All Book Think Articles

Books, covered and uncovered

  • Walt Whitman, Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Afterlife

      The smallest sprout shows there is really no death, And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it, And ceas'd the moment life appear'd.   All goes onward...

  • Is Thornton Wilder God?

    People are not talking enough about The Bridge of San Luis Rey. No question, it’s a well-respected novel: it won the Pulitzer in 1928 and came in at #37 on the MLA’s list of “100 Best Novels of the Twentieth...

  • Bradbury, Borges, and the Future of Media

    Who knew that Jorge Luis Borges, the great Argentine fiction writer and maestro of high literary culture, was a Martian Chronicles fan? Now that you know, doesn’t it seem fitting? In Borges’s Selected Non-Fictions...

  • Can Fiction Improve Us? Yes, That's What It's For

    In the midst of an intense meditation on Walt Whitman in his Studies in Classic American Literature, D. H. Lawrence suddenly proclaims: The essential function of art is moral. Not aesthetic, not decorative, not...

  • In Memoriam: Paul Fussell (1924–2012)

    I’d like to add to the recent wave of eulogies in honor of Paul Fussell, poetry and culture critic, veteran of the Second World War and author of a classic study on the First, who died this past week at age 88....

  • From “Do I Dare?” to “Yes, We Can!”: Young Obama and T. S. Eliot

    I’ve read nothing more heartwarming recently than the excerpts from young Obama’s love letters in the new Vanity Fair. The glow they exude has nothing to do with romance and everything to do with nostalgia....

  • On the Return of "Mein Kampf" to Germany

    The copyright on Mein Kampf, Hitler’s infamous 700-page anti-Semitic rant, is scheduled to expire in 2015. Fearing an onslaught of neo-Nazi editions, the Bavarian state has decided to reprint the book in Germany...

  • Could St. George's Day Save the Book Industry?

    With bookstores vanishing, the Pulitzer committee skimping on Pulitzers, and the Amazon dragon twining its bright yellow coils around every publisher on Earth, the book industry finds itself in dire peril. But lo!...

  • The Joys of Sex, Springtime, and the Song of Songs

    It’s a wonderful oddity—I hesitate to say “coincidence”—that the best erotic poem in literary history should appear smack dab in the middle of the Bible. The Song of Songs (known also as the Song of Solomon or...

  • The New "Google Glasses" Ad: Some Version of Hell

    Google's "augmented reality" glasses are upon us, complete with stylish company codename ("Project Glass") and Orwellian rhetorical judo: "People I have spoken with [i.e., Google employees] who have have seen...

  • The Role of the Novelist: How Jonathan Franzen Won the Book Publicity Game

    I can still vividly remember reading, back in 2001, the New York Times Magazine write-up on the release of The Corrections. It began:  Some days, Jonathan Franzen wrote in the dark. He did so in a spartan...

  • The Man Who Died for Poetry

    A Q&A With Christian Wiman, Translator of Stolen Air When Osip Mandelstam died at age 47 in a Siberian work camp under the Stalin regime, he became one of twentieth-century poetry's most famous martyrs....

  • Why We Still Badly Need James Baldwin

    “It is a sentimental error, therefore, to believe that the past is dead; it means nothing to say that it is all forgotten, that the Negro himself has forgotten it. It is not a question of memory. Oedipus did not...

  • Book Think Miscellany: Reader Feedback, Holden, Jane Eyre

    Dear Readers, For the weekend, a few miscellaneous notes: If there's ever a book you'd like to see covered on Book Think, please feel free to drop me a note in the comments. Suggestions regarding "classic"...

  • Is Holden Caulfield Obnoxious?

    You already know where you stand on Holden Caulfield. Either you found him a kindred spirit in your youth and continue to sympathize with him—less blindly, more wistfully—as you age; or else you found him a whiner...

  • Science Fiction and the Technology of Irony

    Working at Big Think was a constant kick in the pants of my imagination. As a writer, I couldn’t have asked for a job that provided more and stranger ideas to play with. This was true across all the fields the...

  • A Poem For the Day After Valentine's Day

    It’s February 15th, and while some readers may have woken up this morning in a haze of romantic bliss, others will have spent the day asking their pets where it all went wrong.  This poem is for the second...

  • World War I Belongs to Literature Now

    Reading last week about the death of Florence Green, Women's Royal Air Force member and last surviving veteran of the First World War, I thought of a sonorous passage by Borges: In a stable lying almost in...

  • Deadpan Sexy: Anne Carson's "Eros the Bittersweet"

    Anne Carson writes books that refuse to be just one thing. Autobiography of Red is a verse novel framed as a work of classical scholarship; fittingly, its hero is a hybrid, part ancient monster and part modern...

  • Philip Larkin, Sentimentalist?

    Once in a great while, I write something that's too long to fit comfortably in a blog post. This week one of those pieces, an essay on the notorious and beloved British poet Philip Larkin, is up over at Open...