Laura?

    It’s a special week to be a Laura, as we might be getting our hurricane this week. As of this writing, it is still just Tropical Storm Laura, but with a Laura, you never know. And thus, it was a good week to read Laura Lippman’s recent book of personal essays, My Life as a […]

  • Books
  • Life Among the Savages

    In her memoir of young family life, Life Among the Savages, Shirley Jackson tells the story of the outsize influence of a child’s first grade teacher. We get a delicious profile of her daughter Jannie’s Mrs. Skinner: We had been exposed to Mrs. Skinner from about the third day of school, when Jannie came home […]

  • Books
  • Joe the Curmudgeon

    Joe Queenan is a crowd-pleaser at my house. When The Sons are home, and we are lingering after a long breakfast served at 1:00 p.m., Queenan’s Wall Street Journal column is good for a laugh. He’s a curmudgeon, especially about things modern. “Uriah the Hittite” is a family meme: [A] couple of years ago, when […]

  • Books
  • Writers on Creativity

    I like reading writers’ memoirs and their books on writing. I especially love a window into their creative process. Since I first saw it, I have been gripped by this description from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Often when you sit down to write, what you have in mind is an autobiographical novel about your […]

  • Books
  • My Favorite Quotes from David Sedaris’ Naked

    I recently reread David Sedaris’ Naked. I originally read this book when we lived in NC. It was featured as “new from a local author” at the Chapel Hill library. The descriptions of his OCD compulsions on his walk home from school—gotta lick the ma‎ilbox—made a big impression on me. On my more recent read, […]

  • Books
  • Versatile Shirley Jackson

    Did you read the short story “The Lottery” in school? The story takes place in a small town, at an unstated time. Palpable excitement builds over a cherished town tradition. Which tradition, exactly, is revealed to the reader in pieces. We finally learn that one town member, chosen by lottery, is to be stoned to […]