“Women’s Barracks” a novel by Tereska Torrès

From The New York Times:

Tereska Torrès, a convent-educated French writer who quite by accident wrote America’s first lesbian pulp novel, died on Thursday at her home in Paris. She was 92.

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What Happens to Stolen Bicycles?

An intriguing article from Priceonomics about economic incentives:

At Priceonomics, we are fascinated by stolen bicycles. Put simply, why the heck do so many bicycles get stolen? It seems like a crime with very limited financial upside for the thief, and yet bicycle theft is rampant in cities like San Francisco (where we are based). What is the economic incentive for bike thieves that underpins the pervasiveness of bike theft? Is this actually an efficient way for criminals to make money?


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Ernest Hemingway in Cuba

From Life, with 12 rare photos—the introduction:

That Ernest Hemingway was, for years, the most celebrated writer in America is hardly surprising. After all, if he had written nothing besides, say, The Sun Also Rises, the early collection, In Our Time, and the magisterial “Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” he would still be an utterly indispensable American writer. The preposterous and romantic literary myth that Hemingway himself created and nurtured, meanwhile — that of the brawling, hard-drinking, thrill-seeking sportsman who is also an uncompromising, soulful artist — ensured that generations of writers would not merely revere him, but (often to their own abiding detriment) would also try to emulate him.

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Salman, The Messenger

Referring to Salman Rushdie, from The Millions. The introductory paragraph:

Ayatollah Khomeini had not read The Satanic Verses at the time his fatwasuborning the murder of Salman Rushdie was proclaimed. After all on February 14, 1989, the novel had yet to be translated into Arabic, let alone Farsi. Rather, the Iranian leadership had witnessed on television the immolation of a copy of Rushdie’s book by a council of Muslims in Bradford, which triggered a succession of replicate demonstrations of ire and rage across parts of the Islamic world. Heine’s assertion, “Dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen,” was thus eerily appropriate – “Wherever they burn books, they also burn people in the end.”

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Why I Blog, by Andrew Sullivan

From the Atlantic (November 2008)

THE WORD blog is a conflation of two words: Web and log. It contains in its four letters a concise and accurate self-description: it is a log of thoughts and writing posted publicly on the World Wide Web. In the monosyllabic vernacular of the Internet, Web log soon became the word blog.

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Naomi Wolf’s latest book: “Vagina: A New Biography”

A review by Florence King (Hat tip: Bookworm Room) with this priceless quote:

If you thought there was nothing new to say about female sexuality, you don’t know Naomi Wolf’s gift for saying nothing new about anything. In her 1991 bestseller, The Beauty Myth, she revealed that attractive women are luckier than homely women. A human shoehorn, she used her subsequent fame to ease herself into the role of political consultant in the 2000 presidential race and reveal that Al Gore has the personality of a tree. She took charge of his wardrobe and revealed his true nature as a resplendent autumnal tree by making him wear socks in warm, earthy colors and teaching him to cross his legs so that they showed.

Now she has uncrossed her own legs and written the life and times of her vagina.


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What Does it Mean to Be Poor?

A thoughtful balanced essay on poverty in the United States, by Megan McArdle: The consumption of the poor is much higher than their incomes. Is poverty falling, or not?

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Fire in a Crowded Theatre

Christopher Hitchens speaking at Hart House, University of Toronto, November 15th, 2006 (Hat tip: Ann Althouse)

And, of course, yelling “fire” in a crowded theater when there is a fire—when the truth is being told—is not only appropriate, but desired.


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Stephen Breyer on Intellectual Influences

From The Browser:

The US Supreme Court Justice discusses five books that have influenced his thinking, and explains why reading widely, including literature, is essential for judges and lawyers.

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