| Dec 13, 2009
Ben Hecht used Oscars for doorstops and routinely heaped scorn on the studio pontiffs who, throughout the 1930s and 1940s, paid him an average of $3,500 a day. Before he co-wrote "The Front Page," the play that brought him fame and opportunity, before...
| Jun 21, 2009
The Essays of Leonard Michaels
Farrar, Straus & Giroux: 206 pp., $26
Until Leonard Michaels was 5 and learned English in school, he spoke only Yiddish in the Lower East Side enclave where his Polish-Jewish parents raised him. And maybe...
| Aug 30, 2009
" 'I must not,' said Jane, 'think of rats.' And proceeded to think of them as hard as she could." Bland, boring sentence, right? When I tell class after class of writing students that this one sentence -- plucked many decades ago from a children's book...
| Jan 20, 2010
Erich Segal, a Yale University classics professor whose first novel, the weepy "Love Story," became a pop-culture phenomenon, selling more than 20 million copies in three dozen languages and spawning an iconic catchphrase of the 1970s, died Sunday in...
| Mar 29, 2009
Patrick White, the first great novelist to come out of Australia, was born in 1912, won the Nobel Prize in 1973, died in 1990 and his work promptly dropped from fashion. His style of narrative-driven psychological modernism seemed outmoded, perhaps,...
| Sep 28, 2009
"The Confessions of Edward Day"
By Valerie MartinVintage, $15.95, 304 pages
"Let the Great World Spin"
By Colum McCann
Random House, $15, 400 pages
Cities have served as one of the great subjects of fiction from Balzac to Dickens to Saul Bellow, and a...
| Nov 8, 1992
At first glance, Diane Johnson, author of six novels, two biographies and a book of essays, isn't the usual image of a Western heroine. Or at any rate, she seems more the schoolmarm than the pioneer woman behind the plow. For years Johnson taught...