“Anyone who reads independently and spiritedly is going to carry an eclectic canon around in his head,” writes Christian Wiman. “That is half the fun of it all.” For the past five years or so, I have had the responsibility of coming up with the novels to put on the Century’s list of Christmas picks for fiction. At first I was baffled by this job. Did I have to read every new book?
Reading fiction has done more to baptize my imagination, inform my faith and strengthen my courage than any prayer technique has.
The title of Nathaniel Philbrick’s slim new meditation foregrounds the questions at the heart of every assignment made by every English teacher: Why read this book? Or that book? For that matter, why do we assign reading in the first place?
Amy Waldman's debut novel asks us to take a long look at our post-9/11 selves and be disappointed.
At a book signing, Steve Earle was speaking when someone leaned on a light switch and the windowless room went dark. "Did I die?" Earle asked in a quiet voice.
Douglas Alan Walrath's astute survey of American novels about clergy is essential reading for budding pastors—as well as for anybody who wants to understand why we American clergy are the way we are.
Franzen has turned his considerable novelistic talents to a kind of inquisitorial examination of the American ideal of freedom. He shows how freedom is negatively construed—focused on what we are free from and not on what freedom might be for, what worthy ends it might be used to pursue.
A critic once called Clyde Edgerton the "love child of Dave Barry and Flannery O'Connor"—a reflection of the fact that his novels are both dark and funny.