Nora Ephron

Flavorwire Roundtable: Is Lena Dunham a Voice of a Generation in ‘Not That Kind of Girl’?

We are living through a golden age of the female-comedian memoir. Stoked by Chelsea Handler’s consistently bestselling memoirs about drinking and sex, the genre became a full-on trend with Tina Fey’s Bossypants in 2011. The latest example is Not That Kind of Girl, the debut book by Girls creator, writer, director, and lead actress Lena Dunham. Notable for garnering a $3.7 million advance and much attendant outrage, it’s filled with essays about the 28-year-old artist’s life so far, with subjects ranging from childhood to boys to work. So, beyond the hype, is Not That Kind of Girl any good? And is Dunham the voice of our generation — or a voice of a? Four Flavorwire staffers have four different… Read More

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Is Lena Dunham Really the Millennial Woody Allen?

Lena Dunham has a book out very, very soon, and you know what that means: it’s time for cover stories and blog posts and an entire cultural conversation about the auteur of an HBO comedy series, so let’s strap in. First out of the gate is the New York Times, with a cover story entitled “Lena Dunham Is Not Done Confessing,” which has prompted a bit of hand-wringing around the ol’ Twittersphere — not because of its generally Dunham-positive tone, or for any particularly reward-worthy photos, but because profile writer Meghan Daum had the audacity to (frequently!) compare Ms. Dunham to Woody Allen, and how dare she. … Read More

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50 Essays Guaranteed to Make You a Better Person

It’s hard to be a person in the world today — or, really, any day, but today’s what we’ve got. Humans are striving creatures, and also empathetic ones, so most of us are always looking for an opportunity to improve ourselves, even in tiny, literary ways. We’ve already established that novels can make you a better person, but of course, novels also take you down a long winding road to get there. If you’re looking for a more direct shot to the heart, try an essay. After the jump, you’ll find 50 essays more or less guaranteed to make you a better person — or at least a better-read one — some recommended by notables of the literary and literary nonfiction world, some recommended by yours truly, incessant consumer of the written word. Don’t see the essay that changed your life? Please do add it to the list. … Read More

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50 Great Books You’ll Never Read in School

Back-to-school time is upon us, and for many, that means reading for pleasure will give way to burning through that syllabus. Classrooms, especially high school classrooms (college classes are becoming so weird and specific nowadays that you could read just about anything in them), suffer from the “classic effect” — which is exactly what it sounds like. Not that there’s anything wrong with literary classics, and they definitely should be read, but there’s so much more out there. And when you consider the fact that one-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives — well, it would be nice if they had a little more to go on than The Great Gatsby. After the jump, find a selection of books you’ll (probably) never read in high school, but should still read, and add your own favorite anti-schoolbooks to the list in the comments. … Read More

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Flavorwire Author Club: Eating Along With Nora Ephron

Food in Nora Ephron’s writing and filmmaking is nearly impossible to sum up in a short essay, as the love of food, pleasure, and the senses infused a great deal of Ephron’s work. As they say in Julie & Julia: “You can never have too much butter.” What’s admirable about it is that Nora was singular: I wonder, in all honestly, whether a woman writing today writing about food in the way that Ephron did would generally be shunted to the side as only a food writer, doyenne of the feminine and frilly. Ephron had it all — she was a serious writer and she took on topics that could be dismissed as frilly with her formidable intelligence. … Read More

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Flavorwire Author Club: Nora Ephron’s Quintessential Writing on the Female Experience

I think of the Nora Ephron essay “On Maintenance” every time I feel guilty about spending $43 on a charcoal face mask that does wonders with ingrown hairs I am now certain only I noticed. “Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death,” she writes. There are seven more paragraphs dedicated to getting rid of unwanted facial hair. Instantly I felt better about my own foolish womanhood. … Read More

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Flavorwire Author Club: Nora Ephron’s Guide to Dealing With Heartbreak Through ‘Heartburn’

I didn’t reread Nora Ephron’s only novel, Heartburn, last summer when my fiancé broke off our engagement, leaving me to move out of his Brooklyn apartment and onto a friend’s couch on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I did, however, watch the movie it’s based on, and for which Ephron wrote the screenplay, several times. It’s a near-perfect film, with Meryl Streep as Rachel Samstat, who is blindsided while several months pregnant when she discovers that her husband, Mark Feldman (played by Jack Nicholson), is in love with another woman. Ephron herself joked about the film years later at Meryl Streep’s AFI Lifetime Achievement tribute. “I highly recommend Meryl Streep play you,” she quipped. “If your husband is cheating on you with a carhop, get Meryl to play you. You will feel much better. If you get rear-ended in a parking lot, have Meryl Streep play you. If the dingo eats your baby, call Meryl.” … Read More

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Flavorwire Author Club: Never Mind David Foster Wallace, Here’s Nora Ephron

Joan Didion and David Foster Wallace are two of the most common points of comparison for contemporary essayists who blur the line between cultural criticism and their own personal experience. Whether their books border on memoir or their essays set out with the intent to dissect an experience, event, or work of art from a personal point of view, we frequently judge new voices by these two giants of the modern essay. … Read More

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‘When Harry Met Sally': How Nora Ephron Sold Woody Allen to the Masses

The film opens with simple, white-on-black titles, backed by an elegant, evocative jazz standard. The story that follows, framed by documentary-style straight-to-camera interviews, concerns a witty, urbane Jewish neurotic and his relationship with a sunny, fashionable shiksa. They stroll in through an autumnal Central Park and discuss death, sexual hang-ups, and New York real estate; the borough of Manhattan is captured in loving beauty shots, often backed by the music of Louie Armstrong. From that description, it would be easy to assume I was describing any number of Woody Allen films (Annie Hall in particular). But no, I’m talking about director Rob Reiner and screenwriter Nora Ephron’s When Harry Met Sally… which hit theaters 25 years ago today and made a mint — its $92 million gross easily besting any Allen film to this day. So how did Harry do so well (big money, cultural capital, ongoing influence over the romantic comedy genre) when its clear inspiration remains such an acquired taste? … Read More

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Introducing Flavorwire Author Club’s July Selection: Nora Ephron

When we talk about Nora Ephron, it’s difficult not to think of her first as a filmmaker, second as a writer. Sure, you might love Wallflower at the Orgy or Heartburn, but Ephron’s brand of smart, cosmopolitan rom-com will probably remain her most celebrated legacy. … Read More

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