| Jan 16, 2011
New & Selected Stories
Lookout Books: 374 pp., $18.95 paper
I'll confess: I had never heard of Edith Pearlman before reading "Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories," a collection of 34 pieces of her short fiction...
| 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...
| Nov 30, 2011
The Age of Movies
The Selected Writings of Pauline Kael
Edited by Sanford Schwartz
Library of America, $40
Witty, entertaining and often exhilarating, this wide-ranging collection of pieces captures the film critic at her best.
| Jun 19, 2011
The Summer of the Bear
Atlantic Monthly Press: 441 pp., $24
There's magic at the margins of Bella Pollen's wind-swept novel "The Summer of the Bear"; the kind only a child can see, the kind that turns out to be real. When Nicky...
| Feb 15, 2012
| 1:58 PM
On Sunday, Feb. 19, "The Simpsons" marks an extraordinary feat -- its 500th episode.
The characters, which began as droopier versions in 20-second cartoons on "The Tracey Ullman Show," have evolved, as creator Matt Groening and star Dan Castellaneta...
| Feb 18, 2012
| 8:46 AM
February 18 is a day to celebrate, because it was on February 18, 1885, that Mark Twain published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the definitive American novel.
Ernest Hemingway famously said, "All modern American literature comes from one book by...
| 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."
| 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...
| 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....
| Oct 16, 2011
The Art of Fielding
Little, Brown: 528 pp., $25.99
In terms of conjuring a shorthand for a certain American innocence, there are few delivery systems quite so direct as baseball. Touched on by a library's worth of authors...
| 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...