Books & Fiction

Reading 21st Century American War Stories: Heroes, Hell, and Back

Kara Krauze

The 21st century in America has been permeated by war, almost from the start; even while most of America’s citizens remain unaffected—directly anyway—by its vicissitudes.  We need a literature that can begin to convey the multiplicities of war: the adrenaline; the sweat and blood; the isolation; the brotherhood; the memories and questions; and the return home. We need a narrative for America’s 21st century wars, and yet no single narrative will suffice.

Franz Kafka and the Politics of a Novel

Karolina R. Swasey

While Kafka emerged as one of the most significant and widely read modern authors in the US and Western Europe right after the Second World War, his works were ostracized and banned throughout the entire domain of the “Real Socialism,” which sprawled out from Moscow to the border of East-Berlin. Until its first publication in Moscow in 1965, Kafka’s Trial was merely a mysterious typescript that was secretly passed around from hand to hand, concealing the author’s name and origin. A typescript with explosive power, as it turned out. 

Walter Mosley, Countee Cullen To Be Inducted into N.Y. Writers Hall of Fame

Frederick H. Lowe

The New York  State Writers Hall of Fame will honor Walter Mosley and Countee Cullen as part of the organization's 2013 induction of eight living or deceased writers, Rocco Staino, director of the Empire State Center for the Book, which sponsors the event, tells The NorthStar News & Analysis. Mosley will be inducted into the hall fame with three living writers, including Marilyn Hacker, Alice McDermott and Calvin Trillin. Cullen, who died in 1946, will be inducted with three deceased writers.

Literary Flashback: Reading ‘Super Sad True Love Story’

Kimberly Tolleson

Proving that a dystopia can still be a fun read, Gary Shteyngart’s novel Super Sad True Love Story is set in the not-too-distant future of New York City, providing many parallels that hit disturbingly close to home. Our hero Lenny Abramov, a nerdy and overzealous 39-year-old, is a relic of the recent past: He loves reading bound books; his body, nose and hairline are not perfect; but most of all, he is striving for some authentic human connection in a world of self-absorption. 

Laurel Ann Bogen and the Healing Art of Poetry

Mark Bizzell

“Poems like this are called occasional poems and are difficult to write,” says acclaimed poet Laurel Ann Bogen, who also teaches poetry at UCLA.  “Of course, in this type of circumstance expectations are high and as a writer you are constrained by time and subject.” Writing inspiring and healing poetry is familiar to Bogen, who won the esteemed American Academy of Poets College Prize while attending the University of Southern California at only age 17 in the late 1960s.  

Author James Lasdun on the Perils of Being Stalked

Lee Polevoi

The story of how a former student turned Lasdun’s life upside-down and wreaked havoc on his marriage and career forms the backdrop for this new memoir, Give Me Everything You Have. By his own admission, Lasdun was slow to catch on to what was happening. At first he responded politely to Nasreen’s emails, only to get back increasingly bizarre messages (“You had no integrity with me” and “your kids have a future of being thought of as Nazi Germans”).  Still he hoped this was all just a bad misunderstanding.

How Electronic Publishing Democratized Authorship and Paved the Way for New Reading Habits

Gerry LaFemina

For Pietsch, and many others, the book is not going the way of the record. Shoppers could rarely listen to records before they bought them in a record store, but they can thumb through a book.  Still today book purchases are often impulse buys; therefore, people still buy traditional books. Some evidence seems to support this position.  A recent Publishers Weekly article notes that Diamond Book Distributors reported double digit gains in 2012.  Simon & Schuster reported a bump in sales in 2012.

As the Rest of Publishing Goes Digital, Coffee Table Books Remain a Print Staple

Gabriella Tutino

Nature-focused illustrated books were the status quo at the time, as Chanticleer Press continued to publish other series: Taylor’s Guides to Gardening and Mary McCarthy’s Stones of Florence. The 1960s had the Exhibit Format series, introduced by environmentalist and executive of the Sierra Club David R. Bower. Bower is credited with the idea of the “modern coffee table book,” as he wanted to create books that were similar to photography exhibits. 

Ian McEwan’s ‘Sweet Tooth’ Delves into the World of Spies and Anti-Communism

Lee Polevoi

As a storyteller, McEwan has few equals. From the novel’s opening lines—“My name is Serena Frome (rhymes with plume) and almost forty years ago I was sent on a secret mission for the British Security Service”—he draws us into the dreary world of Cold War England, circa 1974,  time of internal social and political upheaval. The story purrs along like a well-oiled machine, as Serena falls in love with Tony Canning, a married professor and much older man. The affair ends badly, though not before Canning has set her on an eventful career path with MI5. 

‘Scottish Country House’ Depicts the History of Stately Homes With Stunning Visuals

Stephen Delissio

In Scottish Country House, Knox takes you on a wonderful journey through the history of 10 houses and castles that have survived centuries in the Scottish countryside. All of these homes are largely privately owned by the original families or as part of a Scottish Trust. Not only does Knox bring you on a delightful tour through these charming houses and castles, but he also revels in the history of Scottish architecture and interior design.

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