Guest Essays
Barcott_white2

Notes from the Legal Pot Underground

What happens when weed-skeptical journalist Bruce Barcott investigates the growers, sellers, and users of the brave new world of legalized marijuana? He emerges with changed opinions, a good book, and a bunch of really strange souvenirs.

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Packer

Ann Packer: How I Wrote "The Children's Crusade"

Ann Packer's The Children's Crusade was one of our selections for the Best Books of April. Here, she describes just how the book came to be....

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Unabrow

"Self-Consciousness Can Be Crippling"...and Funny: Una LaMarche on "Unabrow"

I recently heard a talk given by vulnerability and shame expert, Brené Brown--to be vulnerable is to also be courageous, she said, something that Una LaMarche--author of Unabrow--would be comforted to know (not to mention the rest of us)...

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Epitaph

American Iliad: 30 Seconds in Tombstone

What really happened in Tombstone, Arizona on the fateful afternoon of October 26, 1881? Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral author Mary Doria Russell debunks five common myths, misconceptions, and misrepresentations of the iconic gunfight of the Wild West.

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Hausfrau

There's Good Reason to Love Bad Women

Book hangover. Readers, you know what I'm referring to. The condition where you read something so good that you have trouble getting into anything else for a while, and even when you do, you're comparing it to 'that book.' I am still experiencing this a couple months after reading...

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ExplainWorld

Observation in Retrograde: Tracing the Origins of Modern Science

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg’s To Explain the World thoughtfully guides readers through the history of scientific process, with its centuries of trial and error, dead ends and successes, and, above all, the perseverance and curiosity that has shaped the ways that we observe and understand the world around us.

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HoldMeCloser225

YA Wednesday: The Musical Stylings of David Levithan

Authors and song writers are really two of a kind, and music often finds it's way into novels as a means of giving readers insight into characters or as a prelude to the start of a new chapter. With "Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story," David Levithan is both author and song writer of this novel-as-musical...

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Reunion

"Saving Clara" - by Judith Claire Mitchell

"In the absence of biography, I began the work of the novelist, creating a fictional character based on what little I knew of her. But then a funny thing happened. Whenever I stopped writing to do a little research, I’d discover another, then another new article about her." - Judith Claire Mitchell

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UnlikelyHeroCrop

YA Wednesday: If You Were a Superhero...

Last week I told you a little bit about my favorite YA book this month, "The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B," but one of the things I didn't mention is how Batman and Robin, Thor, and Wonder Woman fit in...

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Bettyville

A Place to Hold Your Life: George Hodgman on Memoirs and "Bettyville"

Our spotlight pick for Best of the Month this month is George Hodgman's humorous and affecting memoir, Bettyville, which documents his unintended, and indeterminate tenure as a caregiver to his aging mother. It also, as Hodgman explains here...

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