The ambiguities of race resonate in ‘Passing’

I wanted to read a classic of African-American literature during February and the solution was found when the New York Times Style Magazine’s T Book Club chose Passing (1929) by Nella Larsen as its monthly selection. The slim novel — really more of a novella — is set in the 1920s and explores the practicalContinue reading “The ambiguities of race resonate in ‘Passing’”

The Three Investigators get their start in this children’s classic

With a reluctant helping hand from film director Alfred Hitchcock, no less The Secret of Terror Castle is the first case for the Three Investigators — aka Jupiter Jones, Pete Crenshaw and Bob Andrews, teenage boys living in Southern California circa 1964. Mastermind Jupiter has recently won a contest that earned him 30 days ofContinue reading “The Three Investigators get their start in this children’s classic”

Classic ‘Mother Night’ resonates all these years later

Vonnegut could not have known how his homegrown Nazi theme would play out in the 21st century We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Howard W. Campbell Jr., the narrator of Vonnegut’s brilliant 1966 novel Mother Night, is pretending to be a Nazi —Continue reading “Classic ‘Mother Night’ resonates all these years later”

Have dog, will travel

John Steinbeck hits the road in ‘Travels With Charley’ In 1960 at the age of 58, Steinbeck had already published his last novel (although he didn’t know it), and had less than a decade to live (which he also didn’t know but probably suspected). He was restless, a feeling exacerbated by having spent the pastContinue reading “Have dog, will travel”

Read it before you see it

Long before it was a movie, ‘The Goldfinch’ cast a spell on its readers With the recent release of a major motion picture based on Donna Tartt’s runaway bestseller, I thought it would be worthwhile to revisit my initial review of the book. This review was originally written in 2014. Wow, what a sprawling, magnificent,Continue reading “Read it before you see it”