That’s the great American story [laughs]. It complies with the story of immigrants who came through Ellis Island: they were nobodies—half-human somehow. They had potential, but of course they couldn’t do anything with it over there, because it wasn’t America, so they came here, and suddenly they bloomed.
I don’t know the numbers, but roughly half of the people who came through Ellis Island returned home. They came here to make money, not to make history.
Oh, what did I read this year. I read all the Dear Prudence columns and some of The New York Times Vows and 6,000 things on Wedding Bee and even more things on Facebook and a lot of Tweets I do not remember now. I read two-thirds of the things about the election and one-third of the Mormon mommy blogs. I read most of the Andrew Sullivan and some of the Ta-Nehisi Coates and half of The New Yorker, but not the thing about Hilary Mantel, because I didn’t read Wolf Hall, until this week when I read half of it on the train. In the airplane I read Esquire. In the bathroom I read The Economist that I got free with the miles I accrued reading Esquire in the airplane. In the living room I read the alumni magazine I got free with the expense I incurred on my education. I read the whole Jonah Lehrer scandal. My favorite thing I read on Jezebel was a video of a dog fetching a cat.
“Over the course of the past year, I’ve found myself more and more excited to read each coming issue of the VQR, a university-affiliated journal founded in 1925 that bills itself as a’ national journal of literature and discussion.’ Every three months, a new, gorgeous edition (with almost no advertising) arrives in my mailbox; every three months, I tear open its plastic wrapper and sit down to read it immediately. Then I’m transported – often in ways that open my eyes – to Burma, Iceland, Somalia, or Bulgaria. I read even-handed, longform takes on topics as diverse as South Asian head-hunters, Peruvian gold miners, Kazakh victims of Soviet aggression, and Irish female boxers. I’m treated to hundreds of pages of poetry and photographs. I read personal, incisive essays on feminism. The months change, but the VQR remains the same: inspiring, thoughtful, engaging, and each time refreshing.”