Articles by Thomas Beckwith

February 10, 2015

Longstanding Controversy 2

Nowadays, Huck Finn is as a lightning rod for racial issues, which explains why so many schools have banned the book over the years. But in the late 18th century, when Mark Twain published it, the novel was more controversial as a critique of childhood in America. In the Times, Year in Reading alum Parul […]

February 10, 2015

“The historic past unrolls like a park” 0

Recommended Reading: Sadie Stein on the writing of Elizabeth Bowen.

February 10, 2015

Rough Trade 0

Considering his first novel was a chronicle of gang life in the Bronx, it makes sense that the new book by Richard Price is a tale of the NYPD. In the latest issue of The New Yorker, Joyce Carol Oates reads the novel, remarking that it “retains a residue of Price’s absorption with his rough urban […]

February 10, 2015

Edge of the Earth 0

Cheryl Strayed’s Wild is probably the best-known recent example of a memoir that centers on a journey through a harsh landscape. There’s another one that deserves your attention, too — Kathleen Winter’s Boundless, which tells the tale of the writer’s voyage through the icebound Northwest Passage. At The Guardian, a review of the memoir.

February 10, 2015

Tuesday New Release Day: Soli; Zambra; Newman; Tyler; Spindler; Hepworth; Lange; Kushner 0

Out this week: The Last Good Paradise by Tatjana Soli; My Documents by Alejandro Zambra; The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman; A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler; The First Wife by Erica Spindler; The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth; Sweet Nothing by Richard Lange; and The Strange Case of […]

February 9, 2015

“A big furry fish in a tiny barrel” 0

As a young girl in the 1980s, Melissa Carroll played with My Little Pony dolls, in part because, as she puts it, “I knew I’d better have one.” Nearly thirty years on, she’s fascinated by the new surge of interest in the dolls, especially the interest displayed by the men who call themselves Bronies. At […]

February 9, 2015

There Once Was a Girl from Secaucus 0

“Who cares if I really hate sports And for work, he writes ‘baseball reports’? It’s only one date I mean, this could be fate! Nope, nevermind, he’s the worst.” Limericks for lost online dates.

February 9, 2015

The Craven 0

Ralph Waldo Emerson called him “the jingle-man.” Henry James called his work “decidedly primitive.” Yet Edgar Allan Poe, nearly two centuries after his death, is now acclaimed as a writer on par with his best contemporaries. How did his reputation evolve? In the Times Literary Supplement, Marjorie Perloff reviews a new study of Poe by Jerome […]

February 9, 2015

fragment:story 0

If you know what the phrase “hypertext story” means, you’re likely at least passingly familiar with new media literature, which first appeared all the way back in the days of floppy disks. At Ploughshares, a brief introduction to the genre, with a nod to hypertext ur-teacher and novelist Robert Coover. You could also read Guy […]

February 4, 2015

Civil Servants 1

Implicit in a lot of the discussions about how negative a book reviewer can be is a question of utility: is a book review an act of public service or a work of art in itself? In the Times, James Parker and Anna Holmes debate the purpose of the review. Sample quote: “I’d argue that […]