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.
There might be water on Mars, but we still only have one home, and it’s constantly surprising us. These imaginative books offer a lively look at our world—and beyond.
Merry and bright: that’s the forecast for bibliophiles this holiday season. Inspired gift ideas for lovers of literature are as plentiful as snowflakes in December. Our top recommendations are featured here.
Margaret Eby explores the hometowns and stomping grounds of 10 Southern authors in her literary travelogue, South Toward Home.
Wait, we need a Brooklyn-based writer to guide us through the swamps, thickets and kudzu of Southern literary haunts? Not to worry—Margaret Eby may live in the borough, but she grew up in Alabama and is on familiar turf in South Toward Home, a highly readable literary tour of the region that gave us Faulkner, O’Connor and Lee (Harper, not Robert E.).
C.S. Lewis wrote that “eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably,” and Cara Nicoletti has made both her life pursuits as she explains in Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books.
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.
In Dead White Guys, Matt Burriesci distills the timeless, sometimes challenging wisdom of The Great Books of the Western World into 26 lessons for his young daughter.
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.
J.C. Hallman had only a passing awareness of writer Nicholson Baker when he quite impulsively became obsessed with the man and his work. He not only had erroneously thought that Baker was British, but considered him a “nonessential” writer. That indifference changed into fixation nearly overnight. Hallman plunged into all of Baker’s fiction and nonfiction, a project that morphed into the deeper contemplation of literature and life that he chronicles with candor, humor and insight in B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal.