Go to just about any English department at any university, gather round the coffee pot, and listen to what one of my colleagues calls the...

I don’t know that I’ve ever read a book quite as eye-opening as Michael Oren’s Ally, the bestselling historian’s stunning new memoir of his four...

Death and Mr. Pickwick: A Novel By Stephen Jarvis Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 816 pages The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens’s first novel, published serially over 20 months in...

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision to Not Have Kids By Meghan Daum Picador, 288 pages Back in the olden days, having children was simple....

Saul Bellow moved from Chicago to Boston soon after I moved from Montreal to Cambridge in 1993 to teach at Harvard. Our proximity meant that,...

A God in Ruins: A NovelBy Kate AtkinsonLittle, Brown and Company, 480 pages You needn’t have read Life After Life, Kate Atkinson’s excellent ninth novel, to enjoy...

I. The First Sentence Often quoted but rarely understood, the first sentence of Anna Karenina—“All happy families resemble each other; each unhappy family is unhappy in...

Believer: My Forty Years in PoliticsBy David AxelrodPenguin Press, 528 pages The memoir of David Axelrod, the political consultant who helped elect Barack Obama and then...

God Help the Child: A NovelBy Toni MorrisonKnopf, 192 pages God Help the Child, Toni Morrison’s 11th novel, begins compellingly enough. A woman named Sweetness, “light-skinned,...

Honeydew: StoriesBy Edith PearlmanLittle, Brown and Company, 288 pages Edith Pearlman is 78 years old. For 47 years, she has been writing quietly gorgeous short stories....

Unchosen: The Memoirs of a Philosemite By Julie Burchill Unbound, 192 pages Julie Burchill loves the Jews, and she wants everyone to know it. The English...

Labor’s Love Lost: The Rise and Fall of the Working-Class Family in AmericaBy Andrew J. CherlinRussell Sage Foundation, 258 pages What happened to the working-class sitcoms?...