Monday, March 10 2014
Berryman, Carver, Cheever, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Williams; none could tend the flame of their talent with anything but liquor and devastation.
Friday, February 28 2014
Uncharted puts the "big data" of Google Books through the lens of a tool called Ngram, but the meaning of the results, and even their validity, turn a great read into a cautionary tale.
Tuesday, February 11 2014
Like his protagonists, Thomas Pynchon appears to remind us, in his absence from advising us, that we must rely on our own smarts, arrayed against mystery and cynicism and corruption.
Tuesday, February 4 2014
We all search for escape, and while music, drugs, radicalism, or fame may ease the monotony, the protagonists of so many of these tales find themselves at the end of their narratives still constrained.
Tuesday, January 28 2014
Soul Train was more than entertainment for black America. It was inspiration and validation. Questlove gives us another ride.
Friday, January 17 2014
The year 2013 saw a rash of big new books published, from the likes of Stephen King, Malcolm Gladwell, and David Sedaris; none of whom made this list.
Wednesday, January 15 2014
Art, politics, poetry, food, and global fiction: 2013 year brought in a variety of engaging titles from many genres. Still, non-fiction tops my 2013 favorites.
Monday, January 13 2014
Five books published in 2013 that stayed with me, that I found myself urging on others, that I now say to you, Hey! Read this!
Monday, January 6 2014
Comics is an ideal medium for showing memory, time and mind, as having "physical dimensions".
Wednesday, November 27 2013
My ramblings about reading are so valued that I'm now a big star in Tanzania. On my recent whirlwind tour I was mobbed at the airport and carried about on people's shoulders.
Monday, November 25 2013
Here as in all his works, William T. Vollman sides with the poor and the marginalized, but he tries to remain fair to all he meets, even as he confesses his prejudice, or tolerance.
Friday, November 22 2013
Both Elements of a Life and A Life Worth Living offer concise, eloquent, and learned treatments of the life and work of Albert Camus.
Friday, November 15 2013
Depending on whom you listen to, God, or the devil, is in the details, and that's exactly where John Updike's talent lies, too.
Thursday, November 14 2013
Both James Alexander Langteaux and Mary Griffith have become leading voices in the discussion about how one can align a deeply personal relationship with God and support the LGBT community. Yet, neither wanted the job.
Tuesday, November 5 2013
Marisha Pessl and Sergio de la Pava have both found success with novels that are defiant in their length and ambition. Yet critical and editorial prejudice against their 'Bigness' -- in scope and heft -- won't budge.
Tuesday, October 22 2013
Chuck Haddix's new biography of the great alto saxophonist unearths fresh details of his early life—and helps us to see more clearly his genius and his tragedy.
Tuesday, October 15 2013
Robert Slifkin's book on Philip Guston is an incantatory debut work that shows us a compelling new side of the artist's famous Marlborough paintings.
Monday, October 14 2013
Merle Haggard's restlessness breaks him out of one prison and sends him towards another.
Friday, October 4 2013
More books you'll love than you can swing a cat while shaking a stick at.
Friday, September 27 2013
The great Elmore Leonard wrote dozens of novels. Some, like Get Shorty, were adapted for film. So why do I associate him with smooth jazz? Well, John Lurie had a hand in that.