50 States, 50 Novels – Part 9

South Dakota – The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1940) Laura Ingalls Wilder’s much-celebrated Little House series started out entirely in the realm of children’s literature, but as the series progressed it gradually became darker and its focus began to drift more towards adult literature. The Long Winter is right on the cusp of […]

Another Side of George R.R. Martin

Will readers forgive me if I confess that I have not read George R. R. Martin’s colossally successfully fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, nor have I seen the much-celebrated television adaptation A Game of Thrones? I’m sure many people would argue that is admission immediately disqualifies me from writing an article on […]

The Marathon of Infinite Jest

A novel 1,079 pages long is not the best one to start reading on a dare. But after my brother insulted my reading abilities, I had to. Of course, I was unprepared. Traveling all over Boston, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest weaved a tale of drug addiction, tennis fanatics, and Canadian extremists all the while […]

Five Great Film Adaptations of American Literature

5. No Country for Old Men (2007, dir. Joel and Ethan Coen) Cormac McCarthy’s novels are notoriously difficult to adapt for the screen (an adaptation of Blood Meridian has been circling around the Hollywood rumor mill for years, and the project has fallen through at least twice) but if anyone were to create the quintessential […]

50 States, 50 Novels – Part 8

Oklahoma – The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939) Although Steinbeck’s novel traverses several states, it gave human faces to a group that, at the time, were disparagingly referred to simply as “Okies.” Steinbeck’s novel also serves as a lament for the Oklahoma landscape, torn up by monstrous machines, and the changing face of […]

At Home With Hemingway

In the middle of summer on the beautiful campus of Dominican University in Oak Park, Ill., there was a lot of talk of icebergs. But it wasn’t because people wanted to cool off – it was because more than 300 people from 18 countries had gathered for the 17th Biennial International Hemingway Society Conference (co-hosted by […]