| 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...
| 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...
| 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 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-...
| 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...
| 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...
| 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...
| 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.