Books and Reading
Marcel Proust's Search for Lost Time: A Reader's Guide to the Remembrance of Things Past
Marcel Proust's Search for Lost Time
A Reader's Guide to the Remembrance of Things Past
Paperback      ISBN: 0307472329

An accessible, irreverent guide to one of the most admired--and entertaining--novels of the past century: Rememberance of Things Past. There is no other guide like this; a user-friendly and enticing entry into the marvelously enjoyable world of Proust.

At seven volumes, three thousand pages, and more than four hundred characters, as well as a towering reputation as a literary classic, Proust's novel can seem daunting. But though begun a century ago, in 1909, it is in fact as engaging and relevant to our times as ever. Patrick Alexander is passionate about Proust's genius and appeal--he calls the work "outrageously bawdy and extremely funny"--and in his guide he makes it more accessible to the general reader through detailed plot summaries, historical and cultural background, a guide to the fifty most important characters, maps, family trees, illustrations, and a brief biography of Proust. Essential for readers and book groups currently reading Proust and who want help keeping track of the huge cast and intricate plot, this Reader's Guide is also a wonderful introduction for students and new readers and a memory-refresher for long-time fans.
So We Read On: How the Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures
So We Read On
How the Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures
1st Edition    Hardcover      ISBN: 0316230073
The "Fresh Air" book critic investigates the enduring power of The Great Gatsby -- "The Great American Novel we all think we've read, but really haven't."

Conceived nearly a century ago by a man who died believing himself a failure, it's now a revered classic and a rite of passage in the reading lives of millions. But how well do we really know The Great Gatsby? As Maureen Corrigan, Gatsby lover extraordinaire, points out, while Fitzgerald's masterpiece may be one of the most popular novels in America, many of us first read it when we were too young to fully comprehend its power.

Offering a fresh perspective on what makes Gatsby great-and utterly unusual-So We Read On takes us into archives, high school classrooms, and even out onto the Long Island Sound to explore the novel's hidden depths, a journey whose revelations include Gatsby's surprising debt to hard-boiled crime fiction, its rocky path to recognition as a "classic," and its profound commentaries on the national themes of race, class, and gender.

With rigor, wit, and infectious enthusiasm, Corrigan inspires us to re-experience the greatness of Gatsby and cuts to the heart of why we are, as a culture, "borne back ceaselessly" into its thrall. Along the way, she spins a new and fascinating story of her own.
On Reading, Writing and Living with Books
On Reading, Writing and Living with Books
Paperback      ISBN: 1782272518

The London Library is the world's largest independent library. Founded in 1841 by Thomas Carlyle (in reaction to the "museum headache" brought on by the crowds in the British Museum Reading Room), it has become a haven for readers, writers and all who draw strength, solace or inspiration from the presence of books. Some of the most illustrious figures of the last two centuries have written, thought and walked there: George Eliot, Charles Dickens, E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf and many more were members.

And over time, some of these celebrated members have shared--with each other, or with an interested public--their views on the delights, challenges and joys of reading, writing and living with books.

The books in "Found on the Shelves" have been chosen to give a fascinating insight into the treasures that can be found while browsing in The London Library. Now celebrating its 175th anniversary, with over seventeen miles of shelving and more than a million books, The London Library has become an unrivalled archive of the modes, manners and thoughts of each generation which has helped to form it.

From essays on dieting in the 1860s to instructions for gentlewomen on trout-fishing, from advice on the ill health caused by the "modern" craze of bicycling to travelogues from Norway, they are as readable and relevant today as they were more than a century ago.
What We See When We Read
What We See When We Read
Paperback      ISBN: 0804171637
A San Francisco Chronicle and Kirkus Best Book of the Year

A gorgeously unique, fully illustrated exploration into the phenomenology of reading--how we visualize images from reading works of literature, from one of our very best book jacket designers, himself a passionate reader.

What do we see when we read? Did Tolstoy really describe Anna Karenina? Did Melville ever really tell us what, exactly, Ishmael looked like? The collection of fragmented images on a page--a graceful ear there, a stray curl, a hat positioned just so--and other clues and signifiers helps us to create an image of a character. But in fact our sense that we know a character intimately has little to do with our ability to concretely picture our beloved--or reviled--literary figures. In this remarkable work of nonfiction, Knopf's Associate Art Director Peter Mendelsund combines his profession, as an award-winning designer; his first career, as a classically trained pianist; and his first love, literature--he considers himself first and foremost as a reader--into what is sure to be one of the most provocative and unusual investigations into how we understand the act of reading.
Literary St. Petersburg: A Guide to the City and Its Writers
Literary St. Petersburg
A Guide to the City and Its Writers
Paperback      ISBN: 1892145375

Much of Russian literature is St. Petersburg literature: set in the city, about the city, or written by writers who lived there. For each of the fifteen profiled writers, there is a biographical sketch focusing on his or her relationship to the city and a sense of his or her work, along with a list of St. Petersburg sites associated with the writer and the literary works.

Travelers can wander through the museum where a teenage Vladimir Nabokov romanced his girlfriend and see the prison where Anna Akhmatova was inspired to write her poem about the Great Terror. They can find the statue that comes to life in Pushkin's poem The Bronze Horseman and visit the square where Crime and Punishment's murderer/hero kneels to ask God's forgiveness.

The images included are particularly striking: a photo taken in the courtroom where the young Joseph Brodsky made his electrifying defense of his credentials as a poet; a portrait of Akhmatova, a symbol of artistic integrity in the face of the most severe persecution; and documentary photographs spanning the upheavals of twentieth century Russia.

Authors included are: Anna Akhmatova, Andrei Bely, Aleksandr Blok, Joseph Brodsky, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Gogol, Daniil Kharms, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Osip Mandelstam, Vladimir Nabokov, Alexander Pushkin, Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Turgenev, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Mikhail Zoshchenko.
Waiting for the Barbarians: Essays from the Classics to Pop Culture
Waiting for the Barbarians
Essays from the Classics to Pop Culture
Paperback      ISBN: 1590177134

FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD
AND THE PEN ART OF THE ESSAY AWARD

Over the past decade and a half, Daniel Mendelsohn's reviews for The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and The New York Times Book Review have earned him a reputation as "one of the greatest critics of our time" (Poets & Writers). In Waiting for the Barbarians, he brings together twenty-four of his recent essays--each one glinting with "verve and sparkle," "acumen and passion"--on a wide range of subjects, from Avatar to the poems of Arthur Rimbaud, from our inexhaustible fascination with the Titanic to Susan Sontag's Journals. Trained as a classicist, author of two internationally best-selling memoirs, Mendelsohn moves easily from penetrating considerations of the ways in which the classics continue to make themselves felt in contemporary life and letters (Greek myth in the Spider-Man musical, Anne Carson's translations of Sappho) to trenchant takes on pop spectacles--none more explosively controversial than his dissection of Mad Men.

Also gathered here are essays devoted to the art of fiction, from Jonathan Littell's Holocaust blockbuster The Kindly Ones to forgotten gems like the novels of Theodor Fontane. In a final section, "Private Lives," prefaced by Mendelsohn's New Yorker essay on fake memoirs, he considers the lives and work of writers as disparate as Leo Lerman, No l Coward, and Jonathan Franzen. Waiting for the Barbarians once again demonstrates that Mendelsohn's "sweep as a cultural critic is as impressive as his depth."
Essays One
Essays One
Hardcover      ISBN: 0374148856

A selection of essays on writing and reading by the master short-fiction writer Lydia Davis

Lydia Davis is a writer whose originality, influence, and wit are beyond compare. Jonathan Franzen has called her "a magician of self-consciousness," while Rick Moody hails her as the best prose stylist in America. And for Claire Messud, "Davis's signal gift is to make us feel alive."

Best known for her masterful short stories and translations, Davis's gifts extend equally to her nonfiction. In Essays One, Davis has, for the first time, gathered a selection of essays, commentaries, and lectures composed over the past five decades.

In this first of two volumes, her subjects range from her earliest influences to her favorite short stories, from John Ashbery's translation of Rimbaud to Alan Cote's painting, and from the Shepherd's Psalm to early tourist photographs. On display is the development and range of one of the sharpest, most capacious minds writing today.
Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative
Meander, Spiral, Explode
Design and Pattern in Narrative
Paperback      ISBN: 1948226138

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019

One of Poets & Writers' Best Books for Writers

"How lovely to discover a book on the craft of writing that is also fun to read. . . Alison asserts that the best stories follow patterns in nature, and by defining these new styles she offers writers the freedom to explore but with enough guidance to thrive." --Maris Kreizman, Vulture

As Jane Alison writes in the introduction to her insightful and appealing book about the craft of writing: "For centuries there's been one path through fiction we're most likely to travel-- one we're actually told to follow--and that's the dramatic arc: a situation arises, grows tense, reaches a peak, subsides . . . But something that swells and tautens until climax, then collapses? Bit masculosexual, no? So many other patterns run through nature, tracing other deep motions in life. Why not draw on them, too?"

W. G. Sebald's Emigrants was the first novel to show Alison how forward momentum can be created by way of pattern, rather than the traditional arc-- or, in nature, wave. Other writers of nonlinear prose considered in her "museum of specimens" include Nicholson Baker, Anne Carson, Marguerite Duras, Gabriel Garc a M rquez, Jamaica Kincaid, Clarice Lispector, Susan Minot, David Mitchell, Caryl Phillips, and Mary Robison.

Meander, Spiral, Explode is a singular and brilliant elucidation of literary strategies that also brings high spirits and wit to its original conclusions. It is a liberating manifesto that says, Let's leave the outdated modes behind and, in thinking of new modes, bring feeling back to experimentation. It will appeal to serious readers and writers alike.

Literary Puzzle Book: 120 Classic Crosswords, Sudoku, and Other Puzzles for Book Lovers
Literary Puzzle Book
120 Classic Crosswords, Sudoku, and Other Puzzles for Book Lovers
Paperback      ISBN: 1510746234
Make a literary escape into the pages of a puzzle book
Are you bursting with literary knowledge that you'd like to put to the test? Or do you just want a moment's distraction filling in a Harry Potter- or Lord of the Rings-themed crossword puzzle, looking up the names of Charles Dickens's characters in a word search, or completing a Jane Austen sudoku puzzle?

Literary Puzzle Book, now in a large format, offers puzzles of varying difficulty levels and literary themes that will amuse, excite, and inform. This handy book features 120 craft conundrums that will keep you scratching your head over famous author pen names and obscure literary terms as you exercise your knowledge on Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Marcel Proust, Henry James, and James Joyce. These puzzles include:
  • Anagrams and cryptograms
  • Crosswords and word searches
  • Riddles and quizzes
  • Sudoku
  • And many more

For all book-loving puzzle solvers or puzzle-loving book readers, Literary Puzzle Book is the perfect avenue to unwind, or be challenged.
One for the Books
One for the Books
Paperback      ISBN: 014312420x
An absolute must-read for anyone who loves books

In Closing Time, Joe Queenan shared how he became a voracious reader to escape a joyless childhood. Now, like many bibliophiles, he fears for the books that once saved him. In One for the Books, Queenan examines the entire culture of reading and what books really mean in people's lives today. What does it suggest if a person has no books displayed in his living room? Can an obsession with reading prove detrimental to one's well being? How useful are covers in selling books? Queenan's many fans--as well as anyone who loves books and reading--will want to join him on his unforgettably funny and moving journey.