Book Review: A Free Life by Ha Jin

Some contend that the term literary fiction is so overused and broad, it now amounts to little more than a name for a recent genre. And if you’re an illiterati like me, you might consider literary fiction to be like pornography — I can’t define it but “I know it when I see it.” Applying […]

Book Review: Dangerous Laughter: Thirteen Stories by Steven Millhauser

A number of the characters in the short stories that comprise Steven Millhauser’s Dangerous Laughter: Thirteen Stories don’t look at others straight on or are even hidden in darkness. That seems appropriate. Millhauser’s work tends to present a view of parts of life and the human experience that most others don’t see or for which […]

Book Review: The Ten-Cent Plague by David Hajdu

Many people believe the U.S. is in a mess. But the history David Hajdu recounts in his latest book might provide a handy scapegoat: comic books. Stop and think about it. For nearly two decades, the men in the Oval Office — and even longer for Congress — have been of the generation that grew […]

Book Review: This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust

Mind-numbing. That’s the only way to describe the casualties from America’s Civil War. For example:

An estimated 620,000 soldiers died between 1861 and 1865, roughly the same number as in the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War combined.

While […]