| 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...
| 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...
| 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...
| 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....
| 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...
| 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...