Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Books

Chris Wiman's Christmas picks

A couple of years ago I ordered a book by Jen Hadfield on the strength of a vividly disgusting couplet I came across somewhere or other: “Under the broiler / turned sausages ejaculate.” (That’s turned as in forgotten and rotting—Hadfield’s idiom is Scottish, as are her eye and ear.) The book was strong, but Byssus (Pica­dor), her new collection, is even stronger.

Books

Chris Hoke's Christmas picks

Two months ago my wife and I walked downtown to see Mr. Holmes, with Sir Ian McKellen playing an aging version of the science-conquers-superstition Sherlock Holmes. I found myself crying in the dark as McKellen’s trembling, frail Sherlock struggled in his final years to solve one final mystery: why a woman he almost loved took her own life.

Books

Thomas Lynch's Christmas picks

I recommend Bonnie Jo Campbell’s Mothers, Tell Your Daughters (Norton), a selection of short stories about mostly hardscrabble, down-market women in southwestern lower Michigan. Campbell makes fiction look easy.