History and criticism
Jan 24, 2013 — Ali Smith's new book, Artful, began as a series of lectures on comparative literature, given at Oxford last year. The lectures have been given a fictional shell, the story of an unnamed narrator finding a cache of essays in the study of her dead lover. Reviewer John Wilwol calls Artful "superb."
Jan 16, 2013 — The National Book Critics Circle has announced that two feminist literary scholars, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, will receive a lifetime achievement award. Critic Maureen Corrigan says their groundbreaking 1979 book, The Madwoman in the Attic, changed the way we read.
Dec 22, 2012 — On subjects familiar (Beethoven's Fifth) and obscure (notoriously tight-lipped cult artists), our favorite writing about music dove deep and showed us new ways to love the sounds in our lives.
Dec 1, 2012 — "Ours is not a bloodline, but a text line," say father-daughter author team Amos Oz and Fania Oz-Salzberger. Their new book, Jews And Words, explores the significance of text in the Jewish tradition. "For thousands of years, we Jews had nothing but books," Oz says. "They became part of the family life."
Nov 27, 2012 — In fiction, Paula McLain explores Hemingway's first marriage, while Anita Desai re-examines modern India. In nonfiction, Joseph Epstein defends gossip, Rosamond Bernier remembers midcentury Paris, and Stuart Isacoff lauds the piano.
Oct 21, 2012 — Apart from the obvious stardom of The Beatles, one of the things that makes Abbey Road Studios unique is the diversity of the music recorded there. From becoming the world's first-ever custom recording studio to facing an era of low-budget self-recording, Abbey Road "continues to push boundaries."
Sep 6, 2012 — Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story, a biography of writer David Foster Wallace, debuts at No. 10.
Jul 4, 2012 — Henry Louis Gates Jr. is perhaps best known for his research tracing the family and genetic history of famous African Americans. A selection of his writings on race, politics and culture appear in The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Reader. Originally broadcast May 8, 2012.
Jun 28, 2012 — Maureen McLane's experimental essay collection, My Poets, blends her academic and intellectual experiences with the poetry that has inspired her. The NYU professor tells her story through a series of reflections on poets from Chaucer to William Carlos Williams.
Jun 26, 2012 — Anthony Heilbut's essay collection, The Fan Who Knew Too Much, features reflections on the Queen of Soul, soap operas and Jewish immigrants. The highlight of this sometimes harsh collection, says Michael Schaub, is a history of LGBT contributions to gospel.