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Michael David Lukas

Michael David Lukas has been a Fulbright Scholar in Turkey, a proofreader in Tel Aviv, and a waiter at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont. A graduate of Brown University and the University of Maryland, his writing has been published in Slate, National Geographic Traveler, Tikkun, the Boston Globe, and Georgia Review. He just completed a novel about the end of the Ottoman Empire, to be published by HarperCollins.


A Meditation on Roast Chicken

June 30, 2010 | Essays

Just as a bottle of wine is enhanced by knowledge of its production and provenance, food is enriched by a sustained meditation on the life it once was and a reverence for all the work that brought it to the table.

What’s in a (Middle) Name?

January 30, 2010 | Essays

Consider the difference between James Cooper and James Fenimore Cooper; David Wallace and David Foster Wallace; or Jorge Luis Borges and Jorge Borges. Who would want to go down in history as Jorge Borges?

The Best of the Best Books of 2009

December 23, 2009 | Criticism

While here are only two freestanding book reviews in this fair country, we do have a wealth of best book lists. Here is a meta-list: The Best of the Best Books of 2009.

9 Counties? 8 Bridges? 7 Million People?

November 23, 2009 | Reporting

The biggest problem with The New York Times' new Bay Area section is that it acts like a foreign desk, treating the region like a surprisingly cosmopolitan colonial outpost.

The Tyranny of the Fuyu Persimmon

November 12, 2009 | Essays

Every time I crunch into a fuyu persimmon I feel guilty, like when I read the Times online or ignore my local bookstore for a cheaper copy on Amazon or Alibris.

After the Nobel, Then What?

October 19, 2009 | Reporting

Sure, you spend a few months resting on your laurels. You go to Stockholm, you collect your prize, you give your speech, but then what?

Herta Who?

October 9, 2009 | Essays

The best way to bolster literature in translation is to buy some, and maybe you’ll get a jump on next year’s Nobel Prize winner.

The Cookbook Writer as Food Anthropologist

September 18, 2009 | Essays

The great anthropological cookbooks of the 1960s and 1970s have been all but replaced by the fluffy side-projects of TV personalities, further alienating home cooks from their kitchens.

Dispatches from the Mother of the World

Fall 2009 | Criticism

Friendly Fire: Stories, by Alaa al-Aswany. Harper Perennial, September 2009. $13.99 paper In his decade-long attempts to get Friendly Fire published, Egyptian author Alaa al-Aswany faced spiteful critics, more than a few corrupt bureaucrats, and a [...]

Unpacking My Girlfriend’s Library

September 10, 2009 | Essays

Some would toss their e-book device in the glove compartment and head out on the super highway. I’ll take the heft of the book in my hand.

The Lost Symbol Can Wait

August 28, 2009 | Criticism

Amidst all the excitement of the Roths and Moores and Chabons we should not forget about Lydia Davis, whose Collected Stories comes out in one month.

What Good are Writers Conferences?

August 19, 2009 | Essays

Part workshop, part retreat, part lecture, it hibernates for much of the year in university English departments and home offices, emerging for a week or two at the height of the summer before scuttling back to its lair.

“The End”

July 13, 2009 | Essays

The completion of a novel is nowhere near as momentous as the birth of a child. But in some ways, the pain and anxiety of separation is similar.

The Sorrows of Young Jacko

July 2, 2009 | Criticism

What does the King of Pop have in common with the main character of an 18th century German novel? Quite a lot, in fact.

Readings for Revolution

June 17, 2009 | Criticism

No one book could ever hope to encompass a country as complex and multi-faceted as Iran. But if you read these five, you’ll be on your way.

If You Malaprop Us, Do We Not Bleed?

May 26, 2009 | Essays

In these days of excessive credit card fees and imminent financial regulation, one of the most bandied-about (and misused) Shakespearean phrases is “a pound of flesh.”

In Defense of Longness

April 27, 2009 | Criticism

In a world that fetishizes speed, the act of reading a long novel feels almost perverse. But perhaps longness is what we need most these days.


April 14, 2009 | Reporting

If you are going to purge your bookstore of gay and lesbian literature, you should do a proper job of it.

Graywolf Howls

April 3, 2009 | Essays

The success of Graywolf is not just a good news story in a bad news cycle, it is a validation of their small-batch editorial philosophy.

RIP Tayeb Salih

February 25, 2009 | Profiles

The death of the great Sudanese novelist went largely without comment in this country.

An AWP Preview

February 11, 2009 | Essays

The Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference starts tomorrow, with four days of literary readings, panel discussions, schmoozing, and an enormous book fair.

Readings for the Next Intifada

February 5, 2009 | Criticism

Works of literature on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict—four from the Palestinians, four from the Israelis, and one in between.

Link Roundup: Electronic Books

January 28, 2009 | Criticism

E-books have been getting a lot of press recently. But why you would want to pay $400 for something no smaller, no lighter, and no easier to read than a paperback?

Whither Updike?

January 15, 2009 | Criticism

How will John Updike's writing measure up twenty years from now?