Short stories


The crabapple treeThis happened here in our town. A friend of mine—we were on the cheerleading team together—married a local farmer, and right away they wanted to have a baby, though the doctor said she shouldn’t. She was a bleeder, he said, and if she started he might not be able to stop it. But she didn’t listen. She went ahead and got pregnant, then bled to death during childbirth and was buried out by the farmhouse, under a crabapple tree. It was very sad. I cried for a week. But the baby survived, a pretty little boy; his dad called him Dickie-boy, but I don’t know if that was his real name. Read  more of the story by Robert Coover at The New Yorker.

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Short stories


Ways to have fun at the beachWays to have fun at the beach

As I grow older, I find that the people I know become crazy in one of two ways. The first is animal crazy—more specifically, dog crazy. They’re the ones who, when asked if they have children, are likely to answer, “A black lab and a sheltie-beagle mix named Tuckahoe.” Then they add—they always add—“They were rescues!” Read more this article by David Sedaris, for ‘The New Yorker Magazine’ here.

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The life and times of a pharmaceutical drug

One of the chapters in the A level (final year of high school) Salters Chemistry in the UK was drug discovery and clinical trials. The story line book covered this topic in 5 or so pages. What was not mentioned were the actual difficulties and the hurdles that the scientists underwent to discover a new drug. This article published in ‘The New Yorker‘ takes us … Continue reading The life and times of a pharmaceutical drug

Hand drying and hygiene

Huang et al., write in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, The transmission of bacteria is more likely to occur from wet skin than from dry skin; therefore, the proper drying of hands after washing should be an integral part of the hand hygiene process in health care. This article systematically reviews the research on the hygienic efficacy of different hand-drying methods. A literature search was conducted … Continue reading Hand drying and hygiene

The rise of Elisabeth Murdoch

Source: The New Yorker On Saturday, July 2, 2011, a high-society traffic jam descended on the cobblestoned town square of Burford, a village sixty-eight miles northwest of London, not far from the market town of Chipping Norton. Hundreds of chauffeured cars approached a gated stone wall, which opened to a long, circular driveway and the sprawling country house of Elisabeth Murdoch, a prominent television entrepreneur … Continue reading The rise of Elisabeth Murdoch


Lu Lobello, a troubled veteran of the war in Iraq, and the Kachadoorian family, three of whom were killed by Lobello’s unit in a chaotic Baghdad firefight. Lobello was a Lance Corporal in the Marines; during the invasion of Baghdad, his unit was engaged in a furious gun battle with Iraqi forces in an intersection on Baladiyat street. Three cars containing nine members of the … Continue reading Atonement

Germs are us

Human beings are inhabited by as many as ten thousand bacterial species; the bacteria living inside us weigh, all told, about three pounds (the same as our brain). These bacteria work constantly on our behalf: they manufacture vitamins and patrol our guts to prevent infections; they help to form and bolster our immune systems, and digest food. Recent research suggests that they may even alter … Continue reading Germs are us

Stories about mind-altering substances

Source: The New Yorker PERSONAL HISTORY about the writer’s experiments with drugs. To live on a day-to-day basis is insufficient for human beings; we need to transcend, transport, escape; we need meaning, understanding, and explanation; we need to see over-all patterns in our lives. We need hope, the sense of a future. And we need freedom (or, at least, the illusion of freedom) to get … Continue reading Stories about mind-altering substances

Tiny Houses

Source: The New Yorker ANNALS OF DESIGN about Jay Shafer and the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. Tiny houses are built on trailer platforms. Typically, they are between a hundred and a hundred and thirty square feet, roughly the size of a covered wagon. They aren’t toys or playhouses or aesthetic gestures, and they aren’t shacks or cottages, either. Shacks don’t have kitchens and bathrooms, and … Continue reading Tiny Houses