Literary Wives: The “Happy” Marriage?

The ironic title The Happy Marriage (2016), a novel by Tahar Ben Jelloun, is not as ironic as it seems. On the surface, “that’s the weak point of our marriage: the lack of happiness!” (p. 108). While the narrative from the perspective of an old artist, who has had a stroke, is about his “horrible... Continue Reading →

My Best Friends’ Favorite Books

I love and admire many people, too many to include in this one post. This is a list of my best friends' favorite books. I wanted to know what they love. (I may continue this series with more friends in the future.) Ron (my dad): Beach Music by Pat Conroy Nayeli: Utopia by Thomas Moore... Continue Reading →

Tearing Off Book Spines?

In early January, I visited Austin, Texas, for a national conference in my field. I had a few job interviews for assistant professor positions while there, and I ate a lot of good food. But today I wanted to pose this question: should you rip the spines off of books? I saw this in a... Continue Reading →

Oh My

We finished reading Lord of the Flies (1954), number 49 on the BBC book list, by William Golding. I read it to my 11-year-old daughter, who has been recovering from a tonsillectomy and an adenoidectomy this week. I've read it before, but I had forgotten most of it. Oh my. I feel a loss of... Continue Reading →

Full Shelves

I'm visiting a university today as part of the job process in finding an assistant professor position in an English department. I have some free time until my next appointment, and the department I'm visiting has kindly set me up in an office. This office is full of books. It is distracting. I'm trying to... Continue Reading →

On My Bookshelf, No. 13

To see previous posts in this series, click here. This is my bookshelf. Here is a snippet of what’s on it, ten at a time.   A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943) by Betty Smith All the Little Live Things (1967) by Wallace Stegner Angle of Repose (1971) by Wallace Stegner Crossing to Safety (1987)... Continue Reading →

On My Bookshelf, No. 12

To see previous posts in this series, click here. This is my bookshelf. Here is a snippet of what’s on it, ten at a time. We Were the Mulvaneys (1996) by Joyce Carol Oates Wise Blood (1952) by Flannery O'Connor The Book of the City of Ladies (circa 1405) by Christine de Pizan Good-bye, I... Continue Reading →

Chaos Is Better Than Order

I don’t even know where to begin in describing and reviewing All the Light We Cannot See (2014) by Anthony Doerr. It is a sweeping and gorgeous novel about Germany and France during World War II. In some ways, it is "just" another one of those novels capitalizing on the horror and tragedy of our... Continue Reading →

Bleeding in Books

I just started reading The Girl on the Train (2015) by Paula Hawkins. Immediately, I noticed a line that made me wonder, as it does in any other book. Every time I read about somebody biting themselves or clenching their fists hard enough to make themselves bleed, I am skeptical. I mean, I understand that... Continue Reading →

On My Bookshelf, No. 11

To see previous posts in this series, click here. This is my bookshelf. Here is a snippet of what’s on it, ten at a time. Linden Hills (1985) by Gloria Naylor Mama Day (1988) by Gloria Naylor The Women of Brewster Place (1982) by Gloria Naylor Fire in the Blood (2007) by Irène Némirovsky Suite... Continue Reading →

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