I participated in Marshal Zeringue's Page 99 Test at the Campaign for the American Reader. The blog is based on a quote by the writer Ford Madox Ford: "Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you." New authors talk about the ninety-ninth page of their book and what it says about its larger themes. Here's what I wrote about my book Cut Loose:
Page 99 talks about how the unemployed deal with the depression and anxiety that come from losing part of their identities. Work is central to our sense of self—it’s often the first question we ask someone we meet—and during the workday we build friendships that sustain us throughout our lives. Many of the people I interviewed felt isolated. Friends could no longer relate. Relationships with spouses and children became strained. Unable to provide the way they used to, they found themselves mired in blame and doubts.
In The Graphic Canon, comic artists reimagine dozens of classic works of literature, philosophy, and religion. The result, says creator Russ Kick, is like The Norton Anthology with pictures, drawn by an army of emerging artists who provide their personal — and sometimes unexpected — gloss on the world's great books.
I didn't expect a collection of stories about the inner struggles of psychoanalysis patients to be so much like a detective novel. Yet, in The Examined Life parallels abound. Clues are uncovered slowly in each chapter and a mystery unfolds. Hidden motivations are unearthed by identifying the meaningful in the mundane.
In this excerpt from her recently published book Generation Roe, pro-choice activist Sarah Erdreich talks with women who had an abortion and discusses the complicated set of emotions they bring to the abortion debate — even decades after the procedure.
As many Americans cling to the prospect of a post-racial society in the wake of its first African American president, children growing up in the United States may find they are unable to fully comprehend the significance of this political milestone. For young Americans today, an unburdened, limitless, and diverse reality is all they’ve ever known. But identities are complexly crafted from a variety of different sources, and many children’s understanding of their position in America will start with the books they read. But what is the cost of passing on tales of Jewish and African American sacrifice and suffering that are whitewashed or inaccurate?
Over the last thirty years, Americans have seen an infusion of market thinking into areas that were previously governed by collective ethics and morality. Today, the drive to make a profit dictates the way we view things like health, education, national security, criminal justice, environmental protection, and even procreation. In What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, Harvard University professor Michael J. Sandel argues that markets have become detached from morals, and that it's time we reconnect them.
What does it feel like to go insane and not know why? In her memoir, Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, author Susannah Cahalan describes what it is like in terrifying detail: “My body continued to stiffen as I inhaled repeatedly, with no exhale. Blood and foam began to spurt out of my mouth through clenched teeth.… This moment, my first serious blackout, marked the line between sanity and insanity. Though I would have moments of lucidity over the coming weeks, I would never again be the same person. This was the start of the dark period of my illness, as I began an existence in purgatory between the real world and a cloudy, fictitious realm made up of hallucinations and paranoia.”
Talk of climate change seems to be everywhere these days. From elected officials in Washington, DC, to the farmers of rural India, people hold wildly divergent opinions about the ways climate change is affecting our lives, and the impact it will have in the future. In spite of widespread disagreement, many people are already seeing the consequences of climate change in the form of more storms, less rainfall, and severe flooding in their countries. Although the slower-onset disasters may be imperceptible to some, the rising sea levels, higher global temperatures, and food shortages are being endured by many.
I discovered I had bibliophilic tendencies when I was a child, and though I'd like to attribute this trait to precocious proclivities, it was more likely the personal pan pizza BOOK IT!® awards my elementary school gave out for reading. I grew up on a household where fast food was a luxury my single mother could not afford. So, in order to earn a dinnertime treat for my sisters and me, I would obsessively read.
In her deeply personal account of life in post-earthquake Haiti, journalist Amy Wilentz looks at how outsiders' distorted views of the country have misrepresented its culture and history and encumbered its progress.
How do diverse societies integrate newcomers? How do they balance the need to develop a sense of community with the desire to maintain one's ancestral culture? Every multiethnic society faces these questions, and those that fail to agree on an approach are doomed to fall apart. In Patriotic Pluralism: Americanization Education and European Immigrants,
historian Jeffrey Mirel challenges examines the civic instruction European immigrants received in the first half of the twentieth century.