The Winthrop Woman; Or, a Bad Puritan Makes A Good Role Model

Anya Seton’s The Winthrop Woman is two distinct kinds of wonderful. First, it’s a beautifully written book. Seton’s prose has a vaguely old-timey feel to it, like a replica pocket watch, but lacks any sense of artificiality or posturing. It’s accessible, but not necessarily easy. Elizabeth Fones/Winthrop/Feake/Hallet’s story is an interesting one, and Seton didn’t […]

Kindred; Or, Go Fuck Yourself, Margaret Mitchell

There was never an instant I was reading Kindred, by Octavia Butler, when my brow wasn’t deeply furrowed in consternation or horror. Kindred introduces us to Dana, a black woman 1976 California, struggling to make a living as a writer. Her husband, Kevin, white and slightly older, has just published a novel. They have bought […]

They Burned Witches in Salem Because Henry VIII REALLY Wanted to Fuck Anne Boleyn

I came up in the New History school of thought. More than one of my professors told me more than once, “I don’t care if you don’t know who was king of what when; that’s what Google is for.” (Except one prof – I was expected to know the date of the Norman invasion for […]

Your Monday Morning GIF Parade: Bah Humbug Edition

It’s almost Christmas! I’m sort of Grinchy about Christmas. I just don’t get into it. I don’t do the whole baby Jesus thing, so all that reason-for-the-season stuff is more irritating than inspiring. And since I’m not a kid myself, and don’t have kids, the whole Santa-and-presents thing just feels like a greedy grab for […]

Texts From Jane Eyre; or, I Just Finished Your Christmas Shopping For You

Texts From Jane Eyre is my new favorite book. In it, Mallory Ortberg takes the classics of literature – from ancient Greek myths to Shakespeare to Austen to Fitzgerald and even Dr. Seuss and Chuck Palahniuk – and reimagines the stories as told via text conversations between characters. She uses common texting abbreviations and slang, including misspellings […]

The Power of Privilege

Last week, I wrote about how well-meaning platitudes about the uniqueness of individuals and exhortations to “stop labeling” others actually serves to derail our progress toward a more fair and just society. This morning, I read an amazing article by Brit Bennett (seriously, do yourself a favor and read it right now) that raised again a perennial […]