'Continuous Partial Attention,' 'Metonym,' 'FOP,' 'Charm'—Items From Our New Issue

What we're serving up this month

The June issue of The Atlantic has arrived. Say it with me: Subscribe! I read the "actual" (printed) magazine cover-to-cover last night, on the DC-NY train and then after arrival; it's full of good stuff. In my hypothesized "spare time" some day I will intend to do a story-by-story gloss. For the moment I'll just touch on a few in-house features:

This is by way of segue to two extra in-house aspects of the issue that involve me. One is a long story by me about the past-present-and-future governor of my original home state, Jerry Brown. I'll do a follow up item here soon, but the two points I tried to convey in the story are what is unusual (and impressive) about Brown as a person, and what is unusual (and instructive) about the predicament of California as a state. For now I'll say that I really enjoyed doing this story, except the always-tedious "writing" part; and it helped me come to terms with the changes for good and bad in California between my time growing up there and my sons' time there now.

Oh, yes, the story also involves my (and the governor's) discovery of what a certain literary term means.

The other is a Q-and-A with Linda Stone, known inside the tech world for her work at Apple and Microsoft and known to the world at large for coining the term "continuous partial attention" to define our modern mental state. The print version of the interview, with tips on maintaining your own focus despite the blur, is here; the next post in this space will be a "director's cut" extended version of the interview, with more tips. I will try to maintain focus long enough to get it posted.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


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