Maureen Corrigan http://ualrpublicradio.org en 'Bintel Brief' And 'Hellfighters': American Stories, Powerfully Illustrated http://ualrpublicradio.org/post/bintel-brief-and-hellfighters-american-stories-powerfully-illustrated <em>A Bintel Brief</em> and <em>The Harlem Hellfighters</em> are two New York Stories. That's why I'm combining them in this review; not because — as some purists still think — they're lesser works of literature because they're graphic novels. If Egyptian hieroglyphics, the Bayeux Tapestry, and Art Spiegelman's 1991 classic, <em>Maus,</em> haven't yet convinced the high-art holdouts of the value of stories told in visual sequence, nothing I say now about these two books is likely to. Thu, 17 Apr 2014 20:11:00 +0000 Maureen Corrigan 21947 at http://ualrpublicradio.org 'Bintel Brief' And 'Hellfighters': American Stories, Powerfully Illustrated This Tightly Choreographed Tale Of Ambition And Ballet Will 'Astonish' http://ualrpublicradio.org/post/tightly-choreographed-tale-ambition-and-ballet-will-astonish The title of Maggie Shipstead's second novel is: <em>Astonish Me.</em> She did just that --astonish <em>me </em>-- with her debut novel of 2012, called <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/07/30/200738956/with-arrangements-and-the-rest-two-debut-novelists-arrive" target="_blank">Seating Arrangements</a>. Tue, 01 Apr 2014 18:08:00 +0000 Maureen Corrigan 21166 at http://ualrpublicradio.org This Tightly Choreographed Tale Of Ambition And Ballet Will 'Astonish' 'Thief' Delivers An Unfiltered Depiction Of Life In Lagos http://ualrpublicradio.org/post/thief-delivers-unfiltered-depiction-life-lagos Let's get the negative stuff out of the way first. Teju Cole's <em>Every Day Is For The Thief</em> is not much of a novel. Forget plot or character development: This is a piece of writing that's all about setting. If you take what Cole is offering here and value it on its own terms, you'll probably appreciate the curious magic at work in this slim not-quite-a-novel. In chapters that stand as separate, short vignettes, <em>Every Day Is For The Thief</em> describes a young New York doctor's visit back to his hometown of Lagos, Nigeria. Tue, 25 Mar 2014 18:05:00 +0000 Maureen Corrigan 20827 at http://ualrpublicradio.org 'Thief' Delivers An Unfiltered Depiction Of Life In Lagos Don't Know What To Do With Your Life? Neither Did Thoreau http://ualrpublicradio.org/post/dont-know-what-do-your-life-neither-did-thoreau Every year, students come into my office and say, "I don't know what I want to do with my life." Of course, plenty of people in the world don't have the luxury of such cluelessness, but my students don't look like they're enjoying their privilege; they look scared and depressed, as though they've already failed some big test of character. They might find some comfort in Michael Sims' new biography of the young Henry David Thoreau called, simply, <em>The Adventures of Henry Thoreau. Mon, 17 Feb 2014 16:03:00 +0000 Maureen Corrigan 19123 at http://ualrpublicradio.org Don't Know What To Do With Your Life? Neither Did Thoreau Triumph Of The Bookworms: Two Novels To Cure Your Winter Blues http://ualrpublicradio.org/post/triumph-book-worms-two-novels-cure-your-winter-blues In the opening paragraph of <em>Moby-Dick,</em> Ishmael tells us he takes to sea whenever he feels the onset of "a damp, drizzly November in [his] soul." I know how he feels. Whenever the frigid funk of February settles in, I, too, yearn to get out of town. This year I have, thanks to two exquisite vehicles of escape fiction. Both Rachel Pastan's <em>Alena</em> and Katherine Pancol's <em>The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles</em> are smart entertainments perfect for curling up with on a winter's night. Wed, 05 Feb 2014 18:31:00 +0000 Maureen Corrigan 18530 at http://ualrpublicradio.org Triumph Of The Bookworms: Two Novels To Cure Your Winter Blues Midwestern Memoir Tracks 'Flyover Lives' Of Author's Forebears http://ualrpublicradio.org/post/midwestern-memoir-tracks-flyover-lives-authors-forebears The second best quality Diane Johnson has as a writer is that she's so smart. Her first best quality — and one that's far more rare — is that she credits her audience with being smart, too. Whether she's writing fiction, biography or essays, Johnson lets scenes and conversations speak for themselves, accruing power as they lodge in readers' minds.<p>So it is with her memoir, <em>Flyover Lives</em>, which is bookended by a moody anecdote. Johnson recalls how she and her husband were invited to spend a night at a friend's rental villa in Provence, France. Fri, 31 Jan 2014 21:08:00 +0000 Maureen Corrigan 18312 at http://ualrpublicradio.org Midwestern Memoir Tracks 'Flyover Lives' Of Author's Forebears On This Spanish Slave Ship, Nothing Was As It Seemed http://ualrpublicradio.org/post/spanish-slave-ship-nothing-was-it-seemed Shortly after sunrise, on the morning of Feb. 20, 1805, sailors on an American ship called the <em>Perseverance</em>, anchored near an uninhabited island off the coast of Chile, spied a weird vessel drifting into view. It flew no flag and its threadbare sails were slack. Mon, 27 Jan 2014 17:48:00 +0000 Maureen Corrigan 18070 at http://ualrpublicradio.org On This Spanish Slave Ship, Nothing Was As It Seemed Chang-rae Lee Stretches For Dystopic Drama, But Doesn't Quite Reach http://ualrpublicradio.org/post/chang-rae-lee-stretches-dystopic-drama-doesnt-quite-reach Dystopia is all the rage these days, especially in young adult fiction: There's the "Hunger Games" trilogy of course; Veronica Roth's "Divergent" series, in which Chicago has gone to the dogs; Cassandra Clare's "Mortal Instruments" series, inspired by a nightmare vision of Manhattan; and Stephanie Meyer's non-<em>Twilight</em> novel, <em>The Host</em>, where Earth has been colonized by alien parasites. Tue, 14 Jan 2014 19:04:00 +0000 Maureen Corrigan 17462 at http://ualrpublicradio.org Chang-rae Lee Stretches For Dystopic Drama, But Doesn't Quite Reach Empty Nester In 'The Woods': A Modern Dantean Journey http://ualrpublicradio.org/post/empty-nester-woods-modern-dantean-journey <blockquote><p>Midway upon the journey of our life<br />I found myself within a forest dark, Thu, 09 Jan 2014 19:26:00 +0000 Maureen Corrigan 17244 at http://ualrpublicradio.org Empty Nester In 'The Woods': A Modern Dantean Journey A Critic Tours 'Echo Spring,' Home Of Beloved Boozy Writers http://ualrpublicradio.org/post/critic-tours-echo-spring-home-beloved-boozy-writers It's the quintessential "dog bites man" story. I'm talking about a new book I just read about a group of famous writers who — <em>get this </em>-- drank too much! I know, right? That's pretty much the equivalent of saying I just read a book about a group of famous writers who used commas in their sentences.<p>It's that very ho-hum quality of the link between alcohol and writing, however, that got critic Olivia Laing interested in the subject. Fri, 03 Jan 2014 19:40:00 +0000 Maureen Corrigan 16965 at http://ualrpublicradio.org A Critic Tours 'Echo Spring,' Home Of Beloved Boozy Writers