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?

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.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Anne Enright's new novel suggests something simple—family, for good or ill, keeps forming us even when we try to escape it—but her prose constantly surprises.

Embryos under the Microscope

In her new book, Jane Maienschein lays out the history of embryonic science—going back to Aristotle—hoping to answer an old question: When does a human life begin?

An Unlikely Union

Paul Moses's history of Irish-Italian relations in 19th century New York delves into the causes for "race war" between the immigrant groups and how they overcame it.

'James Merrill: Life and Art'

Langdon Hammer's biography of poet and writer James Merrill is "wholly definitive" in scope, and threaded throughout with Merrill’s brilliant, always enlivening wit.

Runyon's Way

If you ask me, being a writer is a little like falling in love. No matter how uncomplicated it seems at the start, it is always complicated. The trick is to persist.

An Interview with Anne Enright

Ireland's fiction laureate talks about sex and death in Ireland; Pope John Paul II's 1979 visit to the country; Kafka and kids; and her new novel, 'The Green Road.'
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