Despicable cottages

Laura Miller

Laura Miller
New York, New York, USA
Senior Writer
I work for Salon, mostly writing about books, and occasionally about TV and film. I edited The Salon Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors and am the author of the new book, "The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia."


Laura Miller's Links
MARCH 20, 2010 9:38AM

Medieval gardens

I decided to take advantage of a spell of balmy weather to visit the Cloisters in uptown Manhattan. This museum of medieval art features several rooms that recreate period chapels and cloisters, embedding authentic architectural fragments in a neo-medieval building.

The Unicorn Tapestries are here, b… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 7, 2010 2:19PM

"Lost" and Narnia

I admit that when a character called Charlotte Staples Lewis turned up on the ABC television series "Lost" last year, I was excited. The puzzle-like show is full of literary references, planted here and there, to give its most cultish fans even more mysteries to investigate. A lot of them are/… Read full post »

JANUARY 25, 2010 11:54AM

Beware of ghost trains

Yesterday I took Desmond and Nini to MOMA, where they seemed underwhelmed by everything except the promos for the Tim Burton exhibit (which was sold out). However, our journey uptown was not without event. Instead of the D train we were waiting for, a strange train of what looked like ordinary/… Read full post »

JANUARY 12, 2010 7:57AM

Chicken Dijon Stew

I'm accepting Francis Lam's challenge and posting my all-time favorite stew recipe, prepared to acclaim on seven continents (well, two continents). I don't have a photo of it, unfortunately, but I've always got a couple of ziplock-bagged single servings in my fridge during the winter months.


I… Read full post »

JANUARY 11, 2010 8:24PM

Patti Smith and Louisa May Alcott

I recently reviewed a new memoir by the rock singer and poet Patti Smith, and found in it this passage about a surprising influence in her childhood:

I drew comfort from my books. Oddly enough, it was Louisa May Alcott who provided me with a positive view of my female destiny. Jo,/… Read full post »

I very much enjoyed doing an hour-long radio interview with Doug Fabrizio on the University of Utah's public radio station, KUER, on a show called Radio West. It was fantastic getting the chance to talk about Narnia in so much depth with such an informed interviewer.

The link will be retired… Read full post »

An early Christmas treat came in the mail earlier this week, when I learned that the New Yorker selected The Magician's Book as one of it's favorite titles of 2009. (Technically, it was a 2008 book, but it came out in December and as a result missed the cut-off.) You can/… Read full post »

I haven't posted anything here in ages, mostly because I've been writing more for Salon, where I've been doing commentary about such subjects as the viability of collective storytelling via Twitter and vanity book awards.

However, I just received a copy of the paperback of The Magician's Book, which/… Read full post »

OCTOBER 2, 2009 9:40AM

E. Nesbit and A.S. Byatt

I'm currently reading A.S. Byatt's new novel, The Children's Book. It's based on the life of E. Nesbit (not, as some have claimed -- presumably out of ignorance -- Beatrix Potter), who was one of the primary influences on C.S. Lewis' Narnia books. Nesbit invented the sort of children's story where/… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 28, 2009 5:21PM

Home-schooling the twins

Readers of The Magician's Book may be interested to read this article, by my good friend Andrew O'Hehir, who is also the father of Desmond and Nini (Corinne). Andrew and his wife Leslie are homeschooling the twins, a project they more or less backed into when they decided that the schools/… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 27, 2009 2:33PM

The comfortable reader

Every so often, I'm invited to speak to students about my work and someone asks what's the hardest part of my job. I'm not sure what answer they expect, but they always seem surprised when I say that it can be physically difficult.

Except for a bout with repetitive stress injury… Read full post »

I'm currently sunk deep into A New Literary History of America, edited by Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors, a massive, fabulous collection of critical and historical essays keyed to important events in American culture. (I'll be reviewing it soon in Salon.) As is often the case with this sort of book/… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 10, 2009 10:39AM

A cabin in the woods

I haven't posted in weeks, mostly because I was away through much of August, staying in places without Internet access. That was both intentional and unnerving, since I've been thinking a lot lately about the effect that the constant stimulation of the Net has had on my ability to concentrate, whethe/… Read full post »

Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine has a long piece about The Magician's Book and two other titles -- Cheek by Jowl, an essay collection by Ursula K. Le Guin, and a new novel, The Magicians, by Lev Grossman, which comes out on August 11. Even if Lev (book critic for TimeRead full post »

LauraI recently read A Tale of Two Cities, which is Dickens' other historical novel, after Barnaby Rudge. Again, another petrifying depiction of mob violence, particularly in the street lynching of a heartless aristo: Once, he went aloft, and the rope broke, and they caught him shrieking; twice, he… Read full post »

I recently read A Tale of Two Cities, which is Dickens' other historical novel, after Barnaby Rudge. Again, another petrifying depiction of mob violence, particularly in the street lynching of a heartless aristo:

Once, he went aloft, and the rope broke, and they caught him shrieking; twice, he went al… Read full post »

JUNE 15, 2009 3:44PM

How to identify a robot

Sitting in a car in a supermarket parking lot, bored.

Laura: Hey guys, look at that man over there.
Desmond: He could be a robot.
Nini: No, he's not a robot!
Laura: Really? How can you be so sure?
Nini: If he was a robot, he'd be shiny.

MAY 26, 2009 1:18PM

Barnaby Rudge and villainry

I recently read, Barnaby Rudge, one of Dickens' less celebrated novels. It's set in 1780, during the Gordon riots, a period of civil unrest I'd never heard of before, stirred up by Protestant rabble rousers enraged by legislation that eased some of the restrictions on Britain's Catholics. I can see w/… Read full post »

MAY 4, 2009 8:55PM

The Hebrews

I hesitate to resort to the "kids say the darnedest things" school of blog posting, but I will have a longer entry soon, and I can't resist these vignettes resulting from the twins' new course of study, Hebrew mythology.

Nini, holding a doll, to the workman who came by the… Read full post »

APRIL 25, 2009 8:48PM

Mythological at the Met

Nini and Desmond's mother, Leslie, is teaching the twins about ancient history, and as a result they've been very keen on, in turn, dinosaurs, Egyptian gods and now Greek mythology. Desmond wants to be Hermes and Nini wants to be...
MARCH 31, 2009 9:21AM

How to write in a book

One of the unsung side benefits of researching a nonfiction book is the stuff you learn that never makes it into the finished product. Reading one of C.S. Lewis' letters inspired me to revamp my note-taking, specifically the way I...
MARCH 9, 2009 7:00PM

Finally, a links page

I finally got around to adding a new page of links to the regular pages on this site. I expect I'll be adding to it as time goes by, but for now it's a pretty good snapshot of site I...
I was delighted to see The Magician's Book included in the nonfiction list for Locus Magazine's list of recommended books from 2008. Zsuzsi Gartner, in the Toronto Globe and Mail, calls it a "gorgeous testament to the power of story."...
I'm not sure why exactly I decided to pick up this 1889 book a few months ago (probably it was the recommendation of Polly Shulman), but having finally gotten around to reading it, I'm so glad I did. It's ridiculously...
FEBRUARY 10, 2009 7:13PM

Cinematic fiction and "Rebecca"

Although Diana Athill's Somewhere Towards the End is mostly a book about aging, it includes some interesting remarks about fiction. (Athill was a literary editor in England for many years.) One thing she wrote intrigued me: Even the run-of-the-mill novel...