Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels Of Our Nature

Although I’ve styled this section of my blog “Book Reviews,” I’ve thus far eschewed any kind of rating system, and, with few exceptions, have generally tended to offer unqualified praise to the books I’ve been reading. This is, I hope, […]

George Saunder’s CivilWarLand In Bad Decline

George Saunders is an unlikely candidate for celebrity, and not merely because he is a writer. Soft-spoken and self-deprecating, dark and humorous all at once, he is a writer of nightmares, worlds peopled with ghosts and mutants that are nonetheless […]

Karl Marx’s Dispatches For The New York Tribune

Few historical and political figures inspire ire and admiration quite like Karl Marx. While he lived, he was a tireless social critic, exposing the hypocrisies of governments and ministers and shining a light on the glaring social injustices of his […]

Wisława Szymborska’s Poems New And Collected

I have to begin by thanking my aunt Sandra, both for recommending Wisława Szymborska to me, and for the gifting of this book. Wisława Szymborska (I have given up attempting to pronounce her name) was a Polish poet, born in 1923 […]

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is The Night

Francis Scott Fitzgerald completed Tender Is The Night in 1934, six years before a heart attack took his life prematurely, to the surprise of no one who was familiar with his drinking habits. It was his last finished novel. His correspondence up […]

Thomas Paine’s Common Sense

In the history of the written word, few documents have proven more incendiary than Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense.” Published anonymously in January of 1776, at the very beginning of the American Revolution, Paine’s pamphlet was a call to arms that […]

Alan Turing

It was learning about Alan Turing’s life and death that inspired me to create this section in recognition of those people who have contributed positively to our advancement as a species without their due of public accolades or historical renown. […]

John Cheever’s The Wapshot Chronicle

The Wapshot Chronicle was John Cheever’s first published novel and established many of the themes he would become known for: the disconnect between a character’s private and public life, the sense of community fostered by small towns vs. the anomie and […]

William Hazlitt’s Selected Writings

William Hazlitt was a 19th century political radical, art and theater critic, amateur philosopher and lover of literature. He is also widely considered one of the greatest essayists to ever live, a judgement that jars uncomfortably with the fact that […]

Philip Roth’s Sabbath’s Theater

Roth has a talent for provocation, amply testified to in his superb and uproarious Portnoy’s Complaint, and honed to devastating effect in Sabbath’s Theater. First, in the interests of intellectual honesty, a caveat: I abhor those critics who cannot honestly confront a […]