| 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."
| Dec 7, 2012
| 12:12 PM
Shortly before he died, John Updike paid tribute to that great painter of portraits, John Singer Sargent. “We're drawn to artists who tell us that art is difficult to do, and takes a spiritual effort, because we are still puritan enough to respect a...
| Dec 7, 2012
| 12:13 PM
Every journalist's nightmare is the interview with the subject who responds to questions with one-sentence (or even one-word) answers. Fortunately, the writer Nathan Englander — who was in Chicago recently as the inaugural Crown Speaker Series...
| 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...
| 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...
| 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...
| 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 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....