Articles by Janet Potter

August 17, 2015

How to Title Every Book You Ever Write 4

Get out your favorite album. Rank the tracks in order of how much you like them. Take the fourth song. Print out the lyrics to that song and black out any that are well known. From the remaining lyrics, choose either the first or second half of a complete thought. Note: It must be meaningless out of context.

April 24, 2015

Fish Out of Water: On Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan’s ‘The Royal We’ 0

Underneath the frothy exterior is sharp look at the clash between modern women and the ways they are portrayed.

April 1, 2015

Our Basest Instincts: On Jon Ronson’s ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’ 3

If 21st-century technology has made public shaming easier, faster, and more random, it’s also made us all targets. This book makes it clear than anything you say or do can be held against you in a court of opinion, by people who don’t know anything about you, in perpetuity.

February 20, 2015

The Joy of Crewnecks: Marie Kondo’s ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ 4

Marie Kondo has a method for cleaning and reorganizing your home that might be crazy and might be brilliant, but works either way.

December 6, 2014

A Year in Reading: Janet Potter 8

I took Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan on my summer vacation, and nothing will ever be the same.

October 29, 2014

Getting to Know the Presidents, Part 2: From the Compromisers to the Beards 1

Rud Hayes is one of my favorite presidents, and not just because I can get lost for days in his eyes.

June 16, 2014

You’re a Wizard, Julia: Getting to Know 20-Time Jeopardy! Champion Julia Collins 0

As Alex Trebek said during the introduction to her 21st game, “We have a wonderfully delightful, friendly champion in Julia Collins. Until she gets into a game, then she becomes relentless.”

May 29, 2014

If No One Sees It, Is it Still Art? On Finding Vivian Maier 10

The documentary Finding Vivian Maier recently joined the burgeoning conversation about its titular subject, a reclusive Chicago nanny whose collection of street photography was discovered at a storage auction shortly before her death in the form of thousands of undeveloped rolls of film.

May 28, 2014

Into the Sublime: On Geoff Dyer’s Another Great Day at Sea 0

A unique and compelling stylist, and a charming reporter, Dyer seems to have an absolute bang-up time on this assignment, and it’s a pleasure to go along with him.

April 16, 2014

A History of Love (of Bookstores) 6

I have a long string of past loves, but they’re all bookstores.