What Joan Didion Taught Me

By Sara Davidson Sara Davidson’s blog November, 2021 “Who’s calling?” I told him my name, and said I wanted to tell her how much I liked her work… Then, realizing he was also a writer, I stammered, “I…I mean…I like your writing also…” “Just a minute,” he said. Joan...

Bradshaw: The Indiana Jones of Magazine Journalism

By Alex Belth Esquire Classic November 8, 2021 Jon Bradshaw always said he would die young, but he probably didn’t think he’d keel over on a public tennis court in Studio City a few weeks shy of turning forty-nine. The smart money had said he’d meet his fate on...

Ron Rosenbaum Champions “Pale Fire”

By Alex Belth Esquire Classic May 25, 2021 At the end of the last century there were plenty of “Best of the Century” lists and one that was most entertaining was Ron Rosenbaum’s 1999 column for The New York Observer in which he argued that Pale Fire by Vladimir...

Shoplift Lit: You Are What You Steal

By Ron Rosenbaum The New York Observer September 29, 1999 So I’m in this car with Dennis Hopper and Sean Penn, two generations of Hollywood Bad Boys. Hopper’s driving, Penn’s in the back. This is maybe a dozen years ago when Sean was still with Madonna, and Hopper had...

Tom Stoppard, Nonstop

By Jon Bradshaw New York January 10, 1977 The Quality Inn is an inferior hostelry in the upper reaches of Regent Street. Two men entered the inn and took a booth toward the back. The taller man, a playwright, carried a large leather bag. For reasons which later...

Seeing Catch-22 Twice

By Ron Rosenbaum Slate August 2, 2011 Now, my father wasn’t a big reader and rarely wrote letters, much less to authors. But when I went through a phase in high school of constantly carrying Catch-22 around and quoting from it and writing things like, “There was only...

Scroll Man

By Stephen Fried The Washington Post Magazine May 10, 1992 It began, like too many change-of-life stories do, with an uncompleted novel. This novel was about King Saul, and, lo, it was bad. In fact, it was very bad. “It was abominable,” recalls its author, “an...

Fear of Reading: Lexical Anhedonia Sweeps the Land

By Marcelle Clements The Baltimore Sun May 19, 1992 Although this is the era in which flaws in the emotional and psychological development of every man, woman, child and dog have been scrutinized in the most minuscule detail, there seems to be no organized interest in...

Rex Reed Doesn’t Speak to Anyone

By Helen Dudar Esquire January, 1976 Before she became Pauline Kael, before she was much more than a wonderful surprise occasionally encountered in obscure journals, before she was canonized as America’s best critic of film, Pauline Kael took an ax to the work of...

The Ghosts of Ole Miss

By Willie Morris Inside Sports May, 1980 I finally came home. It was not too late. I always had home in my blood—Mississippi—but with this final homecoming the love I had for home stunned me.  Much of it has to do with the land, its sensual textures—one’s memory...

The Stacks Chat: Levi Stahl

By Alex Belth Bronx Banter October 14, 2014 Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008) was one of our most prolific and entertaining writers. Now, we’ve got this posthumous treat: The Getaway Car: A Donald Westlake Nonfiction Miscellany, published by the University of Chicago...