Call for Feature Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Diane Leach

Diane Leach has a Master’s Degree in English Literature from Humboldt State University. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New Mobility, and The Collagist. She can be reached at


Sunday, November 8 2009

Ayn Rand and the World She Made

Ayn Rand set out to remake reality as if it were an ill-fitting dress: by sheer will, she tried to fashion a Balenciaga gown from a housedress.

Tuesday, July 7 2009


My God, could that man dance. Michael Jackson moved like the love child of Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse.

Thursday, January 29 2009

What It Was Like

In the early '80s Detroit, Motown was as unquestionable as air. Who didn't like air?

Wednesday, October 22 2008

Pink Floyd and the Girl on the Floor

If Roger Waters existed, if Pink Floyd existed, there was a tiny margin of hope, a filament of promise thinner than jeweler’s wire.

Tuesday, June 17 2008


Secondhand bookstores are about more than literary treasures. As Diane Leach explains, they contain personal histories that connect readers through the ages.


Sunday, January 12 2014

2013 Was a Fine Year to Have Your Head In a Book

Five books published in 2013 that stayed with me, that I found myself urging on others, that I now say to you, Hey! Read this!

Sunday, January 22 2012

Riding Into a Nightmare: 'A Train in Winter'

Caroline Moorehead's A Train In Winter, like Daniel Mendelsohn's The Lost, leaves nothing to the imagination, a decision that makes reading it simultaneously engrossing and deeply disturbing.

Tuesday, February 1 2011

Ammon Shea Is Not In the Phone Book, But He Read It, Cover to Cover

I’ve finally met somebody who possibly loves books more than I do, and certainly knows more about them.

Monday, March 1 2010

Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life

We so want our geniuses to be perfect people. Or at least nice people -- and so often they aren’t.


Tuesday, April 22 2014

'Casebook' Is an Engrossing Example of the Coming of Age Novel

Mona Simpson’s novels, always sensitive and complex, have only become more so with time, acquiring the depth only a seasoned writer can proffer.

Thursday, March 27 2014

Hearing Isn't the Only Thing Lost When One Goes Deaf

Writer Katherine Bouton was 30 years old when hearing in her left ear lessened. She did what most people would: she ignored it.

Thursday, March 6 2014

On the Serious Pleasure of Wendy Lesser's Company

Being a reader—that is, a reader of actual books, increasingly feels like a marginal, slightly suspect habit. Wendy Lesser reminds you why you love it, and why you should keep reading.

Wednesday, February 26 2014

'Night In Shanghai' Splits Between a Serious Historical Work and a Silly Romance Novel

In the ambitious Night In Shanghai, Nicole Mones attempts to recreate a city of nearly a century ago.

Wednesday, February 5 2014

A Message Carefully Wrapped and Sealed in a Ziploc Bag

Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being is an enormous step forward from her prior novels, taking on nothing less than the meaning of time itself.

The Savior [9.Jul.08]


Wednesday, April 23 2014

One Need Only Bring Gumption and Goodwill to 'The Art of Simple Food II'

Even the most experienced cooks, gardeners or not, stand to learn a great deal from The Art of Simple Food II.

Tuesday, April 1 2014

In Praise of Cookbook Author and Mediterranean Cooking Authority Paula Wolfert

As Alzheimer's pulls Wolfert away from us, we are made doubly aware of the history she brings to the table with every dish. We don't want to lose that history.

Thursday, February 6 2014

Tuesday Night Test Drive: Mussels in Cider

Mussels are an inelegant if delicious food. Serve this to your nearest and dearest with nary a thought to table manners.

Monday, January 13 2014

Nothing Like a Big Bloody Cow Liver to Compel One to Commit the Ultimate Foody Sin

I have a New Year's confession to make. I did not burn, scorch, mangle, or ruin. My sin was much worse. I threw out perfectly good food.

Wednesday, January 8 2014

Judy Rodgers, Beloved Chef of San Francisco's Zuni Cafe

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, December 3rd, chef Judy Rodgers died of cancer. She was 57 years old.

Trapped in the Kitchen with an Eggplant (Curious Omnivore) [7.Aug.13]
Fuschia (Dunlop) Becomes You (Curious Omnivore) [20.Jun.13]
Around the World In Four Cheeses (Curious Omnivore) [10.Jun.13]
The Joy of Pyrex (Curious Omnivore) [26.Feb.13]
Awash in Squash (Curious Omnivore) [29.Oct.12]
The Tomato in Winter: A Comfort to Anticipate (Curious Omnivore) [30.Aug.12]
Muffins: The Tragically Unhip, Made Hip (Curious Omnivore) [23.Jul.12]
Bite Your Tongue (Curious Omnivore) [1.Jul.12]
Gerry Rafferty: An Appreciation (Sound Affects) [11.Jan.11]
A Procession of Them (Re:Print) [27.Oct.08]
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