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Meghan Daum has written two popular essay collections, My Misspent Youth (Open City Books, 2001) and The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion (FSG, 2014), which won the 2015 PEN Center USA Award for creative nonfiction. Daum has also written a novel, The Quality of Life Report (Viking, 2003) and a memoir, Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House (Knopf, 2010). She is the editor of the New York Times bestselling essay anthology Selfish, Shallow & Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not To Have Kids (Picador, 2015).
In addition to her books, Daum has been an opinion columnist at The Los Angeles Times for over a decade, covering cultural and political topics. She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and Vogue, among others. Daum is the recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and is an adjunct associate professor in the MFA Writing Program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts.
EB: First things first: how did you begin writing nonfiction? Continue reading
Jorge Luis Borges writes in “The Argentine Writer and Tradition,”
For many years, in books now happily forgotten, I tried to copy down the flavor, the essence of the outlying suburbs of Buenos Aires. Of course, I abounded in local words; I did not omit such words as cuchilleros, milonga, tapia and others, and thus I wrote those forgettable and forgotten books. Then, about a year ago, I wrote a story called “Death and the Compass,” which is a kind of nightmare, a nightmare in which there are elements of Buenos Aires, deformed by the horror of the nightmare. […] There I think of the Paseo Colón and call it rue de Toulon; I think of the country houses of Adrogue and call them Triste-leRoy; when this story was published, my friends told me that at last they had found in what I wrote the flavor of the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Precisely because I had not set out to find that flavor, because I had abandoned myself to a dream, I was able to accomplish, after so many years, what I had previously sought in vain.
Watch it with us: Netflix streaming
If you’ve been paying attention to baseball scuttlebutt during the off-season, you probably know there’s been some spirited back-and-forth among current and former players about the propriety (or lack thereof) of flamboyant behavior or emotional displays on the field. But this isn’t a new phenomenon. In anticipation of baseball season, I watched No No: A Dockumentary, the story of larger-than-life Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis, who, among other antics and anecdotes, famously threw a no-hitter in the summer of 1970 while high on LSD.
The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson: “The Red Parts is a memoir, an account of a trial, and a provocative essay that interrogates the American obsession with violence and missing white women, and that scrupulously explores the nature of grief, justice, and empathy.”
Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings by Stephen O’Connor: “A debut novel about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, in whose story the conflict between the American ideal of equality and the realities of slavery and racism played out in the most tragic of terms.”
The Bed Moved by Rebecca Schiff: “The audacious, savagely funny debut of a writer of razor-sharp wit and surprising tenderness: a collection of stories that gives us a fresh take on adolescence, death, sex; on being Jewish-ish; and on finding one’s way as a young woman in the world.”
Also this month: We’ll interview Meghan Daum and review the Argentine writer Robert Arlt.