Three novels exploring the complexity and resilience of the human spirit make great picks for reading groups this month.
Two excellent crime novels and a polished memoir on dying make for great listening.
Excellent books from Charles Finch, Lachlan Smith and former secretary of defense Robert Gates make for great listening.
Was John Updike one of America’s great writers or merely, as Harold Bloom famously said, “a minor novelist with a major style”? In Updike, his meticulously detailed and highly readable new biography—the first full-fledged life of the writer, who died in 2009—Adam Begley makes a convincing case for the former view while providing a rich account of the events that shaped Updike’s fiction.
This month's Audio column has something for everyone: mystery lovers, readers of inspiring memoirs and seekers of exciting new voices in fiction.
Three of our favorite books of 2013 are now available in paperback, including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's astounding third novel. These books are guaranteed to delight and spark discussion in your reading group.
George Eliot’s Middlemarch is a crowning achievement among Victorian novels—a canon with its fair share of weighty masterworks. Admired by generations of writers, including Virginia Woolf, who called it “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people,” it holds primacy of place on many readers’ “to be read” lists, though many probably never get to the somewhat daunting task. Not so Rebecca Mead, a staff writer for The New Yorker, who first read the novel when she was 17 and has re-read it many times since.
The genius writer as self-destructing alcoholic is a cliché, but as with all clichés, it originates in truth. Faulkner, Dylan Thomas, Poe, Dorothy Parker, Anne Sexton—it gets to be a very long list once you begin compiling. In The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking, Olivia Laing offers a singular amalgam of biography, memoir, travelogue and literary criticism as...
In August 2008, Amanda Lindhout was kidnapped by Somali militants and held for ransom. It was 460 days before she and her Australian companion Nigel Brennan were released. A House in the Sky, written with Sara Corbett, is her account of what she endured—and how she endured it. It’s a powerful story of captivity, survival and human resilience, told with honesty and clarity and...
You’ll be swept into The Son, Philipp Meyer’s brilliantly crafted, multigenerational saga that swirls through the history of Texas from pre-Civil War days to the present. Told in three alternating voices, this compellingly complex narrative begins with Eli, the McCullough clan’s patriarch and most intriguing member. Captured in 1846 by the Comanche raiders who slaughtered his...