Monthly Archives: December 2014

Best Books of 2014

No blog about books would be complete without a year-end “best of” list. For me, the best are “books that I am most likely to read again.”  For fiction, I predict that I will turn to Donna Tart’s The Goldfinch many times in the years to … Continue reading

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“Those who merely write, or talk, about literature . . . should be humble in their judgments and prepared to defer to the comments of those who actually make the stuff.”

The word “humble” is not the first word I’d use to describe the tone of the academic articles that I read for a living.  John Sutherland — highly respected and cited  in the US and the UK — writes with … Continue reading

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“August is huge and blue, a glittering gemstone curving dangerously at either end into what precedes and follows it.

One afternoon about twenty years ago, someone on NPR read the poem “On the Island” by Elizabeth Spires.  I was driving my car, and I was so moved that I almost went into the ditch. This poem is infused with … Continue reading

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“She’d realized that she was now, always had been, and always would be a watcher…”

I admire young novelists who have something interesting to say about the world. I enjoy middle-aged novelists who share their complex lives with us. But most of all, I cheer for writers like Martha Woodroof, who, at age 67, has … Continue reading

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