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Category: LitStack Recs

Category: LitStack Recs

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LitStack Rec: The Portable Veblen & Wait Till Next Year

The Portable Veblen, by Elizabeth McKenzie By way of Anne Lamott, we know the novelist Ethan Canin once remarked, “Nothing holds a story together better than a likable narrator.” Lamott went further (in the slim but influential memoir of writing, Bird by Bird), that a likable narrator is comparable to someone you love spending time […]

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LitStack Rec: Stoner & Cradle to the Stage

Stoner, by John Williams John Williams’ 1965 novel went out of print after selling only 2,000 copies, but since its re-release by Vintage in 1995, this novel of a Midwestern academic’s insular life has appeared on bestseller lists in Europe and Israel, and has since sold over 100,000 copies. Stoner seems at first an unlikely […]

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LitStack Rec: Central Station & Green Thoughts

Central Station by Lavie Tidhar It’s kind of hard to describe Lavie Tidhar’s Locus- nominated, Clarke-shortlisted book Central Station. It’s definitely science fiction. Absolutely futuristic. Sometimes surreal and sometimes quite practical. But it’s also decidedly unique, a touch bizarre, evidencing a future Earth that is both believable and terrifying in its nonchalance. Central Station, rising […]

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LitStack Recs: Passage to Ararat & War for the Oaks

Passage to Ararat, by Michael J. Arlen “It’s a dangerous business,” writes Clark Blaise in this book’s introduction, “going into the underworld of history and ethnicity to discover one’s father, yet it seems one peculiar duty in our time of identity politics.” The observation is an apt one in which to begin Michael J. Arlen’s […]

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LitStaff Recs: The Empathy Exams & Three Parts Dead

The Empathy Exams: Essays, by Leslie Jamison The Empathy Exams blends memoir, literary, cultural and moral investigation, and its essays are rich, astute, and candid. This is Jamison’s second book (following a 2011 novel The Gin Closet), winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize that went on to the New York Times bestseller list. Jamison […]

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LitStack Recs: Books About Actors and Film & Ancillary Justice

As the summer film season approaches, here are three books—a memoir, a novel, and a book-length interview—that offer a look behind the camera. Spielberg, Truffaut and Me: An Actor’s Diary, by Bob Balaban Spielberg, Truffaut and Me: An Actor’s Diary was published in 2002, and it’s a fascinating look behind the curtain of how the […]

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LitStack Rec: How to Grow Old Disgracefully & Life on Mars

How to Grow Old Disgracefully: An Autobiography, by Hermione Gingold If you’re a fan of classic films, say, Vincente Minnelli’s 1958 musical, Gigi, or classic stagings of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, you already know Hermione Gingold, the earthy actress with the husky voice and wicked sense of irony. Otherwise, Gingold is likely a mystery, […]

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Litstack Recs: Anna May Wong & The Hatred of Poetry

Anna May Wong: From Laundryman’s Daughter to Hollywood Legend, by Graham Russell Gao Hodges Don’t be misled by the tabloid nature of the title. Hodges’ biography is a meticulously researched and carefully constructed account of one of early cinema’s most notable icons. You could be forgiven for not knowing the work of Anna May Wong, […]

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LitStack Rec: Changing My Mind & Hunger Makes the Wolf

Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays, by Zadie Smith This collection of essays came about by accident, Zadie Smith tells us in the foreword, but the voice and curiosity behind it makes this read seamless and satisfying. My hope, as a reader of essays, is to learn something, whether the topic is snow camping or religious […]

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LitStack Recs: Crash Course & Ninefox Gambit

Crash Course: essays from where writing and life collide, by Robin Black The third book from short story writer and novelist Robin Black collects her recent essays, many of which first appeared on the great, and sadly erstwhile literary blog, Beyond the Margins. Crash Course, subtitled essays from where writing and life collide, is aptly […]