Michael Haneke’s ‘Amour’ is the ultimate horror film. With its portrayal of the shocks, the cruelties and indignities to which old age and disease subject a happily married Parisian couple, it’s far scarier and more disturbing than Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho,’ Kubrick’s ‘The Shining,’ or Polanski’s ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ and like those films, it stays with you long after you might have chosen to forget it.

Francine Prose: A Masterpiece You Might Not Want to See

Michael Haneke’s ‘Amour’ is the ultimate horror film. With its portrayal of the shocks, the cruelties and indignities to which old age and disease subject a happily married Parisian couple, it’s far scarier and more disturbing than Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho,’ Kubrick’s ‘The Shining,’ or Polanski’s ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ and like those films, it stays with you long after you might have chosen to forget it.

Francine Prose: A Masterpiece You Might Not Want to See

Cell phones are banned from public schools in New York City and students must store them in trucks outside the school during the day. The business of storing cell phones takes in around $22,800 a day, from students paying a dollar a day for storage. Francine Prose talked to students about the situation when she visited a high school in the Bronx recently.

"Why, the students asked, are the students in more prosperous neighborhoods unofficially allowed to ignore the ban, as long as they aren’t caught? And why are the poor kids in the eighty-eight New York schools that have been equipped with metal detectors forced to spend five dollars a week—an expense that, for some, means going without food?"

Why Are Poor Kids Paying for School Security? http://j.mp/XTq8xg

Photo: Students lining up to pay for cell phone storage near New York’s Washington Irving High School, September 27, 2012 (Tina Fineberg/AP Images)

Cell phones are banned from public schools in New York City and students must store them in trucks outside the school during the day. The business of storing cell phones takes in around $22,800 a day, from students paying a dollar a day for storage. Francine Prose talked to students about the situation when she visited a high school in the Bronx recently.

"Why, the students asked, are the students in more prosperous neighborhoods unofficially allowed to ignore the ban, as long as they aren’t caught? And why are the poor kids in the eighty-eight New York schools that have been equipped with metal detectors forced to spend five dollars a week—an expense that, for some, means going without food?"

Why Are Poor Kids Paying for School Security? http://j.mp/XTq8xg

Photo: Students lining up to pay for cell phone storage near New York’s Washington Irving High School, September 27, 2012 (Tina Fineberg/AP Images)

During the many lengthy shots of the scenic British countryside in the latest Wuthering Heights, directed by the British filmmaker Andrea Arnold, I found myself wondering how anyone could have been convinced that what the culture needed was yet another cinematic treatment of Emily Brontë’s novel. If one counts feature films, foreign adaptations, and TV mini-series, audiences have had more than twenty opportunities to watch Brontë’s doomed lovers race across the wind-swept moors. Then, about an hour into the newest version, it struck me: it’s ‘Twilight!’

Francine Prose, The Taming of Wuthering Heights

Photo: Kaya Scodelario in Andrea Arnold’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ (2011) (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

During the many lengthy shots of the scenic British countryside in the latest Wuthering Heights, directed by the British filmmaker Andrea Arnold, I found myself wondering how anyone could have been convinced that what the culture needed was yet another cinematic treatment of Emily Brontë’s novel. If one counts feature films, foreign adaptations, and TV mini-series, audiences have had more than twenty opportunities to watch Brontë’s doomed lovers race across the wind-swept moors. Then, about an hour into the newest version, it struck me: it’s ‘Twilight!’

Francine Prose, The Taming of Wuthering Heights

Photo: Kaya Scodelario in Andrea Arnold’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ (2011) (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

Francine Prose, Making Up Edith Wharton

When Edith Wharton—then Edith Jones—was a little girl, her favorite game was called “making up.” “Making up” involved pacing around with an open book and (before she could read) inventing and then later half reading, half inventing stories about real people, narratives that she would chant very loud and very fast. The constant pacing and shouting were important parts of the game, which (according to Wharton’s memoir, A Backward Glance) had an enraptured, trance-like, slightly erotic aspect. Her parents spied on her, and it made them nervous.

(Photo: Edith Wharton Collection, Beinecke Library, Yale University)

Francine Prose, Making Up Edith Wharton

When Edith Wharton—then Edith Jones—was a little girl, her favorite game was called “making up.” “Making up” involved pacing around with an open book and (before she could read) inventing and then later half reading, half inventing stories about real people, narratives that she would chant very loud and very fast. The constant pacing and shouting were important parts of the game, which (according to Wharton’s memoir, A Backward Glance) had an enraptured, trance-like, slightly erotic aspect. Her parents spied on her, and it made them nervous.

(Photo: Edith Wharton Collection, Beinecke Library, Yale University)