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.”

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.