Ray Bradbury's Biographer: 'He Was Who He Always Maintained He Was'

In many ways, Ray Bradbury's life is a biographer's dream — the extensive record of his very public life as a master storyteller surfaces through thousands of media publications, announcements, advertisements, and his own reminiscences. Many years of private interviews led me to still more sources, published and… » 8/27/14 11:10am Wednesday 11:10am

Remembering the Astronaut Wives of the '69 Moon Landing

I decided to write the story of the astronaut wives after seeing an incredible Life magazine photo of them in their skyrocketing beehives, outfitted in their candy-colored minidresses. When I learned that they actually have a club—and that they raised their families in the Houston "space burbs" near NASA's operations,… » 7/21/14 5:50pm 7/21/14 5:50pm

Margaret Atwood Dreams Up Murder in the Arctic

A summer! But which of the seventy-five summers I have spent? The summer of 1957, when I was a waitress at a boys' camp on an island in Lake Huron and first ate a rattlesnake? The summer of 1965, when I was writing The Edible Woman in exam booklets on a card table in Vancouver? Perhaps the summer of 1976, when we took… » 7/21/14 4:19pm 7/21/14 4:19pm

Among Thugs: Hooliganism and the Evolution of Soccer

This Sunday, roughly a billion viewers will tune in to the World Cup Final between Germany and Argentina. I know where I'll be at kickoff for what is unquestionably the planet's biggest sporting event: in front of a large television screen, cold beverage in hand, joining one-seventh of my fellow humans of Earth in… » 7/10/14 11:28am 7/10/14 11:28am

Why James Joyce's Ulysses is Forever Indebted to Feminism

First, a caveat: in order to thoroughly enjoy Kevin Birmingham's The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses, you need not have actually read Ulysses. You don't even have to have plans to read Ulysses. Birmingham expertly gives us the lay of the land in which Ulysses was written: state-sanctioned… » 6/11/14 5:09pm 6/11/14 5:09pm

Reflections from 7 Child Actresses Raised in the Spotlight

Women who've grown up in the spotlight face a daunting amount of public criticism, especially of their looks (just ask Chelsea Clinton). Those tough lessons, however, are often just a heightened version of the pressures all young women face, making these seven memorable film and television stars uniquely qualified… » 5/22/14 10:03am 5/22/14 10:03am

Supermodels, Hot Dogs, and George Plimpton: A New Look at the Legend

In 1999, I attended a panel discussion centered around The Best American Sports Writing of the Century. The lineup was basically the 1927 Yankees of New Journalism. Hosted by bon vivant extraordinaire Dick Schaap, the featured guests were Ira Berkow, Gay Talese, David Halberstam, and George Plimpton. Murderers' Row,… » 5/15/14 2:22pm 5/15/14 2:22pm

Embrace Your Inner Boss Lady: 5 Tales of Women on Top

Recently Sophia Amoruso, CEO of the online retail company Nasty Gal, found herself in back-to-back meetings with Nordstrom and the designer Michael Kors. "And the whole time," she writes, "I'm sitting in this meeting thinking, Oh my God, I stole a Michael Kors watch from Nordstrom when I was seventeen." It's an… » 5/07/14 10:44am 5/07/14 10:44am

9 Mascot Life Lessons, Gleaned from the Big Mind of Mr. Met

Life as a Mets fan, as any fellow masochist will tell you, can be trying. In 1962, the Mets' first year in the National League, the team went 40-120. In the more than half-century since, the Mets have had their moments, including World Series titles in 1969 and 1986, but the good teams have been few, and the miserable… » 5/01/14 9:39am 5/01/14 9:39am

Grantland’s Jonah Keri on His Beloved and Extinct Montreal Expos

What if I told you that there was a fun-loving, oft-forgotten baseball squad that wouldn't earn five minutes in a Ken Burns documentary because they always leaned more "Pee-wee's Playhouse" than PBS? A team that featured announcers calling knuckleballs balles papillon (the latter being the word for butterfly in… » 4/24/14 9:58am 4/24/14 9:58am

Trailblazing Through Boys' Clubs: Storytelling with The Kitchen Sisters

"Welcome to ladies' night at the Moth!" exclaims host Peter Aguero, kicking off this one-off collaboration between the famed storytelling series and veteran NPR producers The Kitchen Sisters. A buzzing audience is packed into an intimate wood-paneled theater inside a townhouse on the edge of Manhattan's Gramercy Park.… » 4/21/14 4:18pm 4/21/14 4:18pm

Longtime Friend of Kurt Vonnegut Explains Author's Timeless Appeal

Kurt Vonnegut's humor, honesty, and fresh ways of seeing things have always made him a favorite of young people. I remember back in the late sixties, before Slaughterhouse Five made him rich and famous, college students were carrying around dog-eared copies of Cat's Cradle, a novel in which he playfully invents a… » 4/15/14 3:44pm 4/15/14 3:44pm

Suggested Reading for Fans of Portlandia. Or Pickling. Or Feminism.

In Portland, Oregon, the drivers are aggressively courteous, the cyclists are aggressively aggressive, your waiter refers to your organic, free range chicken by name, nothing can't be pickled, and everything looks better with a bird on it. At least this is true in the sly, lovingly satiric sketch comedy show Portlandia » 3/04/14 4:07pm 3/04/14 4:07pm