Lists

July 11, 2012

Burnt-out Summer Reads 6

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While you’re laid out and baking this season check out these books whose landscapes and characters are bone-dry, desolate, charred, or wasted. The ennui will be a perfect complement to your cocktail.

July 5, 2012

A Beginner’s Guide to Alice Munro 24

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Considering which of Alice Munro’s stories to read can feel something like considering what to eat from an enormous box of chocolates. There are an overwhelming number of choices — and, while you’re very likely to choose something delicious, there is the slight but real possibility of finding yourself stuck with, say, raspberry ganache.

July 2, 2012

Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2012 Book Preview 50

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At 8,700 words strong and encompassing 76 titles, this is the only second-half 2012 book preview you will ever need. Enjoy.

June 27, 2012

Not Ready to Gush About It: A Brief Book List for Young Readers 1

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These kids may have entered my classroom in September as non-readers, but by this point in June every last one of them has loved a book.

June 4, 2012

Ten Books to Read When Mad Men is Over 20

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Mad Men is about to disappear from our lives once again, leaving us to grapple alone with our complicated nostalgia for an era when men were men, women were secretaries, and alcoholism was glamorous. These books give a closer look at the era.

May 9, 2012

The Appeals and Perils of the One-Word Book Title 31

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At their best, one-word titles distill content to its purest essence, which is what all titles strive to do, and then they stick in the mind. Sometimes, of course, they fall flat, and much of the time they’re just lukewarm and vague or, worse, falsely grand.

April 30, 2012

How To Introduce an Author 22

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Should a beloved, Pulitzer Prize-winning author have to hear the president of Northwestern’s Jewish students’ society call him Michael Sha-BONE 8 times in 2 minutes? No. Because he flew across the country to speak for 50 minutes in your overheated auditorium and you have the internet.

April 23, 2012

Tolstoy or Dostoevsky? 8 Experts on Who’s Greater 66

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All mediocre novelists are alike; every great novelist is great in his own way.

April 5, 2012

The Riches of White Trash 12

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Are poor rural white people really neglected in American literature? Hardly. They might be routinely scorned, marginalized, misunderstood, and reduced to caricature, but they’re not neglected. In fact, the canon is larded with writers who’ve put the riches of white trash culture to wondrous use.

February 14, 2012

Man-Eaters and Murderers: Vile Women in Fiction 17

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True villains are a hoot, everyone knows that.