When Will You Accept Yourself?: Milk Fed

We don’t choose to exist on this earth any more than we choose who our mother might be. Accordingly, Melissa Broder’s latest, Milk Fed, wields Mother as the crux of Rachel’s daily struggle. Just three years after the release of The Pisces, Broder is building on an oeuvre of highly specialized neuroticism. The kind, they say, is unique to the Semitic mindset. And oh how … Continue reading When Will You Accept Yourself?: Milk Fed

Invented Work and Patheticness…Not Amplified, But Described As Office Life Truly Is: Halle Butler’s Jillian and The New Me

Although released four years apart, there can be no denying that Halle Butler’s debut novel, Jillian, is now like a “sister book” to The New Me (you know, the way Taylor Swift’s folklore and evermore are “sister albums”). Variations on a theme, if you will, and an extremely grim one. Even if there are actually freaks in this world who–in the wake of corona “forcing” … Continue reading Invented Work and Patheticness…Not Amplified, But Described As Office Life Truly Is: Halle Butler’s Jillian and The New Me

Joan Didion Knows Where to Cut: Plucking Flowers With “Pretty Nancy”

The excitement surrounding Joan Didion’s release of a “new” book called Let Me Tell You What I Mean needn’t be mitigated by the fact that it is a collection of older essays (previously unreleased, therefore everything old is new again), gathered from 1968 to 2000. For Didion is perhaps at her most signaturely eviscerating during this period, and one wonders if a release of truly … Continue reading Joan Didion Knows Where to Cut: Plucking Flowers With “Pretty Nancy”

The Basement Poetry Reading Comes To the Capitol (And No, That’s Not A Compliment)

It is said that you cannot judge someone “so young” with the same yardstick of measurement that you would someone more mature, more established in their field. With 22-year-old Amanda Gorman’s poetry reading at Joe Biden’s inauguration, however, that becomes something of a tall order. Her delivery of the roughly six-minute long “The Hill We Climb” felt, by and large, rough-hewn, as though we were … Continue reading The Basement Poetry Reading Comes To the Capitol (And No, That’s Not A Compliment)

No One Asked For This (Until They Fucking Well Asked For It)

Is writing a book about feeling guilty for how much privilege you have arguably the most privileged thing a “writer” can do? Probably. And right down to the title, Cazzie David has a “please don’t hate me” aura that drips off the pages like saccharine ooze disguised as sarcasm and malcontentedness. Considering David’s claims that she’s already thought the worst possible things about herself over … Continue reading No One Asked For This (Until They Fucking Well Asked For It)

Eve Babitz and the Trouble With Taquitos

Even someone as “harmless” and carefreely narcissistic as Eve Babitz might not have made it in today’s literary scene. As her resurgence reached a crescendo in 2018, with Emma Roberts touting Sex and Rage as her book club choice (oy vey) for the summer of ’17 and Counterpoint re-issuing a lesser known work called Black Swans the year after, on the heels of the rediscovered … Continue reading Eve Babitz and the Trouble With Taquitos

We Have Always Lived in the Castle: The Ideal Halloween in Lockdown Read

Because Shirley Jackson never disappoints when it comes to specializing in chilling tales detailing the macabre nature of existence and humanity itself, it is almost impossible to choose a favorite work of hers for the purposes of “celebrating” Halloween. Of course, for many, celebrations of this pagan holiday have been essentially cancelled due to, well, you know. But because this year is so specific with … Continue reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle: The Ideal Halloween in Lockdown Read

A Tale of Two Personalities: Elaine Brown’s A Taste of Power by Zeke Greenwald

A more relevant read than ever, Elaine Brown’s 1992 memoir, A Taste of Power, covers her early life and all her years in the Black Panther Party. Growing up in Philadelphia before moving to Oakland, Brown was forced to bifurcate into two people: someone who could hang with the black girls after school and someone who could hang with the Jewish girls during school. Her … Continue reading A Tale of Two Personalities: Elaine Brown’s A Taste of Power by Zeke Greenwald

The Ever-Pertinent Theme of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery

The joys of a public stoning may have evolved into more metaphorical methods, but the “tradition” remains very much alive in the present. Just as it was in Shirley Jackson’s own time, having released “The Lottery” in the summer of 1948. With World War II still being freshly ended, there remained the dark pall of those dictators who rose to prominence as a result of … Continue reading The Ever-Pertinent Theme of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery

The Abandonment of California by Joan Didion: A Comparative Glance at Run River and Where I Was From

In an alternate universe, perhaps Joan Didion herself might have become some version of Lily Knight, the dissatisfied, cuckolding Sacramento girl who couldn’t seem to fathom how to be a good wife to the man who loved her. Without her writing talent as a ticket out of town, Didion could have easily become just another Golden State tragedy, damned to a lifetime of complacence and … Continue reading The Abandonment of California by Joan Didion: A Comparative Glance at Run River and Where I Was From