Imagine a ship carrying goods in containers that, if lined up, would stretch around 11,000 miles long, or nearly halfway around the planet. Rose George spent several weeks aboard one such ship as research for her new book, Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car and Food on Your Plate.
When Madeleine L'Engle won the Newbery Prize for A Wrinkle in Time, she ended her speech with the thought that a book "can be a star, 'explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,' a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe."
While the cynics among us might argue that America's high ideals and lofty rhetoric rarely transcend their inscriptions on stone, few would disagree that the 1963 March on Washington was one of the nation's finest hours. It was a transformational moment, and a portent for future blows to segregation and injustice.
In the town where I grew up — Memphis, Tenn. — Tad Pierson has made a career out of his love for cars and American music by working as a tour guide. We meet in the grand lobby of the Peabody Hotel, the downtown landmark famous for its ducks and Southern elegance. But it's also considered the starting point of the Mississippi Delta, a region steeped in the blues.
Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 7:44 pm
You might think a great benefit of living in Maine is unlimited access to fresh, cheap lobster. Most Mainers, however, probably eat less lobster in a year than tourists here consume in a week. Lobster bakes and boiling lobsters in those tall, speckled pots are grudgingly reserved for when company comes.
When you hear the word "kebab" in America, you might think of skewers with chunks of chicken or beef and vegetables, marinated and grilled on coals or gas. But say "kebab" in the Middle East, and it means a lot of things — chunks of lamb or liver on skewers, or the more popular version of grilled ground meat logs found in Turkey, Iran and much of the Arab world.
Writer Kiese Laymon has had the kind of year every first-time author dreams of: two books published to critical acclaim. But none of that came easily. The title of his most recent book, an essay collection released on Tuesday, hints at how tough the road really was: It's called How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America.