Late Night Library

Archives about Famous First Words

Famous First Words: Love Medicine

The oft-repeated anecdote regarding the beginning of Louise Erdrich’s practical employment as a writer is the one about how her father used to give her a nickel for every story she wrote. Even if you weren’t aware of it, you probably could have guessed that the two of them were pretty well tired of hearing

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December 9, 2015

Famous First Words: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street

Theodor Geisel was adrift at sea in the summer of 1936, a passenger along with his wife, Helen, aboard a Swedish American luxury liner called the M.S. Kungsholm. They were on their way back from another trip to Europe, one of many such excursions that had become a regular part of the calendar through nine years

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August 5, 2015

Famous First Words: Revolutionary Road

There is no product on the market in the United States that has been pushed as vigorously and persistently as the American Way of Life. Abstract in theory but boundlessly profitable in connection to any number of tangible goods for sale, the concept began to pick up steam in the years following the end of

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July 1, 2015

Famous First Words: Purple Hibiscus

Chimamanda Adichie managed to write two novels before she graduated from college, and kept one of them. Her initial venture was wrong from the start, forced and manufactured and wholly unrepresentative of the person she was, so she decided to let it go. The next one came in a rush. In 2001, Adichie was in

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June 3, 2015

Famous First Words: Strangers on a Train

The year was 1948, and Patricia Highsmith knew that she needed to get away. She was fully entrenched in the New York City art scene, forging professional alliances and regularly mingling with local celebrities of the day. It wasn’t an easy exercise. A seasoned socialite going back to her Barnard College days, Highsmith never really enjoyed

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May 6, 2015

Famous First Words: V.

The human animal is typically described as a social creature, and this is accurate, more or less. From an evolutionary standpoint, there’s an ample cache of evidence available for those who have resolved to make such an assertion: the overall propensity of the species to travel in packs and maintain mutually beneficial collectives, the quantifiable biological

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April 1, 2015

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