Review of “All That Is.”

My review (in time for the paperback) of James Salter’s All That Is was in Sunday’s (May 24) paper. I’m sure it will migrate online soon. All That Is is a great book for writers, but may have less interest for those of us more inclined just to read, rather than create ourselves. It struck me when […]

The More Mercilessly They Are Served Up.

Great essay by Updike biographer Adam Begely on how John Updike pulled his fiction from the facts of his life: No one was spared: not his parents, not his two wives, not his four children—as he conceded in Self-Consciousness, he exempted himself from “normal intra-familial courtesy.” Or, more bluntly: “the nearer and dearer they are, the more […]

Reconsidering Updike.

Louis Menand’s review/essay of Adam Begely’s new Updike biography is fascinating: The most persistent and mindlessly recycled criticism of Updike’s work is that he was infatuated with his own style, that he over-described everything to no purpose—that, as several critics put it, he had “nothing to say.” But Updike wasn’t merely showing off with his […]

Anxiety is Omnivorous; or, Can Reading Ever Be Bad For You?

I would recommend  this fantastic piece over at Guernica. It’s about the anxiety of the writer Daniel Smith, which prompts many questions about anxiety generally. Somehow I missed this one (it was published a little less than a month ago). But it’s a must-read. Smith has written about anxiety for the New York Times and has a forthcoming […]