The Minutes of An American Tragedy

Image of World Trade Center fog, November 1998. By Flickr user Beija ( [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons   Book review: 102 Minutes, by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn Amazon From the moment the first hijacked plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, 102 minutes passed before both towers ultimately collapsed. As we know all too … Continue reading The Minutes of An American Tragedy

Essays on Famous Lives and Perceived Parallels

Book review: All the Lives I Want, by Alana Massey New York magazine columnist and cultural critic Alana Massey writes a collection of strange but compelling essays about “her best friends who happen to be famous strangers.” They’re amusing, some reach impressive analytical depth, and yet they’re inconsistent in hitting their mark or striking the right balance. I found myself thinking at some point during almost every … Continue reading Essays on Famous Lives and Perceived Parallels

Behind-the-Scenes Glimpses into the Mind of David Sedaris

Book review: Theft by Finding, by David Sedaris Book Depository “In order to record your life, you sort of need to live it. Not at your desk, but beyond it. Out in the world where it’s so beautiful and complex and painful that sometimes you just need to sit down and write about it.” David Sedaris, beloved humorist and essayist known for his dry, witty takes on … Continue reading Behind-the-Scenes Glimpses into the Mind of David Sedaris

Kitchens of Manhattan, Kitchens of Minnesota

Book review: Give a Girl a Knife, by Amy Thielen Amy Thielen, host of the Food Network’s Heartland Table, is a girl of two worlds – the ultra-high-end, gourmet restaurant kitchens of New York City, one of the most competitive restaurant environments ever; and her folksy home of rural Minnesota, where she honed her cooking skills and “taste memories” drawing on her parents’ French-Canadian, German, and Eastern European immigration backgrounds and … Continue reading Kitchens of Manhattan, Kitchens of Minnesota

Musings on Art and Loneliness

Book review: The Lonely City, by Olivia Laing “It was becoming increasingly easy to see how people ended up vanishing in cities, disappearing in plain sight, retreating into their apartments because of sickness or bereavement, mental illness or the persistent, unbearable burden of sadness and shyness, not knowing how to impress themselves into the world.” Olivia Laing unexpectedly became a British expatriate alone in New York City, … Continue reading Musings on Art and Loneliness

Art, Movies, Men, and Manhattan in the 50s

Book review: The Men in My Life by Patricia Bosworth Patricia Bosworth is a biographer, best known for her books on actors and artists like Montgomery Clift and Diana Arbus; her biography on the latter was the basis for the film Fur. But before she became an author and journalist, Bosworth was a model and actress working in 1950s America. It was a very different time, to … Continue reading Art, Movies, Men, and Manhattan in the 50s

Fantasy Born of Tragedy

The Woman Who Wasn’t There: The True Story of an Incredible Deception by Robin Gaby Fisher and Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr. Some of the most remarkable stories of survival and strength in our country emerged following the tragedy of 9/11. In the days after the attack, Americans and especially New Yorkers worked to support each other in unprecedented ways. One group that remained troubled, beyond any extent … Continue reading Fantasy Born of Tragedy

Catcalls and Coming of Age

Book review: Sex Object, by Jessica Valenti This was my first experience with Jessica Valenti’s writing and I came away from it thinking she was a talented writer but a disorganized storyteller, with an important, worthwhile message but way too little faith in herself. This book could’ve been something very meaningful and impacting, and I’m torn in how to describe it because it’s not that it wasn’t those things, … Continue reading Catcalls and Coming of Age

From Queens with Love

Book review: The Clancys of Queens, by Tara Clancy A fast-paced memoir composed of vignettes of the author’s time growing up with her big Irish-Italian families in Queens. After her parents’ split when she was a toddler, she divides her time between her dad’s tiny but loving boathouse home and bar family in Broad Channel and her mom’s colorful family of loud, cursing Brooklynite Italians, with sojourns … Continue reading From Queens with Love

Observational Humor for Cynics and New Yorkers

Book review: Rules for Others to Live By, by Richard Greenberg These loosely connected (very loosely) essays and comments require a certain dry, dark, cynical sense of humor to really enjoy them. I did enjoy them though, for the most part. The audiences is definitely New Yorkers, and I can imagine these might not find broad appeal outside of a certain set of wry, snarky, mildly … Continue reading Observational Humor for Cynics and New Yorkers

Lessons from Borough Park and the Payne Whitney

Photo: New York Hospital, Payne Whitney Clinic. From the Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington D.C. Credit: Wikimedia Commons Book review: One of These Things First : A Memoir, by Steven Gaines It sounds strange, but I’ve read a couple of Holocaust memoirs lately and I needed to read something light and funny, stat. Strange, because this is a memoir … Continue reading Lessons from Borough Park and the Payne Whitney