Seeing Catch-22 Twice

By Ron Rosenbaum Slate August 2, 2011 Now, my father wasn’t a big reader and rarely wrote letters, much less to authors. But when I went through a phase in high school of constantly carrying Catch-22 around and quoting from it and writing things like, “There was only...

Scroll Man

By Stephen Fried The Washington Post Magazine May 10, 1992 It began, like too many change-of-life stories do, with an uncompleted novel. This novel was about King Saul, and, lo, it was bad. In fact, it was very bad. “It was abominable,” recalls its author, “an...

Fear of Reading: Lexical Anhedonia Sweeps the Land

By Marcelle Clements The Baltimore Sun May 19, 1992 Although this is the era in which flaws in the emotional and psychological development of every man, woman, child and dog have been scrutinized in the most minuscule detail, there seems to be no organized interest in...

Rex Reed Doesn’t Speak to Anyone

By Helen Dudar Esquire January, 1976 Before she became Pauline Kael, before she was much more than a wonderful surprise occasionally encountered in obscure journals, before she was canonized as America’s best critic of film, Pauline Kael took an ax to the work of...

The Ghosts of Ole Miss

By Willie Morris Inside Sports May, 1980 I finally came home. It was not too late. I always had home in my blood—Mississippi—but with this final homecoming the love I had for home stunned me.  Much of it has to do with the land, its sensual textures—one’s memory...

The Stacks Chat: Levi Stahl

By Alex Belth Bronx Banter October 14, 2014 Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008) was one of our most prolific and entertaining writers. Now, we’ve got this posthumous treat: The Getaway Car: A Donald Westlake Nonfiction Miscellany, published by the University of Chicago...

It’s Mostly the Voice

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader November 2, 2020 Know this: The Village Voice website is now a curated trove of stories from their vast archives. Has been for a while, too. Praise is overdue. The site is terrific and for this we are grateful.

Making It!

By Seymour Krim The Village Voice September 9, 1959 When has an inside phrase like “making it” or so-and-so’s “got it made” shot with such reality through the museum of official English? In this terse verbal shorthand lies a philosophy of life that puts a gun in the...

… Thomas Pynchon on the Run …

By Helen Dudar Writers Bloc April 1984 Picture this: your dinner guest is Thomas Pynchon, the writer much of scholarly America considers our best living novelist. He is also a tantalizingly shadowy figure; a generation of fervent readers has fantasized meeting him,...

b. 1975

By Marilyn Johnson AARP February 24, 2006 After a few decades, you get accustomed to picking up a Joyce Carol Oates book without marveling at its existence—another inspired, ingenious, and compulsively readable tale from someone whose books flow past in a glittering...

The Connoisseur of Scoundrels

By Ron Rosenbaum Manhattan Inc. May, 1987 The scene: an informal dinner party on the rooftop of a brownstone in the East Seventies. The people (with one exception): congenial, civilized, charming. The conversation: charming, civilized, congenial. Until … until someone...

The Last Celluloid Desperado

By Grover Lewis Rolling Stone March 15, 1973 After 20 years of playing a comic strip character called Superstud, Mitchum at last is being recognized as the gifted actor he has always been. He is a master of stillness. Other actors act. Mitchum is. He has true delicacy...