If The Bomb Drops, Baby

John Hersey

Avoidance is either a deep, deep strategy for living life, or a self-preservation mechanism.

Or maybe it’s both.

Born near the tail end of the Baby Boom, I’m supposed to share existential dread with an entire generation. We are the first generation, as the story is told in some quarters, to Continue reading


Charlotte Sometimes

Charlotte’s Web
E.B. White

The read-aloud project here at the Stone Cottage has taken a well-deserved break from wizardly things. We have, in fact, most recently found ourselves in the barnyard, spending time with a garrulous group of animals as they encounter life’s biggest challenges.

Like many another kid, I read this book at about the age my son is now. (He’s finishing third grade.) It’s a Continue reading

Is Someone’s Mind on Vacation?

CV1_TNY_08_04_14Chast.inddWhat’s up on 42nd street?

That’s terribly vague. So let me ask a more specific question: did The New Yorker give the entire editorial staff an extended summer holiday? I fear the answer must be yes based on the 6 pages or so of space wasted on John Lanchester’s story, Money Talks, in the August 4 issue. (Free access for the rest of the summer.)

Lanchester doesn’t like the language of finance. He says of it, “You are left wondering whether somebody is trying to con Continue reading

He’s No Angel

Let Me Finish
Roger Angell

You’d think that the reminiscences of an octagenarian WASP would drive me to distraction. Well, in this particular case you’d be dead wrong.

Like anyone, I have my weaknesses. And among them my biggest weakness is for anything that’s terribly New York in a certain, mid-20th century sort of way. Get to Bonfire of the Vanities and the decline and rot are already apparent. The sweet spot for me is a roughly 30-year period between 1936 and 1966–Swing Time, or My Man Godfrey, to Barefoot in the Park.

There are untold reasons for this but mainly it’s because I was born toward the Continue reading