A poignant and hilarious memoir about an aging parent, an other-worldly collection of short stories and a critically lauded epic of four friends in New York make for great discussion this month.
New Year’s means resolutions, and many will start this month vowing to drop a few pounds, exercise more or declutter their lives. Those with more ambitious aspirations can seek the path to intellectual self-improvement with Susan Wise Bauer’s The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had.
Two new books cover the careers and histories of some of the most prominent writers and editors for the long-running magazine, The New Yorker.
It is arguably America’s most famous and favorite poem. But do we really know what Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” is about? Not so much, says David Orr.
A beloved true story of adventure, a harrowing story of underground survival and an artfully woven historical make for great group discussion this month.
For all its sexual perversity, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita is at heart a master send-up of the particularities of mid-20th-century American culture. It is a measure of the genius of the non-native English-speaking Nabokov that he crafted the novel’s dazzling prose, of course, but it is just as impressive that this Russian-born writer captured the nuances of an alien culture with such precision and wit. In his new study, Nabokov in America: On the Road to Lolita, Robert Roper focuses on the émigré’s time in the United States and how it gave birth to his most famous book.
We tend to think of William Styron as a novelist—and rightly so, given the enduring power of such works at The Confessions of Nat Turner and Sophie’s Choice. Yet Styron, who would have been 90 years old on June 11, was also a prolific and gifted writer of nonfiction, as the doorstop-sized new collection, My Generation, makes plain. This gathering of essays, journalism, book reviews, memoirs and occasional pieces, written over 50 years, offers a congenial glimpse into this eminent American writer’s life and mind.
The final chapter in Lev Grossman's Magicians Trilogy, a suspenseful historic account of a perilous voyage and a National Book Award finalist make for great reading this month.
While they are often roped together as Western or regional writers (narrow classifications they both loathed), and their prime writing years and geographic terrain overlapped to a degree, there could not have been two more different writers—or men—than Wallace Stegner and Edward Abbey.
Each April, National Poetry Month promotes the enduring art form in the classroom and beyond, celebrating the integral role that poetry has played in our literary tradition. Yet, this once-a-year focus on poetry also reminds us of how few readers still make poetry a regular part of their reading diet. We encounter poetry every day, of course, in its most populist forms—song lyrics, advertising—but the meager sales of poetry collections would indicate that few of us are curling up by the fire with a volume of verse. If asked, many readers might cite their lack of interest as growing out of intimidation—they just don’t “get” poetry, its language is hard to crack, its subject matter arcane.