New Books Network

Cynthia Wachtell, “War No More: The Antiwar Impulse in American Literature, 1861-1914” (LSU Press, 2010)
My favorite book as a teenager (and in fact the only book I ever read as a teenager) was All Quiet on the Western Front. I liked it mostly for the vivid scenes of trench warfare. Teenage boys love that stuff (or at least I did). But even then I... Read More
Charles J. Shields, “And So It Goes. Kurt Vonnegut, A Life” (Henry Holt, 2011)
The public image of Kurt Vonnegut is that of a crusty, irascible old man. Someone with whom one would want to drink, but never ever fall in love. The Vonnegut we meet in Charles J. Shields’s insightful new biography, And So It Goes. Kurt Vonnegut: A Life (Henry Holt, 2011),... Read More
Rosamund Bartlett, “Tolstoy: A Russia Life” (Houghton Mifflin, 2011)
I vividly recall a time in my life–especially my late teens and early twenties–when I thought I could be anyone but had no idea which anyone to be. For this I blame (or credit) my liberal arts education, which convinced me that there was really nothing I couldn’t master but... Read More
Gregory Nagy on Homer’s “Iliad”
In this installment of Faculty Insight, produced in partnership with Harvard University Extension School, ThoughtCast speaks with the esteemed Harvard classicist Gregory Nagy about one of the earliest and greatest legends of all time: Homer’s epic story of the siege of Troy, called “The Iliad.” It’s a story of god-like... Read More
Tom Perrotta on Flannery O’Connor
[Re-posted with permission from Jenny Attiyeh’s ThoughtCast] Tom Perrotta, the esteemed author of Little Children, Election, The Abstinence Teacher and the recently published novel The Leftovers (St. Martin’s Press, September 2011) speaks with ThoughtCast about a writer who fascinates, irritates and inspires him: Flannery O’Connor.  His relationship with her borders on kinship, and he admires and admonishes her as... Read More
Alan Jacobs, “The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction” (Oxford UP, 2011)
In his new book, The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction (Oxford University Press, 2011), Alan Jacobs, Clyde S. Kilby Chair Professor of English at Wheaton College, discusses the state of reading in the United States. Where some would argue that there are too few people doing the... Read More
Evander Lomke and Martin Rowe, “Right Off the Bat: Cricket, Baseball, Literature & Life” (Paul Dry Books, 2011)
Last spring’s Cricket World Cup was a major global event. Estimates of the television audience for the final matches ranged from 400 million to one billion, while the website ESPNcricinfo.com had an average audience, throughout the entire 43-day tournament, of 72,000 people per minute. But for most American sports fans,... Read More