| 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 —...
| Feb 14, 2011
| 11:54 AM
"Lastingness: The Art of Old Age"
By Nicholas Delbanco
Grand Central Publishing, 261 pages, $24.99
Six years ago, during one of my summer writers' workshops, I found myself presented with a young man who was already (at the ripe age of 12) a world-...
| Jul 22, 2011
| 12:41 PM
A boy moves away from his small-town central Illinois home after his father murders a tenant farmer. Years later, an occasional childhood playmate ignores the boy in a high school corridor. Out of that awkward, wordless moment emerged "So Long, See You...
| Jun 22, 2012
| 4:26 PM
Sometimes Dave Eggers' accomplishments off the page can eclipse his literary talent. He has launched an energetic network of tutoring centers for young readers and writers —including Chicago's 826CHI — and established an innovative, socially...
| Jan 4, 2012
When it comes to sportswriting, I tend to subscribe to George Plimpton's small-ball theory: The smaller the ball, the better the writing about the sport. This has a lot to do with my own biases (I'm a baseball fan, not much interest in basketball or...
| Dec 11, 2010
Yellow shoes are the only giveaway. Without them, Steve Martin's just another New Yorker in a somber gray coat, braced against the coming winter, out Christmas shopping for his wife; just another writer with a new book he will see in the window of...
| Sep 25, 2011
So there's my name, on Page 1 of "Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles Art, 1945-1980," the Getty's massive overview catalog for its monumental effort to get Southern California modern art into the heretofore New York-centric history of American modernism....
| Jul 8, 2012
Why Does the World Exist?
An Existential Detective Story
Liveright: 310 pp., $27.95
"How old is the Universe?" Kurt Vonnegut asked in his 1973 novel "Breakfast of Champions." "It is one half-second...
| 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...
| Oct 1, 2010
| 4:34 PM
In Sunday’s Arts & Books, Times book critic David L. Ulin visits with Philip Roth, whose 31st book, the novel "Nemesis" -- which involves a polio epidemic in 1940s Newark, N.J. -- comes out Tuesday. During the conversation, Roth touched......
| Oct 10, 2010
| 4:33 PM
At the end of the calendar year, bookstores are swamped with anthologies proclaiming the "best of" writing of the year. There is, apparently, a lot of really good writing: above is just a sample of the galleys and paperbacks that......