| Nov 5, 2006
IN an era when droves of American writers have deserted the novel for the cozier pleasures of the confessional -- and when pouring your heart out, preferably on television, has become a national sport -- Gore Vidal remains an unlikely memoirist. Long ago,...
| Mar 23, 2008
In his 1985 breakout novel, "Less Than Zero," Bret Easton Ellis, then all of 21 years old, created young, jaded Angelenos who just didn't care about anything: They recounted cocaine scores and semi-anonymous sex in the same tone with which they lamented...
| Jan 4, 2009
"Humboldt's Gift," first published in 1975 and just re-issued (Penguin: 512 pp., $16), is both a crazy mess of a novel and an abiding testament to the vital exuberance of Saul Bellow's genius. "The book of ballads published by Von Humboldt Fleisher in the...
| Jan 27, 2009
| 7:33 PM
For David Foster Wallace, he was one of "the Great Male Narcissists." Martin Amis declared that the last section of his 1989 memoir "Self-Consciousness" was "to my knowledge the best thing yet written on what it is like to get older: age, and the only end...
| Jan 28, 2009
John Updike, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction whose novels and short stories exposed an undercurrent of ambivalence and disappointment in small-town, middle-class America, died Tuesday. He was 76.
Updike's death from lung cancer was...
| May 3, 2008
By Darin Strauss
The daunting thing, of course, is the word itself. You hear "genius," you picture Wile E. Coyote, tinkering alone in the sierras, cobbling together the rocket-powered cycle on which he will catch only trouble.
| Jun 29, 2008
| 2:47 PM
June 30, 2008
At 166 pages, "The Book of Getting Even" is a mortar shot of a novel -- the trajectory is steep, the narrative moves at tremendous velocity and the book ends with a bang. Yet it also is a bittersweet and redemptive love story, richly...
| Dec 19, 2007
| 6:21 AM
Frank Doubleday publishes Theodore Dreiser's novel that helps establish an enduring Chicago tradition: fiction in the raw, tawdry but compassionate.
Published on this date, Theodore Dreiser's "Sister Carrie" was among the most auspicious debuts in...
| Feb 2, 2008
By Richard M. Cook
Yale University Press, 452 pages, $35
'I love to think about America," Alfred Kazin, 26, recorded in his journal in February 1942. He was finishing his canonical study of modern American literature, "On Native Grounds,"...
| Sep 21, 2009
Leon Kirchner, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer of expressive, rigorous, atonal yet romantic music, died Thursday of congestive heart failure at his home in New York. He was 90.
A pianist and conductor as well as a composer, Kirchner stood somewhat...
| Oct 4, 2009
Aldous Huxley: "The Devils of Loudun" (HarperPerennial)
In 1643, an entire convent in the small French village of Loudun was apparently possessed by the devil. The convent's charismatic priest was eventually convicted of seducing the nuns in his charge...
| Oct 27, 2009
| 2:54 PM
Three experts on Buddhism join in a roundtable discussion of the history and practice of that ancient religion. They are: Dan Arnold, professor of the philosophy of religion at the University of Chicago's Divinity School, Patti Nakai, non-resident...