Books

How Leslie Feinberg Became the Parent I Needed During My Transition

“I needed preparation, not protection. I needed to see myself as a part of history.”

Eventually, I Had to Lead: On Learning the Dance (and Writing the Book) That Scared Me

Tango is not a thing that can be done halfway. Neither, I learned, is memoir. You’re either all in, or you’re dishonest.

Jun 20, 2018
Get Down to Work or God Help You: Reading Etty Hillesum

When Etty wrote to herself, I heard her speaking to me, and I took her words to heart.

May 22, 2018
Mary McCarthy’s “The Group”: Three Queer Readings

“I think of McCarthy and ‘The Group,’ giving me language to understand myself before I even knew that’s what I needed.”

May 10, 2018
Great Book Finds, and One That Got Away

“There is a saying in book collecting: You only regret the books you don’t buy.”

Apr 10, 2018
How She Did It: On Penelope Fitzgerald, Writing, and Women at Work

Fitzgerald was ground down, I imagine, consumed by how to take care of her family. This didn’t make her any less the thinker, writer, reader, that she was.

What I Learned from Maxine Hong Kingston

I told Kingston how much her book meant to me as a half-Chinese woman, as a writer. It showed me my own life was worthy of examination, even exaltation.

Dec 04, 2017
Where the Stars Are Strange: J. R. R. Tolkien and Me

“The best books show us who we were when we first read them, who we are now, and who we may yet become.”

Oct 03, 2017
On Cruising a Writer’s Oeuvre

“By reading the debut texts of the writers whose books I’ve at one point set down, I tried to find my way further into the work.”

On Reading Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72” in 2017

“There are those who fail to realize how deeply Thompson cared about his country. He was a product of it.”

Aug 18, 2017
How to Read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s ‘Americanah’

“I am three days aged in Lagos and cry as my fingers turn the first page.”

Aug 15, 2017
The Threat Within: Harry Potter and the Cultural Baggage of Orphan Stories

“Unlike most popular orphan characters, I wasn’t too young to remember my parents.”

Jun 26, 2017
Raymond Briggs and Me; or, The Banality of Evil for Children

Briggs didn’t create the monster lurking under the bed, he just told us it was there.

Jun 16, 2017
Reading Underwater: Reckoning With Myself as a Woman of Color Amid a White Literary World

“My reading trajectory hadn’t equipped me with how I saw myself.”

Jun 13, 2017
I Was a Seventh-Grade Book Censor

“Through books, the best parts of me could breathe and be seen. No boy was going to fuck that up for me.”

May 01, 2017
Looking for Anne of Green Gables

A fan-pilgrim expects to find a special world, a sense of belonging. I just wasn’t sure what I’d find on Anne’s island.

Apr 25, 2017
On Power Between Women: The Handmaid’s Tale Revisited

We know the damage of othering. What about the ravages of Same-ing?

Apr 20, 2017
A Soulful Novel and Me: On Zora Neale Hurston

“Their Eyes Were Watching God is a timeless novel that shows us the resilience of the human spirit.”

Feb 23, 2017
An Unbearable Tension: On James Baldwin and the Nation of Islam

“As a child, I swallowed the Nation’s ideology as easily as the Harlem residents Baldwin observed.”

Jan 24, 2017
The Body Has Teeth: On Stephen King and Stand By Me

“If I were writing a book about a movie, it would be Stand By Me.”

Jan 06, 2017