CategoryTwo-minute Reads

Stockholm Syndrome Turns Thirty-Nine

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On this day in 1973 in Stockholm, Sweden, Jan-Erik Olsson, a 32-year-old convict, took four hostages while attempting to rob a bank. A six-day standoff ensued, during which time the hostages, trapped in a bank vault, came to sympathize with their captor. Although they were threatened and terrorized, they ended up defending him at his trial and paying for his lawyer. The phrase “Stockholm...

How Many Husbands Does a Woman Need?

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Sometimes the essence of an entire novel can be distilled from one line in the text. In the case of “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” it boils down to this: “So I had two choices. I could do it for free, or I could do it for free candy.” This moment occurs early in the novel, before Evelyn has become a famous movie star or married any of her seven husbands. She’s a young teen, just developing...

A Comment on Corporate Culture

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I know these two companies. They have vastly different cultures. The first company has deep respect for its employees and encourages them to be their authentic selves. They offer support and resources for LGBTQ+ employees and for employees from all races and ethnicities. They celebrate Pride. They offer flexible work options. You can see how they respect their employees in everything they do...

Happy Birthday, Irene Klein

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July 27, 2022. My mom would be 98 today, an age few people live to become. I can understand and accept that, of course. But she died at age 58, which was a lot harder to accept and understand. When someone has been gone for so long, you only have distant memories to recall, the same ones on a repeating reel. Maybe that’s why I write about my mom more than my readers might want to hear, but...

What’s Wrong With This Logo?

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Logo design can be a complex endeavor. You need to marry shapes, colors, tones, and typography into a single unified whole that conveys personality, reflects your identity, is relevant to your audience, and pleases the powers-that-be. What I call the most recent “Teutonic logo blunder” comes from the East Side Elementary School in Marietta, Georgia, which recently unveiled its new look...

To Niagara Falls — And Back

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I said I was going to take the 50-mile round trip bike ride from my cottage in Thunder Bay to Niagara Falls and back. But as the day of reckoning approached, I began to get have doubts. I’ve never ridden 50 miles on a bicycle. I was afraid my quads would give out or my butt would rub raw or my back would seize up and I’d end up having to call Harriet to come pick me up somewhere along the Niagara...

“Mercy Street” — Jennifer Haigh

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Jennifer Haigh’s “Mercy Street” was published this past Spring in what has proved to be an exquisite sense of timing. My reading of it also happened to be very timely, given recent Supreme Court rulings against women. Claudia, 43, divorced, no children, is the novel’s protagonist. She is a counselor at Mercy Street, a women’s health center that provides a range of health services including...

Facebook at its Finest

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I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook, for the usual reasons. I’ve got nothing to brag about. I don’t post proud-parent pictures, glamorize my perfect vacation (not that I’ve taken one recently), or spout about my life philosophy. I’m also not a shameless self-promoter on Facebook, although I do occasionally post a subliminal message about how much someone might enjoy one of my books...

A Summer Blockbuster Streaks Across the Sky

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My friend Jimmy texted me and said it was $7 night at the Spectrum and did I want to go to the movies. What film did he want to see? Top Gun: Maverick. Uh, no. Not my kind of movie. But my friend said his son saw the movie and it was incredible and the action sequences were some of the best he’s seen. Plus, it’s got a 99 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s almost...

Busy on the Summer Solstice

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Lucky me, I was awake at 5:13 a.m. this morning when the summer solstice started in the eastern time zone in the Northern hemisphere. At that moment, the earth arrived at the point in its orbit where the North Pole is at its maximum tilt toward the Sun. The result is the longest day—and shortest night—of the calendar year. I was too busy to make the trip to Stonehenge for the summer solstice...

This Artist Friend of Mine

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1990, Santa Cruz, CA: One of the other waiters pointed her out to me. That’s Linde. She always comes alone and sits at table twelve and drinks at least two margaritas. She has a German accent, loves to talk,  full of energy. Once or twice a week she comes in. I seat her at table twelve. I make sure she gets her drink. We talk about the menu and she’ll try anything that’s new from the chef...

How to Leave a Party

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I was at a social gathering in a bar with people I hadn’t seen in a long time—50 years! It was a reunion of my elementary school. We were a big enough group I could go unnoticed for a bit, and small enough that I had a chance to speak with everyone, share a few memories, and catch up on what we were doing. I enjoyed seeing my old classmates. Most of them I could still recognize. I also enjoyed my...

“The Candy House” — Jennifer Egan

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In Jennifer Egan’s 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “A Visit From the Good Squad,” the goon is time. There is no escaping the passage or ravages of time. That novel of many characters and many narrative threads unfolded in the world of rock music. In her latest novel, “The Candy House,” the candy house is the digital world: you think it’s free, but there’s always a price to pay when handing...

“Ask Your Doctor About . . .”

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The United States has the distinction, along with New Zealand, of being the only countries that allow direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical marketing. Three cheers for the First Amendment! Marketing prescription drugs to consumers was first given the green light by the FDA in 1983, but it wasn’t until 1997 that drug advertisements began to flood the media landscape. That was when constraints...

My Lesson From Tom’s Life

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I went to a celebration of Tom, an old friend who had died. It’s the kind of event that takes place now instead of wakes and funerals for those who aren’t religious. I didn’t know Tom that well—he’s the younger brother of one of my closest friends—and I hadn’t seen him in over twenty years. But I have a few memories. One was when Tom took us on an epic mountain bike ride way back when I first was...

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, journalist, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.

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