Posts Tagged: Excerpts

A First Halloween After Prison

Each year, "The Castle"—a West Harlem halfway house whose nickname comes from its miniature lookout towers and its gray crenellations—puts on a Halloween celebration for its residents and the general public. As a huge fan of Halloween, which is not generally observed in my native Germany, I was eager to be there when Angel, one of 60 or so halfway house residents, celebrated it for the first time in more than three decades.

I had been reporting on Angel's life since shortly after his release from prison in March of 2007. In 1978, shortly after turning 18, Angel had murdered a 16-year-old girl. He was 47 when he was [...]


A Single Footnote About Pringles And Memory From Michael Paterniti's "The Telling Room"

Michael Paterniti's new book, The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese, is his first since 2001's Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America with Einstein's Brain. It's out next week, and is already available wherever you purchase books, be it Powells, Amazon, McNally Jackson, Barnes and Noble or a bookstore near you.

It's about cheese! "A wild and amazing ride," says George Saunders. "It made me want to move to Spain," says Elizabeth Gilbert. (Hee.) And: maniacally fun and discursive, says The Awl. How so? Here is a single footnote from the book. [...]


Should You Move To Paris

I’d been in Paris less than twelve hours, arriving for a job interview, when I was invited to my first French dinner party. The job I wanted was at a Parisian advertising agency. My would-be boss, Pierre, said after the meeting that he had an older sister, Paulette, who’d invited me for dinner. Very charitable of her, I thought, but did she know I barely spoke French? I spent the afternoon drinking, worrying in a café on the Champs-Elysées—springtime in Paris, many happy lovers walking by, and I wished on them all gonorrhea. That night, Pierre and I took a cab to the 2nd arrondissement, and rode upstairs in a [...]


"The Thetan Templar," by Dan Brown: Last Plane To Benghazi

Don't miss the startling first chapter of The Thetan Templar.

Chapter Two

It was cold and drizzly outside—as cold as the trail leading to the Islamic glass dildo, currently nestled within the elegant antique Egyptian laptop desk in the office of NYU Professor Nate "Shirky" Stryker, the world's leading academic in the fields of new media, the occult and nanotechnology. But Stryker wasn't keeping office hours today, and neither was the mysterious dildo.

"Get the phallus," Nate Stryker said to his beautiful assistant professor, Tanalyne Foster Wallace.

"What's a phallus?"

Stryker glanced out the window with its unobstructed view of the Empire State Building

"You're a genius," she said, [...]


Nine Paris Apartments In Eleven Hours

In 2007, Rosecrans Baldwin was offered a job with an ad agency in Paris, and he and his wife made the move to France from Brooklyn. In this excerpt from Paris, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down, his new (and very funny) memoir about the experience, he goes on a search for an apartment.

Three weeks later, I returned to Paris to find an apartment. The agency provided me with an HR representative and a real-estate agent to show me around. Extremely generous of them, I thought. We saw eleven apartments in nine hours. The agent was serious about her business. She rarely smiled, driving [...]


The Problem with Pennies, From 'The End Of Money'

If pennies and nickels are largely useless, why does the U.S. Mint continue to manufacture them? In this excerpt from The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers—and the Coming Cashless Society, out this week, David Wolman investigates why eliminating the penny is problematic.

In the Victorian ballroom of the Charing Cross Hotel in London, the thirteenth annual Digital Money Forum is wrapping up with a session of free beer and wine. Beneath brass chandeliers, people from the worlds of banking, telecom, academia, and international development have absorbed an entire weekend’s worth of talk about money in the form of bits and bytes, and tomorrow’s technologies for handling [...]


How To Talk To Your Dog*

This essay appears in Deliriously Happy: and Other Bad Thoughts, out this week.

Have you ever noticed that you always know when your dog wants to go “out”? Or when he is hungry? Or when he is angry with you or others?

You know because your dog is already talking to you!

Dogs are natural actors, instinctively adept at using their bodies and facial expressions to communicate with you nonverbally. They are also expert mimes, capable of performing a vast repertoire of deceptively simple routines to subtly get their points across. Some of these “bits” are universal (e.g., nosing the dog dish to indicate hunger, drinking out of the [...]


Williamsburg Before The Condos: The Soundtrack of an Unplanned Waterfront

Few musical ensembles are so thoroughly synonymous with New York City’s underground scene as the Hungry March Band. Over the past fifteen years they have established themselves as the band that will play anywhere and everywhere, at any time and under all circumstances. Dedicated to “in your face” encounters with mostly unsuspecting audiences, they are a “public” marching band and frequently take to the streets with their instruments, whether they have been invited to do so or not. Once dubbed “Best Anarchist Parade Group” by the Village Voice, HMB gave performances on the streets, sidewalks, and subways of the city that are legendary. The band is large, loud, and [...]


A Short Excerpt From Every Piece In The Classical Magazine's Baseball Issue

The following are excerpts from every piece in The Classical Magazine’s baseball issue, "The Same Old Game." You can read "The Same Old Game" a few different ways. The most highly recommended, if you're an Apple user, is to just get the app: it's free, and comes with a free issue, then it's $3.99 for an issue, or $29.99 for a full year of 12 issues. (There are also PDF, Kindle, and .Puig files available DIY style at the same prices. Just get in touch with Pete Beatty at to work out a transaction.)

Why are we doing this? Well, The Classical offered us a piece [...]


Ginger Ale On The Rocks, An Excerpt From "The Love Song Of Jonny Valentine"

The novel The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, which is out today, is narrated by the 11-year-old pop star known for such bubblegum hits as "Guys vs. Girls" and "U R Kewt." The novel tracks Jonny, who speaks and thinks in a mash-up of tween grammar and music-industry lingo, on his "Valentine Days" tour across America. As he chafes under the control of his manager-mother, Jane, he attempts to reconnect clandestinely over the Internet with someone claiming to be his long-lost father. (In a review last week in The New York Times, Michiko Kakutani had nice things to say about it.)

In this scene, Jonny has escaped [...]


"The Thetan Templar," A New Novel By Dan Brown


New York University, Manhattan 11:44 A.M.

Nate "Shirky" Stryker looked over the NYU courtyard beneath his office balcony. There were 32,000 cobblestones in that perfect rectangle, or a thousand for each of the 32 degrees of Islamic-Rite Masonry, an organization that officially didn't even exist.

Stryker ran his left hand through his graying, dignified temple hair. Beneath him was a galley copy of his next book, Strangled Theories: Why Everything You Know About Memeology Is A Lie. A hot-pink Post-It on the title page said, "Another Million Seller! Fondly, R.M."

Perhaps it is, Stryker thought. Or perhaps it isn't. Time would tell, if Time continued its present lateral [...]


When A Medieval Knight Could Marry Another Medieval Knight

Eric Berkowitz's new book Sex And Punishment, out today from Counterpoint, is a fascinating survey of how legal systems over the millenia have attempted to regulate and police sex. In this excerpt, a discussion of the once-wide acceptance of same-sex unions between men in Europe of the Middle Ages.

Despite the risks, devotional relationships between men were common in Europe at the time, at least among the literate, and many of these affairs must have included sex at some point. Knights, aristocrats, and especially clerics left expansive evidence of their intense passions for male lovers, relationships that often ended in side-by-side burials. A letter from a respected monk–scholar [...]


Excerpts From 'How to Be: North Dakota'

How to Be: North Dakota – A Guide to the Plains is out now (and psst, costs only $8.95). The book, which features illustrations by Amy Jean Porter, would make a great holiday gift for anyone "who has looked at the vast expanse of Ole and Lena jokes and asked, 'Is that it?'"


Naugahyde While its use peaked in the rest of America in the early 1970s, the tanned skin of the wild nauga remains popular in North Dakota.

Bison vs. Buffalo Buffalo, home to terrible pro-sports teams, is an industrial wasteland in New York State. A Bison is the mascot of a [...]


An Excerpt from Ken Layne's "Dignity"

Dignity, a new book by Ken Layne, is a novel composed of found letters, set in the post-housing crisis California wasteland, when people must learn again how to make food.

My friends in Goleta Meadows,

I think about you always and honor the sacrifices you make for our community.

How is our little group? Are people from the area still showing up for the weekly suppers? Keep your gates open to neighbors, and hide nothing from the honestly curious. We are living without the three poisons by choice, to show the world a new path, in fact a new map of the world. Don’t be weary. [...]


How To Talk Like Shakespeare

Daniel Fromson's Finding Shakespeare is the tale of a troubled Vietnam veteran turned amateur actor named Hamilton Meadows who became obsessed with a question: what did Shakespeare really sound like? The full story is new this week from Atavist. That's just $2.99 for a month, or $19.99 for a whole year!

A few years ago, while I was living in Washington, D.C., I became curious about a small, apple turnover-shaped landmass in the Chesapeake Bay: Tangier Island. On Halloween, 2011—after reading about the place on and off for a year or so—I came across a story in the Salisbury, Maryland, Daily Times. A “New York City [...]


Porn Star Problems

I moved to New York in the death throes of a bad relationship. He was my college boyfriend and we started dating when I was twenty. He was charismatic and outspoken, he seemed smart and he was really, really tall. In addition to all that, he could dress himself competently so I pretty much thought he was perfect. As I matured a little, I realized the things you like in college (or on “asshole vacation,” as I like to call it) shouldn’t be the things you like as an independent, free-thinking adult with a real-life job and real-life responsibilities. Or, at least, they shouldn’t be if you plan on doing [...]


A Ninja Superstar, From "Jujitsu Rabbi And The Godless Blonde"

An excerpt from the opening of journalist Rebecca Dana's new memoir, Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde: A True Story. The book tells about the year Dana spent living in a Hasidic neighborhood in Brooklyn, with a rabbi named Cosmo, while working as a fashion writer for Tina Brown.

It's ten o'clock on a Tuesday night, a light rain is falling on the wide streets of Brooklyn, and I'm in my living room, strangling a rabbi.

This is the first time I've ever physically assaulted a man of God, and I have to say, it feels excellent. My fingers, with their chipped red nail polish, are digging into [...]


Take These Broken Wings, From 'This Is Your Captain Speaking'

Jon Methven's comedic new novel, This Is Your Captain Speaking, out today from Simon & Schuster, takes up the lives of plane passengers who survive a miraculous Captain Sully-type landing in the Hudson River only to find themselves in the midst of a massive conspiracy. Here's how everything starts.

Air Wanderlust Flight 2921 crested the skyline that separated New York City from the heavens then banked a soft right into a raspberry sun. It climbed against an insatiable gravity and skipped toward an archipelago of pinkish clouds, a flat stone across a blessed sea. The captain tipped a left wing to the drifting metropolis. The passengers on that [...]


How Not to Kiss in Paris

"In kissing, some people were ripe, others were not. Whole groups could be off-limits. It definitely wasn't appropriate to kiss your boss, except when it was, though it was correct to kiss your underlings, except when it wasn't. Young men generally didn't kiss other young men, unless they were friends outside work. But older men did, sometimes. You never knew. Also, these kisses were intended not to touch the cheek but to glance it. People kept their eyes locked on the middle distance and seemed, while kissing or being kissed, very bored. Honestly, I had no idea how it worked. September found me frequently biseing inappropriately. Male clients, IT [...]


From Green Corridor To Thick Edge: The Linear Park

This excerpt comes from Diana Balmori's A Landscape Manifesto. Balmori Associates, her landscape and urban design firm, recently completed a nine-mile linear park on the abandoned New Haven railroad in Connecticut.

Converting a railroad corridor to a linear park results in an essential transformation of a past artifact. Though linear parks and other new landscape forms take their structure from the past, they have risen to the level of new typologies. They mark the beginning of a new landscape agenda. The example of an abandoned railway line made into a linear park or greenway will serve as the poster child of such ecological transformations.

This [...]