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Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life by Carol Sklenicka
Who made Raymond Carver? Maybe it was Gordon Lish, who edited Carver's short stories about workaday lives into the minimalist style that made him famous. Perhaps it was editor Gary Fisketjon, whose marketing savvy made Carver a standard-bearer of American fiction in the 1980s. Or it could have been ...
Cleopatra's Nose: 39 Varieties of Desire by Judith Thurman
Judith Thurman's book of essays possesses the three cardinal virtues of nonfiction: Its prose is stylish and often witty; it delves into various topics with hungry curiosity, and it is very, very intelligent. Thurman takes her subjects seriously, giving the same respect and in-depth analysis to...
Swimming in a Sea of Death: A Son's Memoir by David Rieff
In 1977, two years after coming through Stage IV breast cancer, Susan Sontag wrote Illness as Metaphor, a brilliant and cogently argued polemic about the punitive or sentimental fantasies that certain diseases -- such as tuberculosis in the 19th century and cancer in the 20th -- attracted. What...