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Enjoy a steady diet of surprises
At one time or another, parents require the reassurance of that longstanding nutritional theory (that Junior's current fixation on nothing but peanut butter or cheese or oranges or cereal, etc. merely indicates his body's pursuit of a particular...
At least pastrami will never go out of style
Just my luck. According to Weather Underground 's Manhattan forecast, all the days I'll be vacationing in New York City next week indicate a chance of showers. Of course, the lowest probabilities coincide with the days I'd be indoors anyway...
A giant possum, hugelkulture, and the Ghost of Babe
The Spirit of Babe has haunted my house since last weekend, and I'm fine with that. Given her valuable assistance in my latest DIY effort, the least we can do is play host for a while. Babe Didrikson Zaharias entered the picture when I resolved to...
Celebrating the Poe in poetry
It's April, National Poetry Month , and the sad but timely news is that poetry and e-readers don't play well together. Craig Morgan Teicher observes in the 3/26 Publishers Weekly that it's " surprisingly hard" to recreate as digital...
Beware the sticker shock of March
Never underestimate the power of the shamrock. Determined to forgo the usual March themes for book displays--Irish-Americans, springtime--I first imagined a celebration of National Caffeine Month (maybe next year) but settled on horror fiction. Beneath...
Keeping up with the prizewinners
Following up Sunday night's round of thank-you's to the Academy, here's a note of personal appreciation. To National Book Award winner Jonathan Franzen, for his entertaining essay about three of my favorite classics, published it in a favorite...
Mad Men and Englishmen
Julian Fellowes has a lot to answer for. Why did he introduce us to the infuriatingly indecisive Lady Mary and Matthew and convince us of Sir Richard's capacity for revenge--let alone raise the question of who dispatched the evil Mrs. Bates--if he...
Scooping the relocation market
Call me a concerned citizen: this issue has been on my mind ever since its mention on the Colbert Report. It touches on two subjects close to my heart: ice cream and Round Rock. Stephen Colbert boasts of his own Ben & Jerry's ice cream variety...
Across a crowded room
Rebound relationships are best avoided, but I think Destiny steered me into this one. It was springtime 2011, New York City. I'd left the convention floor of Book Expo America to lug a bunch more free prepublication books down to the mailing center...
No applications, just send money
I was that close--nearly made it out the back door before Elaine spotted me and inquired where I was headed. "The retirement system/457 plan seminar over at the McConico Building," I admitted, hastening to add, "but I'm only going to...
Why wait for the 2020s?
You'd think it was Valentine's Day already. I can practically see the little cartoon hearts and Cupids floating around. The reason: two Christmas-gift Kindles and their newly smitten recipients in my family. With these devices on site (neither...
Mary had a little stereotype
At our house, It's a Wonderful Life is only the third most popular Christmas movie, after the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol and Love Actually . It's a very solid #3, though, and we happily anticipate the 2011 viewing. My husband...
Writing for amateurs, bowling for vampires
Should I go with the classic "You like me, you really like me!" or the even more classic "Thank you, thank you very much"? Of course, my novel will deservedly never see the light of day, so my National Book Award acceptance speech...
Book groups are like snake oil
Both sound tempting and address issues other than the one you intended. Of course, snake oil only answers the question of what to do with a portion of your money. The right book club can update you as efficiently as the internet (but with no ads and no...
All the good ones are taken
And wh at's worse, the most popular and compelling ones have been matched up numerous times with others who are more glamorous and successful, so what hope is there for me? I'm referring to fiction plots, naturally. You've probably heard the...
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