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News to me

Robert Hass’s National Book Award
Notwithstanding the occasional university-press finalist (this year: David Kirby), the National Book Award for poetry is generally open to only a few American poets.
By: WILLIAM CORBETT  |  December 11, 2007


Prison professor

A literary prize that really helps
There are lots of small presses. Dzanc Books, based near Detroit, is one of them, but it’s not like the rest.
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  December 05, 2007


Nerd noir

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ’s Black Dossier
This volume, the first published solely as a graphic novel, is the comic as fetish object.
By: CHARLES TAYLOR  |  December 03, 2007


Holiday books

Coffee-table madness
Okay, we admit, we went a bit crazy this year.
By: PHOENIX STAFF  |  December 03, 2007


Time with Tolstoy

The new translation of War and Peace
War and Peace is the epic to end all epics.
By: JEFFREY GANTZ  |  November 28, 2007


Scared green

Devra Davis’s cancer book
Even when we’re aware of some level of health risk involved in our mundane daily activities, we tend to ignore it.
By: DEIRDRE FULTON  |  November 27, 2007


Deep thinking

Peter Thomson’s cleansing journey
Lake Baikal fills a fracture in the surface of Siberia that’s 25 million years old, 395 miles long, and a mile deep.
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  November 19, 2007



Oliver Sacks’s musical case files
In his New Yorker pieces over the years, Oliver Sacks has shown a talent for setting personal narratives against the increasingly mapped-out maze of human neurology.
By: AMY FINCH  |  November 19, 2007

Wrestle in peace

Remembering Mailer, the blustery king of American letters
In a life of many garlands and much renown, it was Mailer’s strange engagement with literary destiny always to be trapped on the wrong side of his art.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  November 14, 2007


Smartest girl

Diane Vadino’s secret nerd heart
Many people will pre-judge Betsy Nilssen — the heroine of Diane Vadino’s debut, Smart Girls Like Me — as another Bridget Jones or Andy Sachs, and that’s a shame.
By: SHARON STEEL  |  November 13, 2007


Denis Johnson’s war

Vietnam in Tree of Smoke
Denis Johnson has given us so many maimed and suffering souls in the past 25 years, he could fill a trauma ward.
By: JOHN FREEMAN  |  November 06, 2007


Speaking freely

 Sister Spit in Jamaica Plain
If the claustrophobic space and rigorous tour schedule was getting to anyone, you wouldn’t know it from their humor and high energy.
By: MEGAN BELL  |  November 06, 2007


Travel New England!

...with a gas can and Brock Clarke’s wily novel
Clarke’s satire leaves enough room for at least one resounding lesson: a good story shouldn’t always make you do bad things.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  October 31, 2007


The dirtiest cop

 How Times Square corrupted the 20th century
This is what history writing should be.
By: CLIF GARBODEN  |  October 30, 2007



The dazzling art of Boston’s Sister Corita
The question that arises when you consider the dazzling screenprints of the late Boston artist Sister Corita Kent is: how could an artist so good be so ignored?
By: GREG COOK  |  October 23, 2007


No Reservations

Author John Burnham Schwartz on adapting his novel, Reservation Road
Rage itself becomes a monster.
By: JENNY HALPER  |  October 18, 2007


King to C5

Kasparov comes to Harvard  
Greengard, no less eager to make a good local impression, had called Kasparov “the Bill Belichick of chess.”
By: JEFFREY GANTZ  |  October 17, 2007


American dreamer

Ha Jin retraces his journey
It’s difficult to think of an American writer with a story more inspiring than Ha Jin’s.
By: JOHN FREEMAN  |  October 15, 2007


Brit wits

As Nick Hornby and Irvine Welsh face 50, two of Brit Lit’s standard-bearers stare down middle age in very different ways  
Nick Hornby’s new novel is about a boy. Not About a Boy . Irvine Welsh’s new short story collection is filthy. Not Filth .
By: MIKE MILIARD  |  October 11, 2007


Thirsty nights

Rebecca Barry’s bar stories
A man walks into a bar.
By: CLEA SIMON  |  October 09, 2007


Difficult people

Tom Perrotta keeps his characters company through the bumps and bumbles of American life
As a reader of fiction, at this point in life I’m sort of in my late Imperial phase — a sensationalist, easily distracted, with a vulgar appetite for brilliance.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  October 03, 2007

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