Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

When Gothic Meant Weird

Forget what you think you know about the Gothic, Twilight fans. In Wieland, one of the first novels published in America, Charles Brockden Brown wrote a tale of mental disturbance, familial murder and spontaneous combustion that remains deeply strange and forbidding. READ MORE >

Monday, April 27th, 2009

A Spark of Hunger

Simone Weil wrote of a divine being whose relationship to us is defined by absence and separation. In the essays and personal letters that make up Waiting for God, she outlines a theology that fully embraces pain and suffering. READ MORE >

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Critical Revival

Wilfrid Sheed was arguably the best critic and essayist of his generation, writing timeless, incisive, often hilarious pieces about Hemingway, Salinger, Mailer, himself, and many others. He brought the same skill to his fiction, but most of his work is mystifyingly out of print. READ MORE >

Monday, April 6th, 2009

The Master On His Medium

Stephen King is a household name, but his 1981 exploration of the horror genre, Danse Macabre, is not. Covering everything from film to literature to radio, it surveys the world of horror with the sharp eye of a critic and the fluttering heart of a fan. READ MORE >

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

The Ruined World

Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker is set more than 2,000 years in the future, when much of human knowledge is a dim memory and civilization is being rebuilt from scratch. Why you may not know one of the 20th century’s best works of post-doomsday fiction. READ MORE >

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Freeways, Taquitos, Stravinsky, and Speed

Los Angeles has inspired many famous writers, from Raymond Chandler to Joan Didion. But few have captured the city as authoritatively and affectionately as the relatively unknown Eve Babitz, whose sharp, hysterical 1974 memoir, Eve’s Hollywood, traffics in “an elegant and elevated form of gossip.” READ MORE >

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

A Rare Witness

The Vietnam War produced a long shelf of great books, but none quite like Michael Herr’s Dispatches. On assignment for Esquire, he ended up writing a brilliant, shell-shocked work that stands beside Heart of Darkness. His chronicle of the terrors and the twisted joys of war is still relevant 32 years later. READ MORE >