In 1987, at a family arcade in New Jersey, I’d hoarded enough Skee-ball tickets for a real prize—not just some ratty stuffed animal. I claimed my bounty with fervor: a single-tape boombox small enough to keep under the covers and muffle the sounds of my parents’ endless fighting. In the dark, the volume at just one bar, I’d lie with my ear pressed against the speaker mesh, my index finger poised, waiting to hit record on any of the groups I loved—Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, Exposé, Kool & The Gang. Then I’d spend hours sleuthing out each nuanced lyric, the staccato start and stops, until the vocals faded and the tapes finally gave out.

A year later, in the neighborhood of 3 a.m., I awoke to a smashing sound against the wall I shared with my parents, so I turned to my radio, moving the metal knob an imperceptible hair at a time until I stumbled on the local college station. The sounds I heard changed everything. A baritone DJ yelled, “This one’s for Saddam Hussein. Fuck you!” Then four ticks of drumsticks before the furious guitar of “Chemical Warfare” began. I was so stunned that I didn’t hit record immediately—unblinking in the dark, muscles stiff—but a few bars in, I scrambled to press that red square.

Songs Of Our Lives: Dead Kennedys’ “Chemical Warfare” by Lisa Nikolidakis.
“I signed off from Facebook at the beginning of October 2013. The feeling was that this would be temporary: a self-imposed, month-long break from the crowning time-suck network of the virtual world. But then a funny thing happened during that month. I didn’t miss it.”

Face-Off: Facebook Vs. Reality by Bibi Deitz.

(Tumblr > Facebook.)

“I am seventeen years old, and getting drunk is still a novelty. It has only recently occurred to me that my mother won’t think to check my breath if I’m coming straight home from work, which, for the past four summers, has been at a yacht club’s gourmet snack bar on the Long Island Sound, where I serve buffalo chicken wraps to the children of millionaires. My boss, Jack, is a temperamental but otherwise fully functioning drunk who works the system to get himself fourteen hours’ worth of free beers every day; sometimes he is feeling generous, and he spreads the love around.”
Summer Job Diariest by Shannon Keating.

Do you remember the first magic trick you ever saw? It was probably your weird Uncle Rob who your mom doesn’t let you sit alone with at Thanksgiving who showed you the one where you pull his finger.

Magic is a beautiful thing, even your uncle’s farts. Magic’s especially beautiful for children, because when you’re a child, everything is magic.

Jack Of Hearts by Michael Wong.
“Here is what we know: we plan to find out that we are pregnant while we are lounging in the decadence that is San Sebastian, Spain.”
“To my surprise, I loved L.A., especially in January and February—months which, back in New York and Ohio, had always walloped me with a serious dose of seasonal affective disorder. So there was the sun and also—perhaps more importantly—there was KCRW, Southern California’s NPR outlet as well as the home of Nic Harcourt’s toweringly great Morning Becomes Eclectic every weekday from nine to noon. Each morning, Nic would unleash a steady stream of yet-to-be-discovered gems that—in those medieval pre-Shazam days—had you leaning in extra hard to catch the name of the song and artist in Nic’s soothing Aussie baritone when it was over.”
“Every athlete, when they lose their skill, they lose a big part of themselves, a part that they’ve built their life around, that has been a huge part of their purpose, self-esteem, identity,” Nash says early in the series. “So when the skill or ability goes, it’s like there’s been a death.”
— Hal Sundt writes about Steve Nash, The Finish Line and Seconds or Less in Over The Hill.
“Let me be an encyclopedia, an archive. Here are more facts: you can eat birch—its leaves are rich in vitamin C and the inner bark ground into flour is a famine food, a last resort. Birch sap can be crystallized into sugar or fermented into wine. Herbalists prescribe spring buds to treat fevers and you can soak the bark and make a cast to set broken bones. Birch tar is used to treat skin ailments; conversely, it’s the base for glue on arrows when you wish to send a swift sharpness through the air. And so birch is—like everything—capable of both healing and harm.”
“Bluets becomes a space for desire (thwarted), for mystery, for obscurity and unattainability. To explore the space where these intersect in Nelson is the project of the book.”
— Katie Schmid writes about The Last Book I Loved: Maggie Nelson’s Bluets.
“It’s not, of course, the single, isolated events that haunt us, it is those quiet, cumulative ones that slowly wear us down. Jackson’s language is never dramatic or over-the top, something I could’ve easily shaken off and disregarded. There is only the quiet of what is—doors that don’t stay open, sounds only certain people hear, townfolk that refuse to talk about the house at all.

More than what’s happening in the physical space, I’m unnerved with what I see happening physiologically between characters, within characters. Don’t let yourself go there, I think more than once. Don’t believe that.
— S. Hope Mills writes about The Last Book I Loved: The Haunting Of Hill House.