Reading for My Life


Book Description

Right up until his death in 2008, John Leonard was a lion in American letters. A passionate, erudite, and wide-ranging critic, he helped shape the landscape of modern literature. He reviewed the most celebrated writers of his age—from Kurt Vonnegut and Joan Didion to Toni Morrison and Thomas Pynchon. He championed Morrison’s work so ardently that she invited him to travel with her to Stockholm when she accepted her Nobel Prize. He also contributed many pieces on television, film, politics, and the media, which continue to surprise and impress with their fervor and prescience. Reading for My Life is a monumental collection of Leonard’s most significant writings—spanning five decades—from his earliest columns for the Harvard Crimson to his final essays for The New York Review of Books. Here are Leonard’s best writings—many never before published in book form—on the cultural touchstones of a generation, each piece a testament to his sharp wit, fierce intelligence, and lasting love of the arts. Definitive reviews of Doris Lessing, Vladimir Nabokov, Maxine Hong Kingston, Tom Wolfe, Don DeLillo, Milan Kundera, and Philip Roth, among others, display his passion and nearly encyclopedic knowledge of literature in the second half of the twentieth century. His essay on Ed Sullivan and the evolution of television remains a classic. Throughout Leonard’s reviews and essays is a dedicated political spirit, pleading for social justice, advocating for the women’s movement, and forever calling attention to writers whose work challenged and excited him. With an introduction by E. L. Doctorow and remembrances by Leonard’s friends, family, and colleagues, including Gloria Steinem and Victor Navasky, Reading for My Life stands as a landmark collection from one of America’s most beloved and influential critics.




Blasphemous Modernism


Book Description

Scholars have long described modernism as heretical or iconoclastic in its assaults on secular traditions of form, genre, and decorum. Yet critics have paid surprisingly little attention to the related category of blasphemy--the rhetoric of religious offense--and to the specific ways this rhetoric operates in, and as, literary modernism. United by a shared commitment to the word made flesh, writers such as James Joyce, Mina Loy, Richard Bruce Nugent, and Djuna Barnes made blasphemy a key component of their modernist practice, profaning the very scriptures and sacraments that fueled their art. In doing so they belied T. S. Eliot's verdict that the forces of secularization had rendered blasphemy obsolete in an increasingly godless century (a world in which blasphemy is impossible); their poems and fictions reveal how forcefully religion endured as a cultural force after the Death of God. More, their transgressions spotlight a politics of religion that has seldom engaged the attention of modernist studies. Blasphemy respects no division of church and state, and neither do the writers who wield it to profane all manner of coercive dogmas--including ecclesiastical as well as more worldly ideologies of race, class, nation, empire, gender, and sexuality. The late-century example of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses affords, finally, a demonstration of how modernism persists in postwar anglophone literature and of the critical role blasphemy plays in that persistence. Blasphemous Modernism thus resonates with the broader cultural and ideological concerns that in recent years have enriched the scope of modernist scholarship.




Sitcom


Book Description

The form is so elemental, so basic, that we have difficulty imagining a time before it existed: a single set, fixed cameras, canned laughter, zany sidekicks, quirky family antics. Obsessively watched and critically ignored, sitcoms were a distraction, a gentle lullaby of a kinder, gentler America—until suddenly the artificial boundary between the world and television entertainment collapsed. In this book we can watch the growth of the sitcom, following the path that leads from Lucy to The Phil Silvers Show; from The Dick Van Dyke Show to The Mary Tyler Moore Show; from M*A*S*H to Taxi; from Cheers to Roseanne; from Seinfeld to Curb Your Enthusiasm; and from The Larry Sanders Show to 30 Rock. Each sitcom episode is a self-enclosed world, a brief overturning of the established order of its universe before returning to the precise spot from which it had begun. In twenty-four episodes, Sitcom surveys the history of the form, and functions as both a TV mixtape of fondly remembered shows that will guide us to notable series and larger trends, and a carefully curated guided tour through the history of one of our most treasured art forms. Saul Austerlitz is the author of Another Fine Mess: A History of the American Film Comedy, named by Booklist as one of the ten best arts books of 2010, and Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video from the Beatles to the White Stripes. His work has been published in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Slate, and elsewhere.




Britannica Book of the Year 2013


Book Description

The Britannica Book of the Year 2013 provides a valuable viewpoint of the people and events that shaped the year and serves as a great reference source for the latest news on the ever changing populations, governments, and economies throughout the world. It is an accurate and comprehensive reference that you will reach for again and again.




The Book of Other People


Book Description

A stellar host of writers explore the cornerstone of fiction writing: character The Book of Other People is about character. Twenty-five or so outstanding writers have been asked by Zadie Smith to make up a fictional character. By any measure, creating character is at the heart of the fictional enterprise, and this book concentrates on writers who share a talent for making something recognizably human out of words (and, in the case of the graphic novelists, pictures). But the purpose of the book is variety: straight "realism"-if such a thing exists-is not the point. There are as many ways to create character as there are writers, and this anthology features a rich assortment of exceptional examples. The writers featured in The Book of Other People include: Aleksandar Hemon Nick Hornby Hari Kunzru Toby Litt David Mitchell George Saunders Colm Tóibín Chris Ware, and more Read Zadie Smith’s newest novel, Swing Time.




Writing for Pleasure


Book Description

This book explores what writing for pleasure means, and how it can be realised as a much-needed pedagogy whose aim is to develop children, young people, and their teachers as extraordinary and life-long writers. The approach described is grounded in what global research has long been telling us are the most effective ways of teaching writing and contains a description of the authors’ own research project into what exceptional teachers of writing do that makes the difference. The authors describe ways of building communities of committed and successful writers who write with purpose, power, and pleasure, and they underline the importance of the affective aspects of writing teaching, including promoting in apprentice writers a sense of self-efficacy, agency, self-regulation, volition, motivation, and writer-identity. They define and discuss 14 research-informed principles which constitute a Writing for Pleasure pedagogy and show how they are applied by teachers in classroom practice. Case studies of outstanding teachers across the globe further illustrate what world-class writing teaching is. This ground-breaking text is essential reading for anyone who is concerned about the current status and nature of writing teaching in schools. The rich Writing for Pleasure pedagogy presented here is a radical new conception of what it means to teach young writers effectively today.




The multicultural Midlands


Book Description

The multicultural Midlands is a unique, interdisciplinary study of the literature, music and food that shape the region’s irrepressible, though often overlooked, cultural identity. It is the first of its kind to give serious critical attention to a part of the world which is frequently ignored by readers, critics and the culture industries. This book makes a claim for the importance of the Midlands and evidences this with nuanced close reading of a multitude of diverse texts spanning so-called ‘high’ to ‘low’ culture; from the Black Country’s ‘Desi Pubs’, to Leicester’s ‘McIndians’ Peri Peri (‘you’ve tried the cowboys, now try the Indians!’); Handsworth’s reggae roots to Adrian Mole’s diaries.







Theology of My Life


Book Description

This book is an autobiographical memoir. It tells the story of how God prepared me for the work of theology during childhood and during my schooling at Princeton, Westminster, and Yale. It focuses on those events that shaped my theological convictions and led me to develop my distinctive emphases in theology, apologetics, and philosophy. It seeks to honor God's providence in leading me from one point to another in my life as a son, husband, father, theologian, apologist, and churchman. My goal in the book is to show how one's theological convictions are products, not only of logic and reasoning, but also of the events of one's life and the people one interacts with.