Articles Written By: Christa

This author has written 413 articles
A ‘Wealth’ of material

A ‘Wealth’ of material

I forgot I was reading Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth the same way I sometimes forget how I got from Point A to this table in this restaurant eating this burger on my lunch break. The novel is such a sink-in-and-read that it feels like a total zone-out. And then, all of a…
Catch the Wave

Catch the Wave

When Black Wave opens, everything is changing. Writer Michelle Tea’s anti-hero, also named Michelle, is in the midst of a neighborhood’s skin-peeling to reveal a whole something new. The stale-beer stink dive bar that catered to middle-class lesbians has gone straight and now aims for a martini crowd. The place where…
2016 finale

2016 finale

Unearthed: A bunch of book review blurbs from things read in the latter half of 2016. I Love Dick by Chris Kraus There is so much to love about this book by Chris Kraus. It’s wacky, it’s uncomfortable, it’s the kind of book I like to read best and, execution-wise, the…
Crash Landing

Crash Landing

There are two great, gripping scenes in Noah Hawley’s novel Before the Fall. I’ll tell you about the first, but not the second. The second offers the story’s only startling, intake of breath moment, and I won’t dash that for book hounds interested in how the “Fargo” TV series creator…
How I Spent My Summer Vacation

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

CITY ON FIRE City on Fire kept popping up in front of me, the way some things do. I read raves and a few people recommended it so I barely blinked as I downloaded and dug into this buzz novel set in some of the darkest mosh pits of NYC’s punk…
Making the movie sausage

Making the movie sausage

Start reading a story about a high school film fanatic whose senior project involves aping an urban legend involving her favorite filmmaker. And then, upon successful completion, meets the elderly gent, moves into his house, loves him actually into his final days of life. She steals into the garage for…
Gold Fame Citrus Yowsa

Gold Fame Citrus Yowsa

Visceral responses to reading Claire Vaye Watkins’ Gold Fame Citrus: Just two. But they were mighty, man. The first was a big ball that made me feel like I was homebrewing gut-rot-dread in my belly; The second was a gasp that dang near Hoovered a sweater from Express’ 2014 fall…
When ‘brilliant’ isn’t hyperbole

When ‘brilliant’ isn’t hyperbole

And there, languishing in my DNF folder on my Kindle, was what certainly would have been my Best Book of 2015, though only probably second-best book of 2014. (Dept. of Speculation, thanks for asking): My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante is a coming-of-age story about two friend-rivals, narrator Elena and Lena,…
Love-hate letter to a diary

Love-hate letter to a diary

Here are the circumstances of reading Sarah Manguso’s Ongoingness: I am in a mega-reading rut. Nothing looks good. Everything takes too long. I’m tired of buying new books, but I’ve already read at least half of all of the olds. I finished a graphic novel and had to use Wikipedia…
Blah-blah Blunderer

Blah-blah Blunderer

Patricia Highsmith’s old-school suspense novel The Blunderer opens with the perfect crime: A thoroughly up-to-here husband buys a movie ticket, seeks out a familiar face to acknowledge his presence, then sneaks out the back door of the theater. His wife is off to visit her mother and he intercepts the bus…
You can have your furies

You can have your furies

Funny story: Sometime in mid-December I published a list of the Top 5 books I’d read in the past year, which felt like a lie because I was up to my neck in Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies and I knew-knew-knew it should be on my list but I wasn’t going…
Read, then moon

Read, then moon

I could have sworn I had read Joan Didion’s novel Play it as it Lays, but a reference to it recently in pop culture went sailing and I felt like a fraud. Must actually read Didion to claim deep, deep affection for Didion. Must not just moon over images of…