Excitement, glamour and occasional gunfire: The life of a Pan Am stewardess

My review of Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan-Am by Julia Cooke recently ran in the Washington Post. A bit about the book:

In the earliest days of commercial air travel, cabin attendants were exclusively male, but by the 1950s, growing competition among carriers changed that: “Each airline tried to convince customers that it had the highest level of luxury and service, and the women who served a predominantly male clientele became a particular selling point,” Cooke writes. Pan Am — at the time, the only American airline to fly exclusively international routes — had a particular reputation for sophistication to maintain. “We must add to [our excellence] ‘a new dimension’ — that is, emphasis on what pleases people. And I know of nothing that pleases people more,” chief executive Najeeb Halaby would later explain, “than female people.”

What to Read This Summer

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 10.50.41 PMI was on The Takeaway today sharing my summer reading recommendations with host Tanzina Vega.  My picks: Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday, There There by Tommy Orange, Pretty Things by Virginie Despentes, Banthology, edited by Sarah Cleave, Air Traffic by Gregory Pardlo, and My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh. Listen here for more about what makes these books so great.

Can a Big Government Push Bring the Nobel Prize in Literature to South Korea?

IMG_5789.jpgThis story has been in the making for quite a while.

In 2011, I first got curious about Korean writing in translation; this past fall, thanks to a generous grant from the International Center for Journalists, I was able to follow the story to Seoul and spend two weeks talking to writers, translators, publishers, scholars, and book-lovers.

I’m so happy the resulting piece found a home on The New Yorker’s site.