Sarah Hepola
Culture

May 1, 2021

How Deep Is Your Love

On musical wonderlands, being the last two people on earth, and listening to the same song

The first night we spent in each other’s company, I slid into the passenger seat of his car and flipped through the songs on his stereo. He had one of those screens that was probably standard, but I’d never seen it before, having spent the past six years in the backseat of yellow cabs during . . . Read More

April 24, 2021

Nostalgia in the key of metal

A story about lost art, lost loves, and the consumer cycle on constant rotation

The young woman jangling keys to the dressing room is wearing an Iron Maiden shirt. Three items drape over my right arm, all of them designed for her demographic, but that shirt is straight out of mine. My older brother used to listen to Iron Maiden, a blunt counter-point to my Whitney Houston, and the . . . Read More

April 5, 2021

His customary and legendary range: Larry McMurtry, 1936-2021

The Texas author I had zero interest in for much of my life

The Lonesome Dove miniseries rolled into town in 1989, when I was fourteen years old.* Back in the before-times of the late Eighties, computers were clunky green-screened things known to your serious nerd variety, and the television was the center of the household. We built cabinets around our televisions, we kept drawers underneath it,  in . . . Read More

February 7, 2021

Can’t Take the Texas Out of the Girl

A few recent stories about living in the Lone Star State

In my fourth decade in this state, I finally became a real Texan: You Haven’t Driven in Texas Until You’ve Driven a Pickup Truck “When I first heard about this “car culture” issue, I knew what I wanted to write: an ode to my Honda Accord, which I’d driven across the country a half-dozen times. . . . Read More

November 18, 2020

Bread

"Something inside felt met" he wrote about kneading dough for the first time. Eight months into the pandemic, I wanted that

On a blustery Saturday, I decided to bake bread. It was 10:30am, and I had never done such a thing before, but I imagined myself in the kitchen kneading the pale powdery squish of the dough with my hands, folding toward and pushing away. I’d recently bought a recipe book from an old hippie commune . . . Read More

October 6, 2020

How I spent my summer

Thoughts on a chaotic time

A few months ago, I was writing short posts on my favorite books, and then I stopped. It was late May, I was halfway through the list, which I’d begun thanks to one of those Facebook tag-a-friend schemes, the modern chain letter, and though I usually ignore those directives, I’d reasoned this one might be . . . Read More

May 23, 2020

# 5 White Teeth

Brilliant young novelists, polyglot London, and thoughts on "the perfect woman"

part 5 of a 10-part series I’ve written a lot these past few days, so I will just say this: Zadie Smith might be the perfect woman. At least that’s what I thought as I read “White Teeth,” one of those pyrotechnic multi-character novels about modern polyglot London. She was funny but deep, light but . . . Read More

May 20, 2020

#4 A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

The most exasperating memoir I will ever truly madly deeply love (or so I hope)

part 4 of a 10-part series Gather round, young Snapchat and TikTok fans, and attend the tale of GEN X IRONY. The year was 2000. We used our phones for talking. Each time you logged on the Internet — which we called the “World Wide Web,” a phrase that was like sprinkling glitter from your . . . Read More

May 18, 2020

#3 Drinking: A Love Story

Caroline Knapp and the memoir that started it all

Part 3 of a 10-part series I was 22 or 23. I was in Boston visiting my college roommate Tara Copp, who had an internship at the Globe. I was killing an afternoon by myself, and I was hungover, because I was always hungover, so I was wandering through a book store when the title . . . Read More

May 17, 2020

#2 The Things They Carried

Tim O'Brien's Vietnam novel is so real even a 20-year-old girl in Nineties flannel could see herself in it

part 2 of a 10-part series In my junior year of college, I took a literature of war class. I’d been drawn in by the late-80s/early-90s Vietnam movies, Oliver Stone and Stanley Kubrick, and “war” sounded exciting, high drama. I didn’t know the class would be all boys, but that was a nice bonus. We . . . Read More