1956 -- Ten North Frederick

Ten North Frederick, published midway through John O’Hara’s thirty-five-year career was his greatest popular and critical success. In his New Yorker review, St. Clair McKelway described the new book as the best evidence so far that O’Hara was a “born novelist,” one whose “single purpose [is] to say ‘This is what happened’ and ‘This is how it came about.’” O’Hara took great pride in these remarks, citing them in a letter written several years later as being “decisively important to me.” Perhaps too much pride: among the evidence which O’Hara’s biographers and critics offer to show his high self-regard is a very similar boast in his acceptance speech for the National Book Award:

…since 1934 I have been publishing novels and books of short stories in which I told as honestly as I could what I have seen, thought, and felt a good many of the men and women who populate this country…. I have written so accurately and honestly that my overall contribution will have to be considered by future students of my time.

Perhaps fearing that the future students might need reminding, O’Hara composed a similar epigraph for his tombstone: “Better than anyone else, he told the truth about his time, the first half of the twentieth century. He was a professional. He wrote honestly and well.”

July 22: On this day in 1941, on his twelfth wedding anniversary, Eugene O'Neill presented the just-finished manuscript of Long Day's Journey into Night to his wife, Carlotta.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
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).

Watching Them Be

What makes a film actor into a larger-than-life movie star? James Harvey's passionate, freewheeling essays explain why there are some faces (from Greta Garbo's to Samuel L. Jackson's) from which we cannot look away.


What if you called up the spouse on the verge of leaving you -- and instead found yourself magically talking to his younger self, the one you first fell for?  Rainbow Rowell, author of the YA smash Eleanor & Park, delivers a sly, enchanting take on 21st-century love.