| Mar 13, 2013
| 1:14 PM
The traditionally staid American Academy of Arts and Letters is both charmed and flummoxed by Bob Dylan. The academy announced Wednesday that it voted the musician into its ranks -- its first rock musician ever. But he will be an honorary member: Not...
| Mar 12, 2013
| 3:01 PM
During the 2012 presidential election, Republican candidate Mitt Romney's openness about his Mormon faith brought to the surface many of the generalizations Americans maintain about what it means to be a Mormon. Ryan McIlvain's debut novel "Elders"...
| Aug 16, 2013
| 9:00 AM
Back in 2000, when John Updike assembled "The Best American Short Stories of the Century," he included "Death of a Favorite," by J.F. Powers. Interviewing Updike at the time, I mentioned how pleased I was to see Powers in the collection. "He was once, you...
| Dec 4, 2012
| 4:21 PM
England's most feared literary prize was announced Tuesday night -- "awarded" wouldn't be the right word, because the winning author was not in attendance. That was Nancy Huston, who took the 2012 Bad Sex in Fiction Award for her novel "Infrared."
| Aug 19, 2013
| 1:34 PM
Many years ago I met a reader who told me a story about one of my own books. My first novel “The Tattooed Soldier” was new then, having recently been published by a small house in upstate New York. I was just coming to terms, then, with the...
| Sep 26, 2012
| 7:24 AM
If you were building a Chris Ware, if you were constructing the most celebrated cartoonist of the past couple of decades, drawing up the plans for an Oak Park illustrator so routinely referred to as a genius that the accolade is more like fact than...
| Sep 11, 2013
| 9:04 AM
When America was attacked on 9/11, it seemed as if words might fail. But in trying to understand that tragedy and what it meant, words have served us well. Here are some literary links for the 12th anniversary of those attacks in 2001.
"Every year I...
| Aug 5, 2013
| 6:13 AM
Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a relatively obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. This week's word: PULE Whining is an annoying tone that gets on the nerves,...
| Apr 6, 2013
Author George Saunders is having the kind of year that could lead the former roofer and slaughterhouse worker to imagine that someone is spritzing the air around him with a giant bottle of perfume.
"The way things have been going recently, it's as if...
| Oct 13, 2011
| 9:13 AM
The late John Updike once opined that we are all "trapped in solitary confinement inside our own skins." We can't ever really know what someone else is feeling, no matter how hard we try or how desperately she or he wants us to. Our unique souls are...
| Jul 30, 2011
Henry James once opined that the two most beautiful words in the English language are "summer afternoon." I would like to edit James — alas, who wouldn't? — and bestow the most felicitous phrase award upon the words "summer reading."