Saturday, April 13, 2024

‘The Sympathizer’ is a tense black comedy that’s also a moving story about friendship

HBO’s adaptation of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize-winning post-Vietnam novel is the portrait of a divided people and a divided person.

Thursday, April 11, 2024


‘Teenagers are exhausting’: Teacher and author Carol Atherton on why her profession deserves more respect

The Head of English at a Lincolnshire secondary school discusses the crisis in education and her mission to make literature live for a new generation

Monday, April 8, 2024


On the Lower East Side, a corporate 'fixer' honors his Jewish roots with a unique, NYC-centric bookstore

Saturday, April 6, 2024


‘I’d love a scathing review’: novelist Percival Everett on American Fiction and rewriting Huckleberry Finn

His work triumphed at the Oscars, but the Booker-shortlisted author isn’t interested in acclaim. He talks to the Guardian about race, taking on Mark Twain and why there’s nothing worse than preaching to the choir

Friday, April 5, 2024


How to shop in used-book stores: 14 tips from a bibliophile

Bring a flashlight and expect to get dirty. Michael Dirda, a connoisseur of used-book stores, shares his shopping tricks.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Monday, April 1, 2024


A very bad year for press freedom 

Russia’s year-long detention of Evan Gershkovich is one part of a very grim picture for journalism.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Here’s the brand new cityReader #69. I’m late putting this one out. (It always puts the second page first. You can enlarge the pages with your fingers.  Tap them.)

Sunday, March 24, 2024

HE’S JUST IN A SMALL DIVINITY SCHOOL in the early pages I’m in now. It’s around 1960; he’s maybe 20. It’s inspiring to read about his focus and determination. Gandhi is an influence. Injustice is what drives him though. 

Thursday, March 21, 2024


He didn’t know what a sonnet was. Now he’s won a major poetry prize.

Ajibola Tolase has been awarded the Cave Canem Prize, putting him in a storied literary lineage

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Jonathan Kozol Fought School Inequality for Decades. Here’s One Final Plea.

With his latest, and last, book, the 87-year-old writer refuses false optimism.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024


Keith Haring brought art to the streets. Did he sell out in the process?

Brad Gooch’s new biography, ‘Radiant,’ captures the life of the iconoclastic artist who helped to define 1980s New York before dying at 31

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Calvin Trillin on the golden age of American reporting

A collection of work by a giant of New York journalism is both a joy and a lesson, particularly on objectivity and its limits

Friday, March 8, 2024


Tracing the sprawling, complicated boundaries of ‘LatinoLand’

Marie Arana’s new book draws on her own experience and hundreds of interviews with others who have contemplated the meanings of Latino identity

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Why Evan Gershkovich Is on the Cover of TIME

We set out to tell the story of his arrest and imprisonment, and its impact on his family, friends, and co-workers in the months to follow.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024


The Freaks Came Out to Write review – how the Village Voice changed American journalism

Tricia Romano’s entertaining oral history of the radical New York newspaper is an elegy to a rough and ready era of punch-

Saturday, March 2, 2024

LAST WEEK ONE MORNING on Chambers Street where I hold my sign a Black woman I’d seen before stopped and talked and as she left said Thank You and raised her arm high in her shiny black puffy coat and made a fist and exclaimed ‘Power To The People!’

Thursday, February 29, 2024


ABOUT CARSON McCULLERS in the latest ‘New Yorker’. Photo by Richard Avedon. Makes you want to read her again. (The magazine is rumpled and a little rain-dropped from carrying it around.)

Sunday, February 25, 2024


Ms. Zhang standing at a long table full of full books. Behind her, books fill the shelves.

Émigrés Are Creating an Alternative China, One Bookstore at a Time

From Thailand to America, Chinese denied a safe public space for discussion in their home country have found hope in diaspora communities.

Thursday, February 22, 2024


What's Behind the Return of Bookstores? Just when you thought that Amazon had finished off brick and mortar stores, booksellers are making comeback. Yes, there's lots of available, low-cost, retail space. But the retail outlets are filling a bigger need.

Saturday, February 17, 2024



At Harvard and elsewhere, an old falsehood is capturing new minds.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Need a Reading Partner? Dog-Ear These Cool NYC Literary Gatherings and Book Clubs

Don’t forget your bookmark.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024


The ‘Into the Wild’ Bus Was a Pilgrimage Site in the Wilderness. Can it Hold Up in a Museum?

The rusty coach where Chris McCandless spent his final days captured the imagination of people all over the world and inspired hundreds of seekers to make dangerous treks to reach it. Now a dedicated team of curators in Alaska have given it new life as a fascinating exhibit—one that tells the story not just of McCandless, but of modern Alaska.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

John Lewis finally gets a full biography
. Raymond Arsenault’s ‘John Lewis: In Search of the Beloved Community’ documents the life of the ‘Conscience of Congress’ in detail

Saturday, February 3, 2024


Cast as Criminals, America’s Librarians Rally to Their Own Defense

As libraries become battlegrounds in the nation’s culture wars, their allies are fighting to preserve access to their collections and keep themselves out of jail, or worse.

Saturday, January 27, 2024


No one knows what ‘creative nonfiction’ is. 

That’s what makes it great.

In ‘The Fine Art of Literary Fist-Fighting,’

Lee Gutkind traces the fuzzy boundaries.

Monday, January 22, 2024


How Gen Z and millennials in the US have an unlikely love affair with their local libraries

Why might Gen Z and millennials – sometimes characterised as attention-addled homebodies – still see value in trips to the public library?

Saturday, January 20, 2024

I BOUGHT THIS YESTERDAY. On a lark. I liked the look of it. And the blurbs. I couldn’t sleep last night. I got up and read the first 30 pages. It’s as exciting as when you got a record album that changed your life. It’s a huge deal. After I got it home I noticed that it won the Pulitzer Prize. There you go. 

Friday, January 19, 2024


FIVE LITERARY CRITICS enlivening the art of book criticism

Some say that literary critics have lost touch with modern readers—but not us. From Zadie Smith to George Saunders, these critics continue to refresh the form