Katherine Sharpe

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Arlington, VA, The United States
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Katherine Sharpe was born in Arlington, Virginia. She attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where she studied anthropology and English. She has a master’s degree in literature from Cornell University. Previously she worked as the editor of Seed magazine’s ScienceBlogs.com, and the online editor of ReadyMade. Her writing has appeared in n+1, Nature, Prevention, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Rumpus, Washington Post Magazine, GOOD, Seed, ReadyMade, The Village Voice, Scientific American Mind, and a number of other publications. Coming of Age on Zoloft is her first book.

This is from an essay in the New York Times's "Draft" series on writing, by Rachel Shtier:

"I remember the first time I felt like a bona fide failure as a writer. This feeling of nausea washed over me, but it was confusing because it appeared at the exact moment when I was supposed to be feeling success. It was when I finished my first book and realized there were some things in it that I hated... Read more of this blog post »
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Published on November 12, 2014 21:57 • 225 views • Tags: writing-failure-quotes
Average rating: 3.58 · 589 ratings · 88 reviews · 4 distinct worksSimilar authors
Coming of Age on Zoloft: Ho...

3.56 avg rating — 566 ratings — published 2012 — 3 editions
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400 Words, Issue 1: Autobio...

3.80 avg rating — 5 ratings — published 2005
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n+1 Issue 8: Recessional

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 15 ratings — published 2009 — 2 editions
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Bad Romance (n+1 ebooks Boo...

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3.67 avg rating — 3 ratings
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* Note: these are all the books on Goodreads for this author. To add more, click here.

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Katherine is now friends with Melanie Quigley Smith
Katherine rated a book liked it
Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher
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I really think that professional book reviews have reached some kind of Peak Inflation Level. The blurbs on the front of this book, from reputable sources, made it sound as if this slender volume of satire would singlehandedly usher in a new age of p ...more
Katherine and 40 other people liked Lark Benobi's review of Pachinko:
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
"Reading this book was something like having a hard boiled egg for breakfast every day, without any salt, and maybe it's a little past its fresh-date, too, but it's good for you, and never forget that some people in this world don't get any breakfa..." Read more of this review »
Katherine rated a book it was ok
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
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Abandoned on p. 192. I rarely leave a book unfinished, but at almost halfway through a lengthy book I expect to be looking forward to picking it up again, and that just wasn’t the case here. I thought the characters were awfully flat, and though I le ...more
Katherine and 118 other people liked Manny's review of Min kamp 2:
Min kamp 2 by Karl Ove Knausgård
"[from Min kamp 1]

It was now more than two weeks since I had published my review of Min kamp 1, and during that time I had not posted anything new. Every day, I stared at the screen, tried to begin, abandoned my unsuccessful attempt after half an h..." Read more of this review »
My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgård
"I really, really, really loved the first one of these, but I did not love this one. It was at times a... slog to get through. There were some great moments and I'm glad I finished it, because it ended strong, but the majority fell into the risky t..." Read more of this review »
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Speedboat by Renata Adler
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Brilliant and unreadable
Katherine rated a book really liked it
The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
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Fast and easy (in a good way) and hard to put down. I remember reading Levy’s piece in TNY about giving birth at 19 weeks pregnant and losing her baby in a hotel room in Mongolia, and being blown away by it, long before I started down the baby-having ...more
Katherine rated a book liked it
Chilly Scenes of Winter by Ann Beattie
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It's really well written, polished and lots of snazzy but picayune dialogue, like an episode of Seinfeld. I'm not surprised they made a movie out of it, as it reads like a transcript of a movie. I admit I didn't make it all the way to the end; this n ...more
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Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
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More of Katherine's books…
“This was the dilemma of cosmetic psychopharmacology: we wanted to be happy but we worried that maybe there was something even more important than happiness that we’d unwisely be giving up in the bargain.”
Katherine Sharpe, Coming of Age on Zoloft: How Antidepressants Cheered Us Up, Let Us Down, and Changed Who We Are

“Elliott argues that enhancement technologies fascinate and aggravate us because they alert us to a contradiction in our national value system. On the one hand, America prizes success, and life here is organized around the heated pursuit of it. America is a democracy with a high degree of social mobility; we’re all searching for anything that might give us a competitive edge over our neighbors. (We are also, most likely, looking over our shoulders at whatever our neighbors might be using to get ahead, simultaneously judging them for using it, and wondering where we can get some ourselves.) On the other hand, Americans are also devoted to the idea of personal authenticity. We believe it’s important to be our “real” selves and are ever fearful of losing touch with our inmost natures in the push of worldly ambition. Self-discovery and self-actualization aren’t just enjoyable activities; they’re social demands. In America, Elliott believes, we tend to think of life as a never-ending process of figuring out “who we are” and then striving to live in such a way that we can enact the interests and proclivities that make us unique. This focus on the self as a guiding principle may partly stem from the secular nature of our society. In America since the late nineteenth century, Elliott writes, “finding yourself has replaced finding God.”29 Being who we really are is nothing short of a moral imperative—maybe the strongest one we modern Americans have. These two drives—on the one hand, to succeed; on the other hand, to be who you really are inside—often come into tension.”
Katherine Sharpe, Coming of Age on Zoloft: How Antidepressants Cheered Us Up, Let Us Down, and Changed Who We Are

“When it comes to antidepressants in particular, there’s one more rumple: the American attitude about happiness. In this country, happiness is another ideal that carries nearly the weight of a moral imperative; as Elliott observes, there is an unspoken expectation in America that people should feel and act happy most of the time. Travelers to the United States often remark that in America, more than other places, cheerfulness is viewed as a default state, and that there’s considerable pressure to present oneself as upbeat. There’s also a peculiarly American belief that authenticity and happiness stand in a causal relationship to each other—that really being oneself will lead to happiness every time. Elliott thinks that this belief evolved from a loose interpretation of Freud, who taught that unhappiness was caused by repressions of various kinds: by that logic, the least repressed, most fully realized self would be the most happy. Americans possess, says Elliott, a naive trust that achieving perfect personal authenticity, a feat summed up in the popular phrase “self-actualization,” will result in the deepest possible contentment. So: Americans are supposed to be authentic, and we’re supposed to be happy. When happiness comes easily, this is not a problem. But for people who aren’t feeling happy and are contemplating antidepressants, it can make for tough choices. Is it better to take antidepressants and be happy (but maybe inauthentic, if you believe that antidepressants can temper the self)? Or is it better to press on, authentic but not happy? Either way, you’ll be failing to fulfill the script that American lore has laid out for you: be who you are, and happiness will surely and naturally follow. There’s only one way out of this bind, and it’s to believe that antidepressants make you more, not less, authentic. As it happens, this is precisely the claim that Elliott finds people make about a wide variety of enhancement technologies: people use a technique to alter a certain thing about themselves, and then speak about the alteration as something that makes them into, or expresses, who they really were inside all along. (For example, recipients of sex-change operations often describe them as a way to bring the physical body in line with a deeper reality. I always felt like a woman, and now I am one.) In short, people who use personal enhancements often speak like Tess did when she told Peter Kramer that, off Prozac, “I am not myself.”
Katherine Sharpe, Coming of Age on Zoloft: How Antidepressants Cheered Us Up, Let Us Down, and Changed Who We Are




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Jessica Yay, Katherine!


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