In Memoriam

January 4, 2009

R.I.P., Glenn Goldman 6


Glenn Goldman, the owner and founder of Book Soup in West Hollywood, California, died yesterday from complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 58 years old. I first worked at Book Soup when I was nineteen, and I returned after graduating from college. I loved the place, and I still do; it’s my favorite book store […]

November 6, 2008

Michael Crichton RIP 1


Michael Crichton died Wednesday after a bout with cancer. Crichton looms large in my history of reading. While other writers introduced me to the potential of literary fiction, it was Crichton who really stoked my love of reading between the age of 12 and 15. I remember reading Sphere in the high school library during […]

November 1, 2008

Studs Terkel RIP 0


Studs Terkel died at 96 on Friday. In Chicago, Terkel’s adopted home, he was regarded as a local treasure. Terkel had a long radio career hosting shows on which he conducted wide-ranging interviews, but he was perhaps best known for his series of oral histories. The genre is now quite popular, encompassing topics from punk […]

September 24, 2008

On DFW’s Death 0


I first heard the news of David Foster Wallace’s death the morning after my wedding. I was walking around the small downtown that hosted the weekend’s festivities and ran into a couple, friends of the bride. They had left the wedding the night before with my college roommates, the group steaming back to a rented […]

September 14, 2008

David Foster Wallace 1962-2008 12


I. It seems fitting to begin a reflection on the late David Foster Wallace in a fit of anxiety about reception – about the propensity of words, sentences, personae, to falsify or to be misunderstood. For example: I know this seems fraudulent and fanciful and like the scratching of some deep narcissistic itch, to write […]

September 14, 2008

David Foster Wallace, A Great American Novelist, Dead at 46 2


The New York Times is reporting that David Foster Wallace died Friday at his California home. In lieu of more coherent reflections – at least for the time being – we at The Millions would like to salute a novelist whose achievements will stand in the company of American giants, and whose best work should […]

August 5, 2008

Holding a Vigil for a People’s History: an Appreciation of Solzhenitsyn’s Cancer Ward 1


Stephanie Deutsch, a writer and critic living in Washington, D.C., was a first year graduate student in Soviet Union Area Studies at Harvard in 1970 when Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. She had spent the previous year living in Moscow. This essay is an update of an appreciation written ten years […]

November 10, 2007

So Long, Sweet Scientist: Norman Mailer Dies at 84 6


Norman Mailer, a colossus who bestrode worlds both literary and journalistic – and, at his best, combined them – has died of acute renal failure, according to the Times. Mailer had been in poor health for some time, and, given his hospitalization last month and his advanced age, his death comes as no surprise. And […]

September 4, 2007

Remembering Michael Jackson, 65, author, beer critic 1


In the early 1970s, when Michael Jackson first came on the scene, the idea of a professional beer critic must have seemed absurd. You didn’t need a professional, after all, to help you choose between one pale, fizzy lager and another. They all got you equally drunk. Since that time, beer culture in the United […]

August 23, 2007

A Salute to Grace Paley (1922-2007) 3


Thumbtacked to the wall above my desk is a line from Grace Paley’s Enormous Changes at the Last Minute. It runs: “Everyone, real or invented, deserves the open destiny of life.” Paley could speak of “open destiny” with some authority. A writer to the marrow, she was also a mother, a rabble-rouser, and an inspiration. […]