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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


Blessed be He

One Jew’s struggle with God
Shalom Auslander’s memoir, Foreskin’s Lament , begins with a hoot of a first chapter, one that’s sure to be quoted on nationwide Jewish e-mail chains.
By: IAN SANDS  |  October 01, 2007


Class acts

Richard Russo’s family tidings
The cast of Bridge of Sighs — Russo’s first novel since his 2001 Pulitzer winner, Empire Falls — may have benefitted from a refresher course with Emerson.
By: JOHN FREEMAN  |  September 26, 2007


''Great Journeys''

From Marco Polo to Twain and Shackleton, with a bit of Pico Iyer
Now that the jungle is withdrawing, and the wilderness is tenanted, the brief of the travel writer has altered somewhat.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  September 24, 2007


Environmentally yours

Two new takes on global warming
Environmental interest groups, Shellenberger and Nordhaus claimed, simply don’t dream big enough to address the multifaceted monster that is global warming.
By: DEIRDRE FULTON  |  September 24, 2007


''Things'' we love

Writers extol sacred objects of everyday use — and uselessness
Until I was 14, I spent nearly every Saturday evening wading through a wealth of antique objects in my grandmother’s small apartment in the Baltimore suburbs.
By: CAITLIN E. CURRAN  |  September 24, 2007


Touched by grace

Andre Dubus’s unending gifts
This, around November, when New England’s bones start to show — and I realized my heart was beating faster. The story had quickened my pulse.
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  October 01, 2007


Fallout joys

When the Nirvana explosion rocked Boston
In his newly published The Sound of Our Town: A History of Boston Rock & Roll , Phoenix contributor Brett Milano explores the evolution of the local music scene.
By: BRETT MILANO  |  September 18, 2007


Common ground

Ann Patchett’s Boston allegory
Like the American naturalists of the last century, Ann Patchett examines race and class in her new novel, Run .
By: DANA KLETTER  |  September 18, 2007


Everybody say, ‘Arragh’

Two excellent books about pirates
Each of these books bears a tongue-in-cheekily arcane subtitle.
By: CLIF GARBODEN  |  September 12, 2007


Our town?

Garrison Keillor on his new novel of Lake Wobegon
“Evelyn was an insomniac so when they say she died in her sleep, you have to question that.”
By: JEFFREY GANTZ  |  September 12, 2007


War, peace, and Robert Pinsky

The season's fiction, non-fiction, and poetry
Every few years, a fall publishing season emerges that should remind us that Boston could be the literary epicenter of America.
By: JOHN FREEMAN  |  September 12, 2007


Talking to Himself

Alan Alda talks to us about his new memoir and what it means to live a successful life  
There’s a scene in Alan Alda’s new memoir  that’s hard to forget: Hawkeye, age eleven, shooting terminally ill rabbits to a bloody, dusty death.
By: JENNY HALPER  |  September 07, 2007


Laotian dreams

Colin Cotterill’s Dr. Siri novels
Dr. Siri Paiboun has a sense of proportion.
By: CLEA SIMON  |  September 04, 2007


The kids are not all right

The authors of Restless Virgins talk about the underbelly of teen culture at Milton Academy
If you lived in Massachusetts you heard about it.
By: JENNY HALPER  |  August 31, 2007


In search of Kerouac

‘Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?’ . . . Lowell?!
Ashare drops me off, frantic Matt Ashare from my paper, swilling coffee in a ceramic mug at the wheel of his sulky-blue Saturn Ion and ranting about dogfighting.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  August 29, 2007


Aesthetic genius

Why can’t more writers be smart enough to be beautiful, handsome, or at least cute
When I saw Marisha Pessl in the New York Times Style Section, meticulously posed on an antique chair wearing a pair of high heels and a coy smile, I cringed.
By: SHARON STEEL  |  August 30, 2007


Cover story

The amazing art of ‘Mingering Mike’
To any true vinyl obsessive, a rare musical artifact — and the story behind it — is often as compelling as the sound in its grooves.
By: JONATHAN PERRY  |  August 29, 2007


Bouncers tell all

Tales from behind the velvet rope
A young man of my acquaintance, a callow pube of a London club-goer, got himself bounced not long ago from an establishment on the King’s Road.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  August 22, 2007


Wall of shame

A definitive life of Phil Spector
In a moment of weakness, he licensed the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” for an ad for the erectile-dysfunction drug Cialis.
By: BRETT MILANO  |  August 22, 2007


Animal husbandry

Ted Hughes and Les Murray
Les Murray and Ted Hughes, though they dwelled in each other’s antipodes, had plenty in common.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  August 15, 2007

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