Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 8:46 am
"Etonnez-moi," Sergei Diaghilev, the founder of the Ballets Russes, used to say to his dancers. Astonish me. Maggie Shipstead's book of the same name does not astonish; rather, it charms. It is full of the kind of prose you want to curl up and nest in like a cat: seamless and full of small elegances.
The Passover Seder is usually described as a ceremonial meal: Participants sit down to a set of ritualized foods and tell the story of the exodus from Egypt. But more than just tell it, Jews are bidden to relive it. We engage in ritual and discussion and debate, until each of us feels that we've made a journey ourselves. It's a singular, time-stopping evening. But it can take a very long time.
From Back to the Future to The Twilight Zone and Doctor Who, the theme of time travel is timeless on the screen and on the page. What is it about time travel that's so darn appealing?
"We all have this idea in our heads that, if only I had said this, if only I had done that — we all want to go back and do something," says Ann VanderMeer. She and her husband Jeff are the editors of the new Time Traveler's Almanac, a giant compilation of time travel stories ranging from classic to very, very modern.
Brittney Griner is 23 years old, 6 feet 8 inches tall and one of the best female basketball players in the world. She was the WNBA top draft pick last year, and in college she set records for the most blocked shots in a season and the most career blocks in history — for male and female players. She's so good that the owner of a men's team — the Dallas Mavericks — has said he'd recruit her.
Now, Griner is also an author. She's co-written a new memoir, In My Skin, in which she describes being bullied and taunted as a kid for her height and athleticism.