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Author Archives: Rachel

The mensch v. the putz: Woody Allen is no Natan Sharansky

David Gerlernter’s comparison of Woody Allen to Natan Sharansky manages to elevate Allen and denigrate Sharansky. Whether you agree with his politics or not, Sharansky is a towering figure. Read Fear No Evil, his memoir of life in the gulag, if you don’t believe me. Woody Allen, on the other hand, not so much. Gerlernter is reacting to Allen’s statement ... Read More »

Jumping the shark in fiction

Does series fiction inevitably run out of steam? Sarah Weinman points to this article about the marketing machine that is Janet Evanovich and adds, [It] doesn’t really get to what’s likely the bottom line: that as the marketing hoohah has increased (and so too have her sales) the quality of the books have dropped off rather sharply. But then, does ... Read More »

Morgan Spurlock and minimum wage

Steve Antler at Econopundit blogs about the first episode of Morgan Spurlock’s new show (also here), 30 Days. In that episode, Spurlock and his fiancee try to eke out a living in Columbus, Ohio on minimum-wage jobs. As Econopundit points out, all those minimum wage jobs are scarcer than the producers apparently thought. All the easily-found jobs pay more than ... Read More »

Unfinished books: When can you put a book down?

DevraDoWrite can’t put a book down, even if she doesn’t like it very much. I have trouble giving up on a book, especially if I spent money to buy it. Sometimes, if I “can’t get into it,” I put it aside for awhile and try again later. Sometimes it’s just my mood, or level of concentration that makes reading difficult. ... Read More »

Sex and the Single Therapist: The Halo Effect by M.J. Rose

Start with a series of ritualistic murders of prostitutes; throw in a beautiful, wildly successful prostitute who’s written a tell-all book about her rich and famous clients; add a sex therapist whose explorations into her clients’ dark sides has led to her own sexual frigidity; and an exotic NYC detective who cooks, composes and plays jazz and you’ve got The ... Read More »

Disease of the week: Women’s magazines

While flipping through Women’s Day magazine today in the Jiffy Lube waiting room, I wondered: Where do they get these stories? Each issue features a first-person account by a woman suffering from a disease. The disease is usually rare and the account is a heroic one, outlining the struggle and suffering of the woman who, inevitably, goes from doctor to ... Read More »

Remakes that shouldn’t have been

Sabrina–The original was a vehicle in which viewers got to see Audrey Hepburn wear clothes, beautifully. How can you hope to substitute Audrey with Julia Ormond? Or Harrison Ford with Humphrey Bogart. Bad idea. The Women–The 1939 original starred Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell, Joan Crawford, Paulette Goddard and a host of others. The big schtick is that although the movie ... Read More »

Use a dictionary people

After a recent presentation someone approached me to tell me how glad she was that I used the word “orient” instead of the word “orientate.” The two are interchangeable but the latter really is unnecessarily clunky. Akaky of Passing Parade went on a rampage about writers who use “discrete” when they really mean “discreet.” Not the same thing at all. ... Read More »

Why do they all look the same?

WTF did they do to Penelope Cruz? Take a look at this magazine cover. I picked it up in the beauty salon yesterday and if I hadn’t read the headline next to her photo, I never would have recognized her. The first time I remember seeing Cruz was in All About My Mother. She played a nun, wore a minimum ... Read More »

You could look it up: Encyclopedias

The first encylopedias sought to collect all the world's knowledge, categorize it and make it accessible to others. Read More »