THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING LITTLE

Written for anyone who cares about preschool education in this country, The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups offers terrific insights into the world of children—the delight of imaginative play, the allure of nature, the power of emotion. I read this book in the company of my own children, ages 5…

THE BLACK PRESIDENCY

In a recent Salon interview, Georgetown University professor and political analyst Michael Eric Dyson asked, “[H]ow do you carry out a criticism of those with whom you disagree without losing your humanity or questioning theirs in the process?” He answers his own question in The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in…

UNDER THE INFLUENCE

For better or worse, Joyce Maynard is best known for her memoirAt Home in the World, which chronicled (among other things) a year-long love affair Maynard had with J.D Salinger when she was 18 and the reclusive Catcher in the Rye author was 53. It should be added, however, that Maynard has slowly but surely…

THE ART OF CHARLIE CHAN HOCK CHYE

In The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, author and illustrator Sonny Liew masterfully juxtaposes history and fiction—so much so that at first I couldn’t tell the difference! This genre-bending graphic novel follows the story of fictional cartoonist Charlie, now in his 70s, and his art, beautifully rendered in contrasting styles to add to the…

VERSION CONTROL

Dexter Palmer’s second novel, Version Control, is the kind of rich, multilayered book that often feels like it is raising more questions than answers. The first is the question of exactly what type of book it is: Is it a deeply personal story of a marriage and the human condition, or is it a cerebral…

LIT UP

“Together and alone, we need literature as the California valleys need rain,” muses David Denby, author of Great Books (1996) and staff writer for The New Yorker. But, he wondered, in an age of texting and tweeting, are teens still reading complex literary works? And can an appetite for serious reading be developed in high…