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Durga Chew-Bose is an essayist whose wide-ranging interests and intellectual curiosity have made her thoughts and words beloved in formats both short and long. Her first book, Too Much and Not the Mood, was published by FSG this month, and it’s a deep meditation on interiority, selfhood, and how one learns to fully inhabit oneself. I caught up with Durga so that we could chat about the writing process, finding your voice, and the...
A lot changed in 2016. Trump was elected; Vinson Cunningham became a staff writer at the New Yorker. But will his approach to writing change? “I hope it doesn’t,” he says. “I just want to get better at writing—at thinking hard and being honest. That's the only response to the times that makes sense to me.” (Snaps-n-claps!) Vinson writes about lots of stuff, but it loosely narrows down to Obama (Vinson worked in his...
For me, writing a menu is not unlike writing an essay: I spend hours sitting on the couch with books—cookbooks in this case—and handwritten notebooks splayed out around me like a pack of sleeping puppies. Sometimes there’s a literal sleeping puppy thrown in there, too. I open each book to a certain image or flavor combination so I can easily shift my eyes between the recipe for green onion powder, a step-by-step pictorial guide...
The Girl from the Metropol Hotel, Russian writer Lyudmilla Petrushevskaya’s memoir of her childhood, opens with a series of events that will sound familiar to anyone with a basic knowledge of Soviet history: in the 1930’s, her grandmother’s siblings and their spouses, all prominent Bolsheviks, were arrested in Moscow. Officially sentenced to “ten years of hard labor without the right to correspondence,” they were never seen again. The rest of the family escaped arrest...

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