Reader's Diary: July 2008

Brooke Allen on Charles Strouse?s Broadway memories, and more. Read more...

Reader's Diary: First Impressions

This month, Brooke Allen looks at debut novels and historic introductions. Read more...

Reader?s Diary

Brooke Allen looks at kid-lit gatekeepers and more.

Reader's Diary

Brooke Allen on Alan Bennett's intellectual comedy, Andrea di Robilant's portrait of the passing of Venetian grandeur, and more. Read more...

Elmer Gantry

Brooke Allen on Sinclair Lewis's enduring satire.

The Way of All Flesh

Brooke Allen on the strange book that brought the curtain down on the Victorian era. Read more...

A Time to Keep Silence

Brooke Allen on Patrick Leigh Fermor's glorious prose and monastic sojourns. Read more...

About the Columnist
Brooke Allen is the author of Twentieth-Century Attitudes; Artistic License; and Moral Minority. She is a contributor to The New York Times Book Review, The New Criterion, The New Leader, The Hudson Review, and The Nation, among others. She was named a finalist for the 2007 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle.

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

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

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
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.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."