Displaying articles for: September 2012

"A Squint Into the Future"

Laurie Halse Anderson, the bestselling author of Speak (a National Book Award Finalist and Edgar Allan Poe Award Finalist) talks with Karen Hesse, MacArthur "Genius" Fellow  and author of Safekeeping, a haunting look at a near-future America with chilling overtones of a political dystopia.

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Yok

Welcome to Mollisan Town, a burg like many another literary venue, full of citizens rich and poor, honest and criminal, loving and mean, where odd and exotic events occur with life-changing regularity. You'd recognize the commingled noir and magic-realist lineaments of the place from books by Jorge Amado and Jeff VanderMeer, from movies like Chinatown and Pan's Labyrinth. Except for one thing. The inhabitants of Mollisan Town are animate stuffed animals. Yes, creatures of cloth and wool batting, fur and buttons, fabricated in factories before being delivered to their designated natal homes, who nonetheless manage paradoxically to eat and breathe, feel, and die.

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The Way the World Works

Nicholson Baker is a scant three years younger than I, and so I expect he feels generationally much the same way about the high quality of E. B. White's essays. Confirmation of my hypothesis arrives in his new book, The Way the World Works, where he achieves superb results on a par and simpatico with White's sturdy, eternal, captivating prose. (Another obvious and acknowledged influence is John Updike.) Such striving and accomplishment surely could not have arisen without the influential vision of the shining essayistic temple built by White on Mount Parnassus. But now White needs to scoot over slightly on his Parnassian throne to accommodate Baker's sacred rump.

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July 29: On this day in 1878 Don Marquis was born.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.

Pastoral

When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).