Firefighting

The Fire Rises

My father was an Eagle Scout when being an Eagle Scout meant something. When I was young, he taught me the proper way to build a campfire, and also about Houdini, and the way Houdini died. My father told me that if I fell asleep near running water dragonflies would come and sew my eyelids shut. For nightmares, he once offered ibuprofen. I am sitting on the floor of my ... [Continue Reading]

Illustration: Jenny Williams

Women We Read This Week

Anna Merlan's "Ghost Child: The Strange, Misunderstood World of Delusional Pregnancy" on Jezebel For some reason I started reading this just before I went to sleep the other night. I was about halfway through when my husband crawled into bed and made the mistake of trying to talk to me. “I’m reading about ghost pregnancies,” I told him. His eyes got wide. “Are ... [Continue Reading]

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Bookmarked: Sheila Black’s Six Poets with Disabilities

When I was a kid with what is usually called “a visible disability,” braces on my legs, the only books people ever gave me about disability were biographies of Helen Keller (in which Keller always appeared to be some kind of saint) and a book called Karen by Maria Killea about her daughter who had cerebral palsy. Karen was always kind even though everyone was mean to ... [Continue Reading]

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Women We Read This Week

Laura Hudson's "Twine, the Video-Game Technology for All" in The New York Times Magazine When talk turns to video games, gaming, GamerGate, any of that, my mind creeps away. I don't play videogames -- well, not since I entertained my younger brother by playing Disney's Aladdin with him -- and the world of gaming seems inherently male. Hudson's article opened my eyes to ... [Continue Reading]

Illustration: Jenny Williams

Women We Read This Week

Patsy Sims' "No Twang of Conscience Whatever" in Oxford American In “No Twang of Conscience Whatever,” Patsy Sims investigates the 1964 murders of civil rights activists Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney – an investigation which leads her to the Ku Klux Klan’s White Knights of Mississippi and a chilling interview with Preacher Edgar Ray ... [Continue Reading]

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Women We Read This Week

Rachel Sturtz's "Unprotected" in Outside Colorado-based Rachel Sturtz spent a year investigating this story, about USA Swimming's handling of coaches who sexually abuse and assault the young swimmers in their care. The national governing body for amateur swimming hasn't just turned a blind eye to serial predators in its ranks, it has also gone out of its way to obstruct ... [Continue Reading]

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Bookmarked: Katie Coyle’s Five Young Adult Authors

If you don’t read Young Adult fiction, you would be forgiven for thinking of it in terms of a few select titles. That’s because the blockbuster book, so rare in the world of literary fiction, still appears regularly on YA bookshelves. Sometimes I think it’s the popularity of these books that make it so easy for adult readers to associate literature for teens only ... [Continue Reading]

Photo by Nicki Varkevisser

Nocturne

There is a class of seniors in my library. Their teacher is stuck in a meeting with the superintendent and his classroom is locked. I have gathered them in from the hall, where they were being absurdly noisy. They are still being absurdly noisy, but at least in here I can contain it, close the doors, shut the lights, and collect their hubbub in. I could raise my voice at ... [Continue Reading]

Illustration: Jenny Williams

Women We Read This Week

Lionel Shriver’s "I was poor but I was happy" in The Guardian What a lovely thing to wake up to on a weekday morning: an articulate little musing on happiness that never veers into sentimental or apologetic territory and makes you glad to have read it. Shriver uses a geographical metaphor to suggest a more complex - and realistic - understanding of happiness: as a ... [Continue Reading]

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Awareness

The night I move in, I sit in my darkened kitchen and sip wine next to the open window. I watch as the cops pull up beside a black teenager who is walking on the sidewalk across the street. They say something to him, get out of their squad car, and pat him down. One of the cops glances up, sees me peering out. After a few minutes, they pull away and the lanky teenager is ... [Continue Reading]

Women We Read This Week

Women We Read This Week

Sarah Schweitzer's "Chasing Bayla" in The Boston Globe For the second time in two months, my "Women We Read This Week" pick is a sad, moving story about a whale. But while Leslie Jamison's 52 Blue was about loneliness and the way we so often transpose our own feelings onto animals, imagining that they feel the same way, "Chasing Bayla" is about the undeniable physical ... [Continue Reading]