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Archived Since:January 22, 2010

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What Sherlock Holmes Can Teach Us About Problem Solving

221B Baker Street can be a busy place. Sometimes a fat schoolmaster who just lost a Duke's son faints on the rug. Sherlock Holmes will show up for lunch toting a harpoon under his arm, fresh from spearing pig carcasses. The Prime Minister might drop by to report a crucial state document missing. Show More Summary

Why It's Harder to Write the Next Book than Your Last--And How to Keep Writing Anyway

I published my newest novel, Haven Lake, in April, and I have another book scheduled for publication in October. Yesterday, I started a new manuscript--my fifth book under contract with NAL/Penguin Random House. I have experienced more success as a novelist than I ever imagined. Show More Summary

A Political Parable: The Little Bush That Could -- The Roots to the White House and Beyond

Gather around, my children, for a tale that's sure to warm the heart. Watch the lay of the land unfold as a not-so-exotic vegetation emerges from among us, coming from nowhere to a position of leadership. It's sure to encourage us all to pursue our dreams and never give up hope. Once upon a time, there lived a nondescript bush. Show More Summary

On Writing: Deep Feelings and a Selective Memory

I have trouble wholly reminiscing on my life. For example, I often don't remember who I went to movies with. I can see which theater, and I can see the film on the screen, but I can never remember who was next to me. It's all unclear. Maybe this is common? Maybe it's not. Show More Summary

Tom Clancy 'Under Fire,' a Conversation With Grant Blackwood

Photo:Julie Blackwood Grant Blackwood co-authored Dead or Alive with Tom Clancy, The Kill Switch with James Rollins, and The Fargo Adventure Series with Clive Cussler. He's also the author of the Briggs Tanner Series, among other novels. Show More Summary

Voices From AdoptionLand

"I feel like a stolen heart from a corpse, trapped in a foreign body." Sunny Jo "This is not something that gets better over time. Because as you get older, as you live, you learn more and more about what's been taken away from you.Show More Summary

Banana In The Book Drop? Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

Life holds plenty of surprises, especially when you work at a public library. Last week, for instance, we found a banana in the book drop. Naturally, I logged onto my favorite librarian Facebook group to share the news. The first response? Curious...Show More Summary

Alice Goffman and the Future of Ethnography

When scholars attract widespread public attention the news coverage about them and their works, which is often incomplete and filled with misconceptions, is not usually good. So it is with the public controversy about Alice Goffman's much-discussed book, On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City. Show More Summary

7 Classic Feminist YA Books Everyone Should Read

My new novel, Kissing in America, is a feminist story about a young girl coming into her own as she gradually understands the complexities of grief and loss and love. As I wrote the book over the course of seven years, I kept thinking back to seven books I read when I was a teen, narratives that seeped under my skin and shaped who I am. Show More Summary

Top Seven Coolest Secrets of the Secret Service

I take people inside the White House. That's my job. As a thriller writer, I've taken readers into the private quarters of the First Family, the hidden staircase and secret door that the President can take up to the top floor, and even...Show More Summary

Bad Ideas: Poetry, Authenticity, and Power

"Conceptions are artificial. Perceptions are essential." -Wallace Stevens Conceptual poetry is not about people; it is about ideas. Partly for this reason, and up until recently, conceptual poets have been largely able to define the terms of conversation about their work within academia. Show More Summary

The Art of Translation: On Confessional Writing

A friend recently told me about a word game where you place the word "only" anywhere in the following sentence: "she told him that she loved him." She only told him that she loved him, she told him that she loved only him, she told him that she loved him only, she told only him that she loved him, and on and on. Show More Summary

Mass Incarceration's Invisible Casualties: Women and The Criminal Justice System

When Americans think about the war on drugs, often images of violent men behind bars shape their understandings. This persistent picture obscures the true realities and costs of both mass incarceration and the U.S. drug war. Consider this, in 2010, the U.S. Show More Summary

Word Origin Comics: Spousing Up Your Marriage

Our spouse is seldom the stuff of which poems are written. It's probably because of the limited number of words with which it rhymes. There's "house,"which is pretty mundane," louse," which is belittling; "rouse," which is daunting; leaving us only "souse" and "dowse"-- drunk and wet. Show More Summary

Rock Star Cat Revisited

I was nervous about seeing Bono again. Chances of him recognizing me were zero. But the impact one small scruffy street cat can have on a human being is surprising. Bono was one of the main reasons I needed to return to New York. Stepping into the elevator, I exchanged glances with my cat-crazy US publisher, Michaela Hamilton. Show More Summary

Reading Jane Austen on the Eve of the Singularity

Just finished Sense and Sensibility (the Marvel Comics version). Though writing about love, Austen is all business - how to get properly wed within one's small window of beauty and fertility. Making a good match is essential because, in Jane's world, there's very little time for do-overs. During Austen's time, a third of all people died as children. Show More Summary

We Are All Neoliberals Now: The New Genre of Plastic Realism in American Fiction

That's when he [Scotty] began singing the songs he'd been writing for years underground, songs no one had ever heard, or anything like them--"Eyes in My Head," "X's and O's," "Who's Watching Hardest"--ballads of paranoia and disconnection...Show More Summary

Set in the City: Author Lindsey Palmer Talks About the New York Novel

Novelist Lindsey Palmer's second novel, IF WE LIVED HERE, cleverly explores the highs and lows (mostly lows) of apartment hunting in New York City. It is also a journey into the complexity of romantic relationships, the changing dynamics of friendship in your 30s, and ultimately the quest for a home. Show More Summary

Brave New World(Building): How an Author Became a Game Designer

Writing is scary. To materialize one's ideas into words for the world to see is a daunting task, but a task I love. I've been a writer since my first child was born. During his nap time, I had all this creative energy inside me but not enough physical energy to muster a cleaning spree or a workout, so I started to write. Show More Summary

Adultery? For Me, It's A Big Yawn

At, 60, I've read thousands of books, from trashy beach fiction to great works of literature. And here's my conclusion: I am tired of reading about adultery. True, a lot of great writers have tackled this topic. And some terrific books have resulted. Show More Summary

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