Love/Hate: 80s Costume Dramas

Growing up in England in the 1980s and ’90s instilled in me a Pavlovian reaction to the scene of a horse-drawn carriage crunching up the gravel driveway of a stately home, scored to a rousing string orchestra. Even before my mother had time to identify the house in question, before the protagonists had descended into the circle of uniformed flunkies, and before Judy Dench or Helena Bonham Carter or Emma Thompson had exchanged a word with Anthony Hopkins or Daniel Day-Lewis or some lesser Redgrav

History—and a Glimmer of Hope—in a Whiskey Glass

JUST AFTER FIVE O’CLOCK in the morning on April 18, 1906, what came to be known as the San Francisco earthquake trembled down the coast from southern Oregon to Los Angeles and inland as far as Nevada. “Rumors of great disaster from an earthquake in San Francisco, but know nothing of real facts,” President Roosevelt wrote anxiously to the Governor of California, eager for some solid ground to stand upon. There was no reply.

Helen Gurley Brown's Quest for Glamour, Sex and Power

What would Helen Gurley Brown, determined fabricator of her own life story, have made of Enter Helen, a new biography by Brooke Hauser that takes an affectionate but unvarnished look at her long tenure as editor of Cosmopolitan magazine? She’d have loved it, declared Barbara Hustedt Crook, one of HGB’s original Cosmo staffers, at an event last night to celebrate the book and its subject, at Brooklyn’s Powerhouse Arena. “She never liked a puff piece – and she liked a zippy read.”

The Depression Era’s Magic Bullet For Weight Loss

Recently, the New York Times published a sobering story on the alumni of the 2009 season of The Biggest Loser. A study showed that almost all of those who had publicly lost hundreds of pounds on the show’s punishing diet and exercise regime had gained nearly all of it back, unless they made staying slim the focus of every waking moment. Their resting metabolism, it turned out, had been broken down to a murmur by the weight loss.

Indie Bookstores Are Finally Not Dying

A little girl wearing fairy wings twirled in a photo booth rigged up next to the New Releases table. Across town, a bookseller set cans of beer, donated from a local brewery, to chill in a tub of ice. Balloons tied to chalk boards proclaimed Saturday, May 2 Independent Bookstore Day: the first national celebration of this surprisingly buoyant industry. On Twitter and Instagram, shoppers showed off their literary hauls so enthusiastically that for a few hours the hashtag #Bookstoreday was trendin