Best of Times, Worst of Times

America's first Gilded Age produced Mark Twain, Henry James, Willa Cather, and a flock of other notables. Will our current climate of economic imbalance, ruinous vanity, joyous nihilism, and wild-eyed millennialism produce a similar wealth of literary talent? Only posterity can say for sure. But this volume of stories from such luminaries as Junot Diaz, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Walter Mosley sets the bar admirably high.

July 23: Jessica Mitford died on this day in 1996.

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