I compared cult leaders Jim Jones and Charles Manson using Jeff Guinn’s outstanding biographies of both men (originally on Literary Hub, now on Crime Reads).
I wrote about the life and impact of Joan Rivers for The New Republic.
I used Ruth Franklin’s excellent biography of Shirley Jackson as an occasion to write about literary biography at Literary Hub.
I reviewed Unpacking My Library, a tour of the bookshelves of writers, for The Rumpus.
Note: A revised version of this essay appears in Talking about Pauline Kael: Critics, Filmmakers, and Scholars Remember an Icon (edited by Wayne Stengel), 2015. Before she was Pauline Kael, New Yorker movie critic, Pauline Kael was one of many young American writers in the sway of the great critics of the 1930s. In his recently…