Stories from All Directions: Tackling the gender gap in publishing
Jun23

Stories from All Directions: Tackling the gender gap in publishing

British/Pakistani writer Kamila Shamsie, who wrote her first novel “in Northampton in a studio ’round the corner from Joe’s pizza,” has lately stirred up certain quarters of the literary world with a provocation: She’s called for 2018 to be a year in which publishers only present the work of women writers. She’s not shy about it. In a recent interview, I asked Shamsie, who’s landed on several short lists for prestigious prizes and...

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Madame Bar Fly: Springfield’s Cheers, Serving up charm, good company, and cheap booze at the Ale House
Jun23

Madame Bar Fly: Springfield’s Cheers, Serving up charm, good company, and cheap booze at the Ale House

The Ale House on Worthington Street in Springfield is surrounded by boarded-up buildings that loom ominously up over the small, cozy one that the bar occupies. But inside, the vibe is warm and welcoming. “It’s somewhere you can go in Springfield where you don’t have to worry about the issues of Springfield,” says Robert Walz, 45, a professional mover who lives around the corner. “You don’t have to worry about getting shot.” That may...

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Breaking Dad, an occassional series of parenting bad-vice: The Cheeto Full Monty
Jun23

Breaking Dad, an occassional series of parenting bad-vice: The Cheeto Full Monty

So this, it turns out, was the Father’s Day I had Cheetos up my nose. Not in a funny way, but more a sort of philosophical reverie way, like that glazed look you get after you’ve had seven ice cream sandwiches and a heat stroke. This was the latest result of my parentage principles, which I have been asked to share with you via this occasional column. (Because, no doubt, I’m a father of three — Dempsey, 3, Winona, 6, Charlene, 13, and...

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Intertwining Roots: Teens explore race relations through music and dance
Jun23

Intertwining Roots: Teens explore race relations through music and dance

Bernice Kwade lives in two worlds at the same time. “When I’m at home, it’s a totally different environment than when I go out,” she said. “My parents are trying to instill traditional African values in me, but we live in America now. I want to have a more liberal view on life.” Bernice, 16, and her twin sister Benedicta left their mother in Ghana and flew to live with their father six years ago on a pair of one-way airplane tickets....

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12 running mates that would make Donald Trump a more likeable candidate for president
Jun23

12 running mates that would make Donald Trump a more likeable candidate for president

Last week gold-plated angels blew diamond-encrusted trumpets to herald the coming of “the greatest jobs president God ever created,” billionaire luxuriating enthusiast Donald Trump. Reaction was swift: Liberals crowed, conservatives kvetched, and a pool appeared underneath John Stewart’s desk. At the Advocate, we have a soft spot for the underdog — even one as shaggy as the mutt on Trump’s head. So, here you go, The Donald, a list of...

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My Favorite Walk: Ruins and Raptors on Easthampton’s Manhan Rail Trail
Jun23

My Favorite Walk: Ruins and Raptors on Easthampton’s Manhan Rail Trail

Rail trails are a dime a dozen around these parts, but Easthampton’s Manhan Rail Trail is, for me, the finest of them. In the middle of its run, it dissects a nondescript end of town, crossing busy Union Street beside a stripmall, a melancholy ATM, and a gas station. Granted, not far from that crossing you’ll find some intriguing outposts, including Tandem Bagel, a well-landscaped former depot building full of tasty round diversions...

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