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In Vino Veritas…? (06/14)
The list is long: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Marcel Proust, Charles Baudelaire, Jack London, F Scott Fitzgerald, Philip K. Dick, Edna St. Vincent Millay, O. Henry, William Burroughs, Ken Kesey, Jack Kerouac, Dorothy Parker, Tennessee Williams…and many more. American writers Eugene O'Neill, Sinclair Lewis, Ernest Hemingway,...
The Family Pen (06/14)
Talent seems to flow through families. Bach's sons became important composers in their own right, and one, Johann Christian, was considered by Mozart to be one of his musical fathers. Twice Nobel laureate Marie Curie was the mother of Irene Joliot-Curie, who herself won the Nobel in chemistry in 1935. Philosopher and novelist Mary ...
Five Things You Might Not Know About Neil Gaiman (06/14)
  1. Before he began to write novels that would earn him public recognition, Gaiman wrote comic books and graphic novels. The Sandman graphic novels (1989-1996), initially published by D C Comics and later by Vertigo, were particularly...
Forough Farrokhzad, An Icon In The History Of Persian Literature (06/14)
One of the most compelling and tragic characters in And The Mountains Echoed is a beautiful, intelligent woman named Nila. She's modern and independent, and feels trapped by Afghani society but eventually moves to Paris where she becomes a poet of some renown. This made me curious about other women poets from similar backgrounds, in ...
Javier Marías (05/14)
'A veces escribo para averiguar qué escribo' (Sometimes I write to discover what I write). So says Javier Marías—native of Madrid, and highly acclaimed novelist who has been widely tipped as a potential candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Marías is a translator (to Spanish) of authors such as Faulkner, Yeats,...
Jules Verne: A Man Ahead of His Time (03/14)
February 8, 2013 would have been Jules Verne's 185th birthday. The acclaimed author is considered the father of science fiction and wrote many novels, some of the most well-known being Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon, and, of course, Around the World in Eighty Days ...
American Expat Writers in Paris (03/14)
The period between the two World Wars was one of thriving creativity for many artists, and Paris with its bohemian lifestyle, its recognition of artists, and vibrant social life offered plenty of enticements to American writers. The fact that the United States passed Prohibition laws in 1920, banning the sale of alcohol, didn't hurt the ...
Famous Literary Spats (03/14)
When famous figures spar, their words become part of the public record, particularly when those quarrelling are popular writers.

Ernest Hemingway, for example, was notorious for his antagonistic relationship with many of his contemporaries. While once close, he had a disagreement with his mentor Gertrude Stein over their differing ...
Ibsen's A Doll's House (02/14)
It was the door slam that reverberated around the world. In 1879, Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen, published the famous play A Doll's House. The play, in three acts, revolves around Nora Elman, who balances a delicate secret while trying to save her marriage. Eventually the secret is revealed as is the nastiness of her husband. Sick of...
An Early Career as a Geophysical Engineer (02/14)
George Saunders is well known for his inventive use of language; perhaps his willingness to explore and exploit the forms and function of language derives in part from his earlier career, as a geophysical engineer. Saunders credits his early exposure to the works of Ayn Rand (some of the first fiction he recalls reading) with his decision...
L. Jagi Lamplighter (01/14)
L. Jagi Lamplighter spent 15 years writing, re-writing, and revising her Prospero's Daughter trilogy before the first volume was published in 2009. In an article entitled 'A Writer's Odyssey,' she describes her journey from hopeful writer to published author. Another article, 'All About the Wonder,' explains why Ms. Lamplighter writes ...
Fiction as Social Catalyst (01/14)
In 2012, Susan Nussbaum won the PEN/Bellwether for Socially Engaged Fiction. This award, which was established in 2000 by Barbara Kingsolver, was created to 'promote fiction that addresses issues of social justice and the impact of culture and politics on human relationships.' The award is given to an author of a not yet published novel ...
Who Speaks For Me? (01/14)
Hamlet says, at the opening of Shakespeare's play:

O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!

By the final act, he says:

...

Alice Munro's Canada (12/13)
Alice Munro was born in Wingham, Ontario, a small town that is close to the shores of Lake Huron. This region of southern Ontario is west of Toronto and east of Michigan, and includes the industrial cities of London and Windsor, though much of the land is countryside. While Munro did occasionally live in Vancouver, most of her life has ...
Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea (12/13)
Anne Morrow Lindbergh is, of course, the aviator's wife in the new novel of the same name by Melanie Benjamin. She is also the author of the widely acclaimed book, Gift from the Sea, which was first published in 1955. Anne Lindbergh wrote it while in Florida, on Captiva Island, and she used the shells on the beach – as a metaphor ...
Sebastian Faulks's French Connection (11/13)
It's no surprise that Sebastian Faulks might consider himself a Francophile. After all, a good number of his 14 books are set (or at least partially set) in France, including his three most famous novels, known as the 'French trilogy': The Girl at the Lion d'Or; Birdsong; and Charlotte Gray, which in 2001, was made into a movie starring ...
Amy McNamara (11/13)
Amy McNamara is a Midwesterner who moved to Brooklyn where she lives with her husband, the artist Doug McNamara, and their two children.

She has an MFA in Poetry and was published first as a poet, but was a writer of prose before all of that. At eight she wrote her first story about a cricket hanging onto the hood ornament of her ...
BookBrowse Interview with Jim Crace (11/13)
Harvest seems to be set in an era when English society is evolving from use of land to grow crops to enclosed pastures for animals. What about this specific time period did you find compelling as a setting for your novel? Could it have been set in any other time and place?
The time period isn't all that specific, in fact. I wasn't ...
Roddy Doyle (11/13)
Born in 1958 in Dublin, Roddy Doyle is a prolific Irish writer who has found over two decades-worth of material in the humorous, tender, and fraught life of the family. Americans may be most familiar with Doyle's wise-cracking dialog and its lilting Dublin intonations from the popular film adaptations of his Barrytown Trilogy: The ...
Thinkers Whose Theories are Critical to Burkeman's The Antidote (11/13)
The Antidote introduces readers to numerous intriguing thinkers, past and present. Here is a short sampling with brief introductions:

Daniel Wegner – professor of psychology at Harvard and director of the Mental Control Laboratory at the University. Wegner's studies concentrate on what he calls 'the precisely counterintuitive ...
The Impetus for and Implemenation of A Free Man (10/13)
A Free Man is journalist Aman Sethi's first book. It grew out of a research project and interviews he conducted in 2005 as research for an article about healthcare for homeless workers. In an August 2012 Publisher's Weekly interview, Sethi explains why he chose to write his book:

When I started as a reporter in 2005, I was surprised by ...

Arvid Jansen: A Familiar Face (10/13)
In It's Fine By Me, on his first day at Veitvet School in 1965, 13-year-old Audun Sletten meets Arvid Jansen – a young man who would become his best, and one of his only, friends. 'A few girls were skipping rope, and coming straight towards me was a boy on crutches… I glanced left and right, but there was no one else by the ...
The World of Fanfiction (10/13)
In Fangirl, Cath's story is interspersed with snippets of her fan fiction (or 'fanfic') starring characters who, in Cath's world, are as well known as Harry Potter is in ours. This hugely popular (primarily online) genre of amateur writing is inspired by existing fictional characters, settings, and themes.

Writers of fanfic are part of...
Google's Books Project (10/13)
I don't think it's giving too much away to note that the process of book scanning plays a significant role in the plot of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. At the center of the novel's plot is the high-speed book scanning process used by Google in its Books project.

Setting aside any of the controversy around Google Books and ...
A Look at A. S. King (09/13)
Amy Sarig King was born in Reading, PA in 1970. No, I won't go into lots of detail about her younger years, suffice it to say she is a Pisces and, as she says, she 'believes in that stuff.' I will say that as a child she spent a good deal of time in her 'office' (aka her closet) staying up late and reading books.

King did not go to ...
What Defines Dystopian Fiction (09/13)
Dystopian themes have appeared in literature throughout history, but the first use of the word is credited to John Stuart Mill. In 1868, during a speech to the British House of Commons, he played upon the well-known word, 'utopia' (adding 'dys,' which is derived from a Greek word meaning 'bad') and used it to criticize legislators who ...
Wendell Berry (09/13)
Wendell Berry is a writer of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and editorial, as well as a cultural critic and a farmer. Frances O'Roark Dowell's The Second Life of Abigail Walker begins with an epitaph taken from one of his poems. Berry lives in north central Kentucky on a 125-acre farm called Lane's Landing. The intersection of humanity and ...
The Real Life Battle That Claire Vaye Watkins Was Born Into (08/13)
Readers will notice immediately that the narrator of Claire Van Watkins's opening story, 'Ghosts, Cowboys,' shares a name with the author. This isn't an accident. The story, which is about a young woman trying to outgrow the legacy of her past, is Watkins's own. 'About once a year someone tracks me down,' she says. 'Occasionally it's...
Stav Sherez (08/13)
Stav Sherez is the author of four books of crime fiction. He was born and raised in London and has persevered with his lifelong ambition to write novels despite the challenges found in the book business today. In his case this meant facing multiple rejections until he found the right agent and publisher.

His official author bio is one ...
The Asian American Writers' Workshop (07/13)
In The Collective, the characters Eric Cho, Joshua Yoon, and Jessica Tsai form a shaky coalition called the 3AC - Asian American Artists Collective. A similar organization was founded in New York around twenty years ago: The Asian American Writers' Workshop.

This non-profit organization works to spread the growth of literature by ...
Nancy Pearl's Book Lust Rediscoveries Series (07/13)
Nancy Pearl has a librarian action figure created in her likeness. You know she must be a dynamic, popular person with that kind of claim to fame!

And she is. A librarian and bookseller for years, Pearl's knowledge of and passion for books are both wide and deep. She loves books – this is clear – and she is dedicated to ...
Tom Wolfe (07/13)
Tom Wolfe was born on March 2, 1931 in Richmond, VA. He was editor of his high school newspaper and sports editor of his college newspaper. His college professor of American Studies, Marshall Fishwick, stressed looking at the entirety of a culture including its profane aspects. Wolfe's books show how much he took this to heart.

After ...
Andrew Lang's Fairy Books (06/13)
As readers enjoy Enchanted, they're exposed to dozens of fairy tale-inspired plot points, some of which are instantly recognizable while others are less familiar. For readers who are inspired to go back to the source of these stories, there are few better resources for fairy tales of all sorts than Andrew Lang's famous Fairy Books.

...
How Long Does it Take for a Manuscript to Find a Home? (06/13)
Sometimes, I think, we are under the magical assumption that a writer has an idea, writes a story, then an editor at a publishing house acquires it, and it is published. Four clean, clear steps in a straight forward-moving line.

Sigh. Maybe I should revise that we to an I.

I am a fiction writer. And my process is – well –...
Dr. Vincent Lam Tells his Grandfather's Story (05/13)
Although Dr. Vincent Lam was born in Canada, he is 'of the expatriate Chinese community of Vietnam.' Lam is an emergency physician in Toronto, as well as a lecturer with the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. Other medical jobs have included international air evacuation and expedition medicine on ...
The Novels of Anna Quindlen (05/13)
Anna Quindlen's memoir Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake has received rave reviews from BookBrowse readers, but it is just one of her many beloved books; check out the list below for more information on her novels:

Every Last One (2010): Mary Beth Latham is first and foremost a mother, whose three teenaged children come first, ...
What is Noir? (05/13)
Emily St. John Mandel's writing includes essences of old-fashioned noir. But what is noir? 'Roman noir' is a French expression that literally translates as 'black novel.' Historically, the term was used to describe Gothic novels set in the UK, however, its contemporary usage refers to an American invention - the hardboiled thriller. ...
Kevin Powers, the Poet (05/13)
Kevin Powers started writing poems and stories at about the age of 13. He began writing poetry about war a year or two after his discharge from the Army as a way to process his own experiences while in Iraq, and eventually decided to take classes to develop his talents. Powers graduated in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in English from ...
The Short Life of Siobhan Dowd (04/13)
The seed for A Monster Calls came from Siobhan Dowd (pronounced sh-vawn), a gifted writer who earned critical and popular success for her young adult fiction and received much praise for her work speaking out against censorship. She brought authors into underprivileged schools, made literature accessible to children around the globe, and ...
Three New Zealand Authors of Note (03/13)
The Memory of Love is mainly set in New Zealand where Swedish author Linda Olsson spends half the year. She spends the other half in her native Sweden. Olsson's novels have enjoyed worldwide readership, something, she says that most New Zealand authors rarely experience. There are brilliant New Zealand writers, Olsson says, whom many in ...
Antigone and The Watch: A Comparison (03/13)
The Greek classic, Antigone (written by Sophocles around 440 BC, based on the older Theban legend), serves as the basis for the modern-day Afghan war story, The Watch. Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya makes no attempt to hide the fact and even invites comparisons, titling two chapters 'Antigone' and 'Ismene' after the two sisters in the tragedy. ...
Howard Frank Mosher and The Kingdom (03/13)
The place with which Howard Frank Mosher is most associated is not actually his native home. Born in the Catskill Mountains in 1942, he moved to Vermont's 'Northeast Kingdom' (or as he calls it, 'The Kingdom') as a newlywed in 1964 to take up his first teaching post. According to the NEK (Vermont's Northeast Kingdom) website, The ...
Food Writers (03/13)
In An Economist Gets Lunch, Tyler Cowen frequently references writers who have shaped the way people think about the culinary arts. These writers are not chefs, but critics who look at the role food plays in modern society. The field has grown so popular that there are actually specialist courses teaching the art of food writing. ...
A Message of Hope from King Peggielene Bartels (02/13)
In an inspirational letter to readers, Peggielene Bartels (aka King Peggy) outlines her goals as the new King of Otuam, Ghana. She begins by stating that:

An important part of my mission as King of Otuam is to bring empowerment to women. I truly believe that the future of Africa lies in the hands of its women... My main mission is...

An Interview with Ramona Ausubel (02/13)
In a thoughtful and personal interview, BookBrowse reviewer Kim Kovacs talks with Ramona Ausubel, debut author of No One is Here Except All of Us:

It seems like you hit a mental roadblock after researching your family history, mired in facts that wouldn't form into a novel. In an interview with Penguin you said that you 'got closer...
A Literary Inspiration: Ernest J. Gaines (01/13)
In a letter to readers, Wiley Cash describes what it was like working with the inspirational Ernest J. Gaines at a fiction workshop in Lafayette, Louisiana. He writes:

I began writing A Land More Kind Than Home while working on my Ph.D. at the University of Louisiana, where I spent five long years sweating, celebrating Mardi Gras, ...

Socialist Realism (01/13)
The fictional character of Bruno Krug gained international fame with a literary blockbuster The Orphans of Neustadt, but when we meet him at the beginning of his story, he is busy writing simple stories - called the Factory Gate Fables - about life in Actually Existing Socialism. These stories represent typical literature in the U.S.S.R ...
Naomi Benaron Talks With Deborah Levy (01/13)
Naomi Benaron, whose Bellwether Prize winning first novel, Running the Rift, is set during the Rwandan genocide, chats with Deborah Levy about her latest novel, Swimming Home.

Naomi: First, I would like to congratulate you on all your honors for Swimming Home: shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly ...
R.J. Palacio's Inspiration for Wonder (12/12)
Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

This is Auggie's statement on page one of Wonder about the appearance of his face. R.J. Palacio (whose real name is Raquel Jaramillo... Palacio is her mother's last name) makes a very conscious choice not to explore Auggie's disfigurement head-on, and I think it's a good one. Instead, she...
Hemingway's Leading Ladies (11/12)
Paula McLain's novel, The Paris Wife, centers on the relationship between Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Elizabeth Hadley Richardson. However, over the course of his life (1899-1961) Ernest Hemingway married four different women, each unique and interesting in her own right:

Elizabeth Hadley Richardson: Born on November 9, ...
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