The [Insert Superlative Here] Books of 2011: My Year in Reading

I recently, and much belatedly, got around to reading Northrop Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism. It’s brilliant—not a word I use easily—and really deserves its own post, but there is a point on which Frye and I disagree, in practice if not in theory.  “The demonstrable value-judgement,” he claims in his introduction, “is the donkey’s carrot [...]

The Next-Big-Thingism: Téa Obreht’s Tiger’s Wife

Am I turning into a curmudgeon?  I’m 0/2 on the most celebrated debut novels of the new decade. I recently finished Téa Obreht’s debut novel The Tiger’s Wife, and I’m having trouble understanding the fuss.  (It’s possible I was a curmudgeon already: upon hearing me complain about skateboarders on the sidewalk at the age of twelve, [...]

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