What if you lived in a place where there were no independent booksellers? What if the biggest superstore carried a laughably small stock of books? What if there were literally no such things as neighborhood libraries in the country where you live? What if a mass-market paperback cost the equivalent of a very good meal […]
I’m a latecomer to the whole Glee thing. For about a year and a half, I ignored the show, even though I am an avid fan of television and musicals and people spontaneously breaking out into song. I knew the hype existed, but it existed on the periphery of my awareness, like seeing something out […]
I like the seasons. Specifically, I like that they change. There is a rhythm to the seasons that I can appreciate for the very reason that I have lived in a seasonal world for short enough a time to still marvel at it. The seasons anchor your life deeply, color it in ways that a […]
This piece was originally titled “˜How To Be A Grown-Up’ before I realized that there was no surer way to bite off more than I could chew than to claim to know how to do something which, in the view of traditional sociologists, I am tragically failing at.
I’m not a huge fan of reality. Actually, that’s a severe understatement — I have been known to actively and vigorously deny the conditions of whatever reality I happen to be currently living in by diving head-first into a pile of books and Nora Ephron movies. Friends? If I ignore your phone calls and neglect […]
I’m the sort of person who reads food blogs when she is hungry. Obviously, I also cook when I’m hungry or order delivery, which is a cheap and easy option when you live in Beijing. But I need something to do in between the chopping and the frying and the waiting for the delivery boy […]
I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who […]
I always know when I am seriously discontented with the way my life is going. Aside from the emotional eating, the cataclysmic breakdowns inflicted on the hapless boyfriend and the mindless surfing of the Internet, the kind that leaves you with a hollow and depressed feeling like you just ate a huge bag of candy […]
What’s wrong with being alone these days? Why does solitude get such a bad rep? Why is it that when friends call and demand to know if I’m alone, I always feel an immediate sense of guilt and shame when I say that yes, yes I am alone, so help me God.
I’ve been cafÃ© sitting for a long time. I’ve sat in some great cafÃ©s and a few mediocre ones and even in a couple of pretty decent chain cafÃ©s (yeah, I’m looking at you, Starbucks across from my apartment in Beijing, you surprising devil, you). A good cafÃ© can give birth to anything, from the […]