November 17, 2014

An Ode to Photocopies: 50 Versions 4


There are a lot of words worth sharing. Photocopies are my contribution to this literary communion.

November 6, 2014

Name Your Darlings: Writers on the Titling Process 5


The process of titling remains individualized and mysterious: methods range from intuition to reason, from revelation to painful labor. Here, five contemporary authors tell us about theirs.

October 29, 2014

Getting to Know the Presidents, Part 2: From the Compromisers to the Beards 1


Rud Hayes is one of my favorite presidents, and not just because I can get lost for days in his eyes.

October 8, 2014

How History Becomes Story – Three Novels 4


Historical novels, in particular, allow us to relive the past without the neatness of history, and with all the complexity of the present. Here are three novels that successfully transform fact into fiction.

August 27, 2014

Three Books to Get Over an Affair 5


For an acute case, read all three.

August 15, 2014

The Thriller, Reinvented 3


During the Cold War, the conflicts that powered the thriller were rooted in ideology: Le Carre’s Berlin and Greene’s Havana were mainly backdrops against which the clash of the superpowers was played out. The new thrillers were not focused on ideology but on place; it was the peeling away of layers of culture and history that gave these novels their impetus.

July 28, 2014

The Book That Wasn’t: 5 Fiction Writers Talk About their Novels in Drawers 4


What are we to do to with our books that weren’t? How can we learn from them, and when should we let them go?

July 7, 2014

Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2014 Book Preview 19


At over 8,000 words strong and encompassing 84 titles, this is the only second-half 2014 book preview you will ever need.

June 25, 2014

Alternate Routes: A Summer Reading Itinerary 1


I never can quite fathom summer’s end at its start, and so my reading lists stretch on endlessly, too, crammed with long novels too unwieldy for the demands of other seasons.

May 27, 2014

55 Thoughts for English Teachers 29


You need to love words. You don’t need to love a certain type of book or a particular writer, but you need to love letters and phrases and the possibilities of language. You will spend most of your days dealing with words, and students can sense if words do not bring you joy.