Synopses & Reviews
Books of the Century
is an extraordinary collection of the best writing about books and authors published in The New York Times Book Review
, America's most widely read journal of the literary arts. Arranged chronologically from 1896 through 1997, this rich chronicle leads the reader through a century of historic literary achievements, while also providing memorable portraits of the most significant writers and thinkers of the era.
Often the critics are as distinguished as the authors and books they review: Eudora Welty's sparkling discussion of E. B. White's Charlotte's Web, John Updike's perceptive review of J. D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey, and W. H. Auden's appreciation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring are a few of the memorable critiques contained within these pages. In addition to dozens of influential reviews of seminal books, Books of the Century includes several special features that will delight all booklovers.
- Essays includes such highlights as Alice B. Toklas evoking Jazz Age Paris and Dr. Seuss chuckling over children's sense of humor.
- First Impressions features the initial reviews of such luminaries as Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, Dashiell Hammett, Saul Bellow, Flannery O'Connor, and Derek Walcott.
- Interviews offers such unique voices as Willa Cather, Vladimir Nabokov, Milan Kundera, and Norman Mailer, heard with force and clarity.
- Letters revives some remarkably keen and unexpected insights, like Alan Greenspan's passionate defense of Ayn Rand's legacy and William Manchester's recollection of H. L. Mencken's contribution to the American language.
- Oops! recalls reviews that panned soon-to-be classics such as Catch-22 and Catcher in the Rye on their first appearance, showing that even The New York Times Book Review errs on occasion.
- Editors' Choice, an annual feature chartered in 1972, and running here through 1997, reflects our changing literary tastes.
About the Author
Current New York Times Book Review editor Charles McGrath has written an introductory essay that sets the table for this literary feast. With more than 250 selections, Books of the Century will fascinate, enlighten, and entertain anyone who carries on a love affair with the written word.
The New York Times Book Review, America's oldest book-review supplement, began publication in 1896. Until 1911 it was published every Saturday. In 1911 it began appearing on Sundays, establishing an enjoyable end-of-weekend ritual for innumerable readers of The New York Times that continues every week of the year.