Marjorie Ingall Mon, 13 Sep 2021 22:08:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 podcastery Mon, 13 Sep 2021 22:03:13 +0000

I’m on this week’s episode of Unorthodox, our nation’s #1 Jewish podcast. It’s my…fourth? I think? appearance to talk about Yom Kippur, apologies, forgiveness, and vile celebrities. You can listen on Apple podcasts or at Tablet

Shana tovah and a sweet 5782 to all who celebrate. 

Please enjoy this photo I took of a bee.

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Gimme a job and you’ll instantly get me invoooooooooolved Wed, 18 Aug 2021 17:57:36 +0000

A Chorus Line reference! Because I am a big ol’ theater nerd! Sorry not sorry. 

So I’m looking for work, freelance or full-time. My book with Susan McCarthy, SORRY SORRY SORRY: THE CASE FOR GOOD APOLOGIES, will be out next year (it’s based on our apology-analysis web site, SorryWatch) and I’m working on other stuff, but I NEED MORE SCHMONEY.

Here are some of my fave clips, in no particular order. Rest assured that I can write in a much more neutral voice (or a fancy-pants voice! I am a magna cum laude Harvard grad with a double concentration in English and Folklore & Mythology!) when called for, but why not share some snazzier, grippier stuff? Ask me if you wanna see my corporate work and I’ll be happy to send you some links. 

Why Are There So Many Holocaust Books for Kids? (NYT)

Confessions of a Sensitivity Reader (Tablet)

Why the Right is Obsessed with Cancel Culture (Tablet)

Stay in Your Lane, Elf (Tablet)

Summer YA: Matthew Quick’s Every Exquisite Thing and More (NYT)

The Best Jewish Children’s Books of 2020 (Tablet)

Lessons from the Kosher Meat Boycott of 1902 (Tablet)

Nine Fun Ways to Keep Kids Interested in Reading and Storytelling (Brightly)

Here’s a somewhat less “voice-y” women’s mag story. I was a contributing editor at Self (and before that, Glamour) for years. I can do service journalism! 

Also: I am also a superb copyeditor. I love copyediting; I find it both gratifying and soothing. 

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Holocaust kidlit and more Tue, 13 Jul 2021 18:29:24 +0000

I wrote an essay that ran in the New York Times Book Review this past Sunday: “Why Are There So Many Holocaust Books for Kids?” And I discussed it with editor Pamela Paul on her podcast.

We have a couple of new SorryWatch posts; please check them out.

Entirely unrelated: Now that we are, God willing, able to peep out of the darkest dark of the Covid-19 pandemic (I reserve the right to take back this assessment at any time — thanks, science-deniers and those who pander to them!) I wanted to have a record somewhere of all the wonderful TV we’ve watched. There is SO MUCH good TV in the world right now. So: 

The best of what we tuned into: The Wire (which we didn’t see when it came out because I thought it would be too upsetting; it is upsetting! but also fully as brilliant as everyone says! and overall, I think stronger as a series than The Sopranos, Mad Men, or Six Feet Under! fight me!).

Also brilliant: Ted Lasso, Hacks, Girls 5Eva, Lupin, Better Things, High Maintenance.

Really, really good: The Mandalorian, Starstruck, Succession, Dark (wild, knotty, small-town German time-travel/nuclear holocaust thriller/family saga/love story on Netflix), Call My Agent, Derry Girls, The Flight Attendant, Halston, The Boys (so dark!), Easy (a shambling anthology show about dating set in Chicago with a great recurring cast).

Not quite as good, but still delightful: Shrill, Evil, The Crown, The Queen’s Gambit, Pen15.

I also watched some top-notch teenager-y stuff with Kid #2: Teenage Bounty Hunters (Kadeem Hardison, BLOWING MY MIND many years after A Different World), Trinkets (teens in a shoplifting support group!), I Am Not Okay With This (BITTER that it was not renewed), Never Have I Ever, The Half of It. Dash and Lily, based on a delightful YA novel, was honestly meh, but dang, New York City looks glorious in it, and it gets automatic points for setting a romance in the stacks of The Strand bookstore.

My self-soothing TV to semi-watch: Chopped, Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis, Schitt’s Creek and The Good Place (again and again), Blown Away, The Great Pottery Throwdown, The Repair Shop, and our family reality TV: LEGO Masters and Top Chef. 

I would say I have no life, but staying home for the last year and a half should be a point of pride, not shame. 

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the best LGBTQ children’s and young adult books IMHO Sun, 27 Jun 2021 19:09:00 +0000

Happy Pride!

I think I last did a booklist about this topic in 2016. Here are the books I’d add to it today:

Board Books

Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer

Baby’s First Words/Mis Primeras Palabras by Stella Blackstone and Sunny Scribens

Picture Books 

Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love 

This Day in June by Gayle Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten 

What Are Your Words? by Katherine Locke, illustrated by Anne Passchier

Middle Grade Books

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang 

The Best At It by Maulik Paucholy

Young Adult Books

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas 

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour 


Love to los jibbities and all who love them! 

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hellooooooooo! Thu, 10 Jun 2021 00:58:51 +0000

Susan and I handed in our book about apologies! It will not be called SORRY SORRY SORRY and it will not be published in 2021! Look for it in Fall 2022, probably! We have no idea what the title will be, either! (Publisher is no longer into SORRY SORRY SORRY.) We will keep you posted! 


For updates, you can check SorryWatch, as well as our Twitter and Facebook

On an unrelated note, here is your daily dose of Vinnie. 

He is not, in fact, a feminist killjoy. He is a feminist JOY-PRODUCER. 

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Holocaust kidlit and current politics (and a podcast) Mon, 01 Feb 2021 23:16:10 +0000

Illustration from "Peter's War" by Deborah Durland DeSaix and Karen Gray Ruelle

For International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I wrote for Tablet about the best children’s Holocaust books of 2020. No Anne Frank bios; no picture books. FOR REASONS. 

This was my last piece for Tablet. I quit, after over a decade. I’m sad and still having dreams about it, which I realize is a bit pathetic. But it had to be done, and that’s all I’ll say. Hire me for your ghostwriting, children’s literature coverage, and cultural journalism needs! 

My SorryWatch co-writer Susan and I are hard at work on our book (tentatively called SORRY SORRY SORRY: THE CASE FOR GOOD APOLOGIES, forthcoming in 2022 from Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster). We were just on a British podcast about language, called The Allusionist, together. We talked about the word “sorry.” It was a lot of fun, in large part because the interviewer, Helen Zaltzman, was so witty and quick. I did shock her into silence when I described one of my non-apology-related writing foci as “all things Jewy.” We were on Zoom and her eyes got humungous. I keep forgetting that British Jews are not like New York City Jews and do not crack wise in this manner. I’m sorry, Helen.

Oh, also I went off on Twitter about Marjorie Taylor Greene being a blot on the fine name of Marjorie. There are so few of us these days; the name peaked in the 1920s, and by the 1960s had disappeared from the Social Security’s list of 1000 top baby names entirely. This is why I buy all the monogrammed “Marjorie” hankies on eBay for a song. All the people who could bid against me are dead. But I digress. History is full of wonderful Marjories, and if you would like to learn about some of them, the thread starts here



(In truth I only have six Marjorie hankies. Here are three because I am too lazy to go get the rest from my sock drawer.)

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hanukkah alert: best jewish children’s books of 2020 Tue, 08 Dec 2020 01:20:40 +0000

To be fair, these are the best books to give as gifts. All are delightful, none are too edumacational. In the last few years, I’ve published a whole separate list of best Holocaust books for children and teens (welcome to writing for the Jews) because I want to give a shout out to all the wonderful books that are not about our genocide.

On SorryWatch, here is Every Politician’s Apology for Violating Their Own Covid-19 Protocols.

And here is your daily Vinnie. Mood: Sleepy. Paw: Lorge.


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The Quarantine Cat Report Tue, 24 Nov 2020 20:04:54 +0000

The last time I posted, Vinnie had just gotten stuck between the screen door and the glass door, with the cat door RIGHT NEXT TO HIM. A month later, this sweet moron is still struggling with the notion of the cat door. Here is my daughter offering him moral support. 

This cat has helped make the last few terrible months bearable. Shout-out, as usual, to bideawee shelter, where we’ve gotten all our family cats. (Pre-Vinnie: YoYo, Bookie, Slinky, Novella, and Dottie. Novella and Dottie are still with us and tolerate Vinnie in all his kittenish enthusiasm and general idiocy. See below: Novella is in front and Dottie is behind her. They like to cuddle and look suspicious and peeved when interrupted.)

The late, great Sebastian was also a shelter kitty, but not a bideawee kitty; I inherited him from a coworker who moved to the Netherlands. Sebastian predated the kids and Jonathan. He lived long enough to love Jonathan too, move with me to San Francisco and back to NYC, and get to know Josie. He lived until she was almost two. Once, before she could stand, I watched Sebastian walk up to her as she sat on the rug and head-butt her, then lie down. She deliberately toppled into a plop on top of him, her giant pumpkin noggin lying on his side. And they both took a little rest. He was a wonderful boy.)

In work news, my co-SorryWatcher did a great post on some serious apology-weaseling by the New Orleans Police Department. I reviewed National Book Award nominee The Way Back by Gavriel Savit for the New York Times Book Review, and heard from my wonderful 10th grade English teacher who was very excited that the NYT’s own A.O. Scott was also in the Book Review this past weekend and we were both her students at Classical High School in Providence, Rhode Island. And we both really loved reading “The Yellow Wallpaper” and The Awakening. 

It feels like forever ago, but my neighborhood had a huge kettle-banging celebration when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won. (I love that her family calls her “Mamala.”) It felt like the East Village of yore. Other than that marvelous interlude, though, things are still pretty stressful. Awfully hard to wrap one’s brain around 250,000 Americans dead for no reason while the federal government failed to act. 

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did i mention the kitten? Mon, 26 Oct 2020 18:45:55 +0000

Again, I feel gross doing self-promotion when the world is going to heck in a handcart, but the things I have written recently: A eulogy for RBG, a guide to voting with your kid (OH GOD PLEASE PLEASE VOTE WHETHER YOU HAVE A KID OR NOT BUT IF YOU HAVE A KID HOW THE HELL CAN YOU *NOT* VOTE) and a piece for the thrillingly redesigned SorryWatch on a fascinating literary apology from the annals of exquisitely polite Regency lady-writer history. (No, really.) Also a piece for the venerable Horn Book called “What Makes a Good Hanukkah Book?” in which I am snarky. It’s online as well as in print but you have to register to read it. 

I have also been writing Postcards to Voters. Not artsy ones like the ones on the web site, but at least I’m managing to keep the stink of desperation off them, I think.

In far happier news, the pandemic kitten is now a big boy but still providing endless entertainment. Sorry I can’t share the video of him running around bonking into things while his head was stuck in an empty tissue box, but I took the video while on the toilet and you can totally tell. Here, however, is Vinnie stuck between the glass door and the screen door…immediately after we put in a cat door.

He’s lucky he’s cute. He’s sleeping next to me (snoring like a mofo) as I type. 

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anxiety is all around Tue, 08 Sep 2020 19:41:54 +0000

Once again I have been remiss in updating this site but since time has no meaning anymore, who really cares? 

I have, of course, been writing things. I wrote about my INTENSE MISGIVINGS about Jennifer Grey’s just-announced Dirty Dancing sequel, which I expect will not do justice to the pointed lessons about social justice work, Jewishness, abortion rights activism, and class consciousness that are important aspects of the original film. Speaking of abortion, I wrote a piece about a lovely San Francisco-area “memory garden” for folks mourning miscarriages, neonatal loss, infertility and abortion. Reporting it was quite moving to me, and not just because it was the last trip I took before the pandemic walls closed in. Tablet re-upped a piece I did a few years back explaining Labor Day to kids and talking about it with teenagers.

I recently also did a piece about why the right is obsessed with the term “cancel culture.” (I’d argue this is true of some — not all — of my own colleagues at Tablet.) And as we gear up for school starting again, I did a roundup of (mostly recent) picture books about kids coping with anxiety and (mostly Jewish) middle-grade novels addressing the same topic. My own kid is sort of adrift; we still have no idea exactly when school is starting or how much of it will take place in the (ancient and overcrowded) building and how much will be purely Zoom. (Sorry, I meant Google. Apparently Zoom is too easily hacked, according to the Department of Education, which surely only coincidentally has deals with Google. Google Groups/Google Meet/Google for Education trigger huge privacy concerns, if not, y’know, porn. Also, “remote learning” in general is agonizing. There is no winning. Wear your masks, people. 

Here is a soothing photo of my cat sleeping on challah. 

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