Oscar Wilde was in good company as a smoker. In fact, amongst the great writers of the last 150 years it's well-nigh impossible to find anyone who didn't rely on tobacco to see them through long hours scratching away with a pen or tapping at a typewriter.
The man who stood at the entrance to my New World was my first English teacher, Ernie Kaeselau. He passed away recently, and though I hadn't seen him in decades, the news of his demise left me unexpectedly bereft.
Parents and siblings are sometimes a bit baffled when their student declares a passionate interest in the humanities. Why can't she pursue a practical degree like accounting or computer science? What is the use of a dozen courses in the humanities?
When did writers start being brands? This question led me through a maze of other squirrely musings. If you write a memoir, are you forever a memoirist? What happens if a thriller writer dares to try his hand at romance?
Who's responsible for instilling in our young people an appreciation for history and citizenship? Many of us -- teachers, educators, and members of the public alike -- are very concerned about the demise of social studies.
Quoting William Shakespeare is a little like breathing: every living person does it. "He's dead as a doornail," your roommate will say as she flips through the newspaper obits, never realizing she's just quoted part of a couplet from Henry VI.
The first few post cards I ever saw were scenes of Paris in winter. I recall a sun-drenched afternoon in my grammar school courtyard in Sadec, deep in the Mekong Delta where school children lined up to see real post cards from Paris mounted inside a glass box.
How do we know if a digital book is of a quality to support children's literacy development? An answer to this question must be constructed by all who contribute to a child's growth as a literate person.
Two hours and about 30,000 tweets later, the full cover was revealed, #ClockworkPrincess was a worldwide Twitter trending topic, and fans of the series were already critiquing what the cover does -- and doesn't -- show.
How a Person Should Be is centered around Sheila Heti's quest to uncover this philosophical riddle: who am I really? And is that the person I should be? It is one of these rare gems that every woman should read.
Oxford is sui generis, literally "of its own kind." Poet Matthew Arnold described it as "that sweet city with her dreaming spires." It is home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world. To pop culture fans, Oxford is something more.
Ernest Hemingway has become such a legendary character, it's hard to think of a recipe that could match his macho reputation. Whether on a Cuban beach or the African savanna, Hem was a fan of the good life -- and that included good food.
Any man who serves me Edna St. Vincent Millay with a shot of Jim White and dashing references to New Order, Robert Johnson, Astral Weeks, and The Cure, needn't bother with "hello." I surrender utterly.