Author Archives: Joseph Barbato


Every morning. when I open my eyes to the so-called ‘new day,’ I feel like closing them again, staying in bed, and not getting up.

-Paulo Coelho, Adultery: A Novel


Eat, Drink & Remarry

It was clearly my destiny: never a bridesmaid, always a bride.

-Margo Howard: Eat, Drink & Remarry: Confessions of a Serial Wife


The Invisible Front

The call came just after midnight, waking Colonel mark Graham and his wife, Carol, instantly.

-Yochi Dreazen, The Invisible Front: Love and Loss in an Era of Endless War


The Goddess of Small Victories

Anna waited at the exact boundary between the hallway and the bedroom while the nurse pleaded her case.

-Yannick Grannec, The Goddess of Small Victories: A Novel


Susan Sontag

Alfred Chester had a considerable influence on Sontag’s early career as a writer.  Stephen Koch says that it was primarily Chester who showed Sontag the way out of academia and into freelance writing. He was especially popular with the editors of Partisan Review, the magazine Sontag had admired since her girlhood.  He had a good instinct for the personal power games and intrigues of the New York Intellectuals and not only provided Sontag with valuable contacts but also gave her a feeling for what went on behind the scenes.

-Daniel Schreiber, Susan Sontag: A Biography


The Price of Inequality

Perhaps the most essential point is this: no one succeeds on his own. There are plenty of bright, hardworking, energetic people in developing countries who remain poor–not because they lack abilities or are not making sufficient effort, but because they work in economies that don’t function well.  Americans all benefit from the physical and institutional infrastructure that has developed from the country’s collective efforts over generations. What’s worrying is that those in the 1 percent, in attempting to claim for themselves an unjust proportion of the benefits of this system, may be willing to destroy the system itself to hold on to what they have.

-Joseph E. Stiglitz, The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future

Father and Son

The same year my father got sick I published a novel in which I killed him.

-Marcos Giralt Torrente, Father and Son: A Lifetime


The Good Suicides

For the second time in a short period, Inspector Hector Salgado turns his head suddenly, convinced someone is watching him, but he sees only anonymous and indifferent faces, people who, like him, are walking on a packed Gran Via and stop once in a while in front of one of the traditional stalls of toys and games occupying the pavement.

-Antonio Hill, The Good Suicides: A Thriller


The Fame Lunches

What brought me to the small, neat office in the Kabbalah Centre in Los Angeles–at the tacky southern edge of Beverly Hills where the upscale ambience of Doheny Drive turns into a decrepit stretch that includes two gas stations and multiple Korean nail salons–was Madonna, who, I had learned while interviewing her, doesn’t believe in death.

-Daphne Merkin, “Marketing Mysticism,” in The Fame Lunches: On Wounded Icons, Money, Sex, the Brontes, and the Importance of Handbags


Religions and Extraterrestrial Life & More

Says David Weintraub (Religions and Extraterrestrial Life: How Will We Deal With It?): “Obviously, some religions would need to change the language they use, or even some of the things they claim, like we’re the only intelligent beings in the universe, the only ones made by God. Although you could claim that they are creatures of the devil.” Here.

“Let me say this though: Richard Bausch can take your head off with a plain sentence.” Here.

Says Richard Ford (Let Me Be Frank With You): “All these novels and stories are at least partly about Frank’s effort to live vitally in the present. They’re all told in present-tense verbs, as though to corroborate Wittgenstein’s assertion that ‘to live eternally is to live in the present.’” Here.

“The city felt like a pinball table, like I might slip between the sewer grates and become lost to the game.” Here.

“Think Raiders of the Lost Ark, except that instead of bullwhips and snakes, [Karen] Masterson’s heroes use dipsticks and fight mosquitoes.” Here‘s the story on The Malaria Project: The U.S. Government’s Secret Mission to Find a Miracle Cure.