| Mar 13, 2011
| 4:44 PM
A few months back, Salon book critic Laura Miller posted an essay titled “Why must a novel’s characters be likable?” that was spurred by her reading of Jonathan Franzen’s widely heralded and exhaustingly debated novel Freedom,...
| 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...
| 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....
| 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.
| Sep 26, 2011
In a 2008 debate, former ABC News broadcaster Charlie Gibson asked Barack Obama about his support for raising capital gains taxes, given the historical record of government losing net revenue as a result. Obama persevered: "Well, Charlie, what I've said...
| 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...
| 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...
| 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...