Books

Bookmarks | How Racism Speaks

Claudia Rankine’s 'Citizen' and Jeffery Renard Allen’s 'Song of the Shank' both take up the issue of race in America in jagged and beautiful poetry and prose.

The Wisdom of the Beguines

Swan’s book does a good job of explaining both the beguines’ spiritual practices in the context of their own times and how their continuing legacy affects us today.

The Road to Character

Brooks thinks character is what’s missing in our self-centered society, yet has written a self-help book for an age he believes values the self much too highly.

Commonweal Interviews

Featuring the best of our interviews—including Woody Allen, Jorge Luis Borges, Mary Gordon, (Sister) Elizabeth McAlister, Christian Wiman, and Mario Cuomo...

Harper Lee Leaves the Club

Even if her new novel gives us pleasure, shouldn't we be able to remember Harper Lee as a member of one of the most unusual groupings in literary history?

Out of Their League

Frank Bruni challenges elitist assumptions about what "counts" as a worthy education, and Fareed Zakaria defends the usefulness and versatility of the liberal arts.

Icons of Devastation

Celan’s work has prompted an often reverential critical response. But his poetry is always difficult and sometimes agonizing; reading it provides no easy pleasures.

The Arab Had a Name

Narrated by the nameless victim's brother, Kamal Daoud's novel asks: Did Camus intend to use the Algerian murder victim in 'The Stranger' as a disposable prop?

The Barefoot Lawyer

Chen Guangcheng's condemnation of the Chinese state is told through his story of legal activism, resulting torture, trial, house arrest, and an escape to the U.S.

Letters | The politics of abortion, the timing of confirmation, etc.

Readers write in to discuss abortion, hysterectomies, divorce, vasectomies, confirmation, funeral manners, and Amy Winehouse's bulimia.

Reading Left to Right

Biographer Randy Boyagoda paints Richard John Neuhaus as an unusually ambitious and politically engaged priest as public intellectual—but is his narrative too tidy?

Letters | Academic discipline, confirmation, ethnic resentments, etc.

Readers write in on how academic, humanistic, and prophetic cultures should be balanced, when kids should be confirmed, and why nothing's better than the Eucharist.
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