15 books
  • A Death in the Family

    James Agee

    I was around the corner from my usual library branch when I finished The Stranger’s Child and felt that I should get another book in my hands promptly. Since reading Let Us Now Praise Famous Men last year, I’d never o...more

  • The Stranger’s Child

    Alan Hollinghurst

    I haven’t read any of Hollinghurst previous novels, but I’ve been told they involve contemporary gay men having lots of sex, and therefore you may not feel comfortable reading them on the subway. At his Bookcourt reading forThe Stranger’s Child, he used the phrase “...more

  • Good Mail Day

    Jennie Hinchcliff & Carolee Gilligan Wheeler

    The news about the USPS a few weeks ago was dire, so I bought some new stamps (I recommend a couple panes of the...more

  • You Think That’s Bad

    Jim Shepard

    The most frequent comment I see about Jim Shepard’s writing is that he attacks such a wide variety of worlds, in terms of places and places in time. It seems to go against the “write what you know” commandment passed down to aspiring writers, except each story feels convincingly accurate; he is apparently able to research well and...more

  • Consider the Lobster

    David Foster Wallace

    After reading Infinite Jest two years ago, I didn’t become a DFW fanatic, settling instead for a measured respect for a writer who manages to be incredibly brilliant and hilarious at the same time. I’ve been meaning to get to this collection of essays,...more

  • Invisible

    Paul Auster

    By writing about myself in the first person, I had smothered myself and made myself invisible, had made it impossible for me to find the thing I was looking for. I needed to separate myself from myself…

    Paul Auster is one of those writers with one extremely well-known book — most likely you...more

  • Austerlitz

    W.G. Sebald

    A bit too elegiac of a novel for the early summer, Austerlitz is still worth any potential struggles in making it through the endless paragraphs — at times as much as twenty-five pages long. The character, and really the voice of the book, Jacques Austerlitz meets the nameless narrator as they are both appreciating the...more

  • Let the Great World Spin

    Colum McCann

    I was drawn to this book based on its setting in 1970s New York City, specifically set around the day Philippe Petit made his World Trade Center tightrope walk; curiously the tightrope interludes in the book felt mostly unnecessary and distracting. The shorter sections that only...more

  • A Visit from the Goon Squad

    Jennifer Egan

    There is some semantic debate whether this is a collection of stories involving the same characters or a multilinear novel, but either way you decide to categorize it, the book involves one network of characters over a long period of time. The beginning skips back and forth in the past until a certain point where it charges into the future — ...more

  • The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

    Lydia Davis

    I picked up All the King’s Horses as a break from this and found that a longer narrative really hit the spot. Afterward I decided to finish up the stories in the section I was reading here and come back to the rest of the collection later, only to discover somewhat disappointingly...more