| 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...
| Oct 21, 2011
| 8:52 AM
A good anthology is like a dartboard in a crowded bar on a Saturday night. Everybody lines up to take their best shot. Everybody wants the chance to squint, aim and let fly.
The more august and monumental and definitive-seeming the anthology —...
| Nov 3, 2011
| 10:19 PM
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...
| Dec 21, 2012
| 1:16 PM
Learning last year that Bob Boone, one of my former teachers at Highland Park High School (never mind when), was still teaching creative writing to children and adults filled me with the kind of joy you get when you return to your hometown decades later...
| Aug 12, 2012
The Way the World Works
Simon & Schuster: 319 pp., $25
Nicholson Baker's new book, "The Way the World Works," is a miscellany: a collection of 34 essays originally published in...
| 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"...
| 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...
| Sep 21, 2012
| 4:15 PM
Arguing over poetry's cultural relevance is a little like debating the potential effects of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, says Poetry magazine editor Christian Wiman. “For many people, poetry will remain remote,...
| Sep 23, 2012
"A poet," Louis Simpson once wrote, "should wish for enough unhappiness to keep him writing."
Simpson may not have wished for trouble, but he kept writing for 60 years — spare, powerful poems about war, infidelity, suburban alienation and other...
| 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...
| Oct 12, 2012
| 9:27 AM
The prospect of interviewing Don DeLillo produces a certain anxiety. DeLillo, one of the most heralded American novelists of the past 40 years, has a reputation for being inaccessible, emotionally and otherwise. While by no means a recluse like J.D....