Staff Picks

June 24, 2011

Staff Pick: Blaise Cendrars’ Moravagine 4


Following in the wake of Moravagine’s violence and abandon is also a vicarious thrill for the reader; the book’s prose and pacing and bravado is fearsome, irresistibly so.

May 27, 2011

Staff Picks: Richard P. Feynman’s Six Easy Pieces 4


This is not really physics for beginners, then, but extremely advanced physics explained conversationally, so that students with a working knowledge of the sciences will be intrigued and inspired by the majestic complexity of the discipline, even if they can’t grasp it yet.

May 17, 2011

Staff Pick: China Mieville’s Embassytown 9


Instead of doing the safe thing and revisiting his imaginary world of Bas-Lag or his reconfigured city of London, Mieville now takes us to his titular “city of contradictions on the outskirts of the universe.”

April 14, 2011

Staff Pick: Two Crime Novels 12


The most recent books I’ve read in the genre confirm my long-held suspicion that attempting to categorize books by genre does readers a disservice; these books are no less literary than any of the other great books I’ve read this year, they just have crimes and/or guns in them.

March 31, 2011

Staff Pick: The Patterns of Paper Monsters by Emma Rathbone 7


I longed for a contemporary novel about contemporary life. I longed for references to malls, and to boners, and to “intense cell phones” and to a pillow made of denim with an actual jeans pocket on the front, “like it thinks it’s Bruce Springsteen.”

March 30, 2011

Staff Pick: The Literary Life: A Scrapbook Almanac 1900 to 1950 0


Phelps and Deane were interested in the individualized, romantic convergence of reader and writer; in the deeply-felt notion that literature matters in life, that indeed it is life.

February 18, 2011

Staff Pick: The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature 4


Potential is a dreamer’s word, an ideal state that may never be. Perhaps that’s what makes it a writer’s word.

February 3, 2011

Staff Pick: Sarah Bakewell’s How to Live 5


It’s a ripping story, splashed with bloody horrors and punctuated by moments of serene beauty.

January 31, 2011

Staff Pick: Bleak House and The Dickensian Way 13


You have to embrace Bleak House for what it is – a rambling, confusing, verbose, over-populated, vastly improbable story which substitutes caricatures for people and is full of puns. In other words, an 800-page Dickens novel.

January 25, 2011

Staff Pick: Hannah Pittard’s The Fates Will Find Their Way 5


In her elegant debut novel The Fates Will Find Their Way, Hannah Pittard defies the odds; she takes a story we’ve all read before—a girl disappears, the lives of those left behind are changed forever in the aftermath—and manages to create something entirely original.