Three Pinnacles of Fame: The Life and Works of Irwin Shaw

A great writer died in 1984 and hardly anybody noticed. He was famous three different times during his career, lived life to the fullest, but was quickly forgotten. He wrote two short stories that will likely remain among America’s best, … Continue reading

Frankenstein, Dracula, and Phantom of the Opera

I saw the Broadway musical “Phantom of the Opera” recently—a  new version that is probably not as good as its predecessor—and it dawned on me that three stories that have endured—and been borrowed upon—for many, many decades are Frankenstein, Dracula, … Continue reading

Victor Hugo and “Les Miserables”

            If I were thrown against a wall and blindfolded before a firing squad and informed in no uncertain terms that my personage would be executed if I refused to divulge the single novel that I consider the greatest ever … Continue reading

“Gone Girl” And Five Novels You Ought To Read

I don’t read modern fiction much nowadays and find “good” literature in the United States that wins awards to be high on style and low on content. Gone Girl, the marvelous best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn, is a notable exception. … Continue reading

Tribute to a Chow Chow: the Death of Fred the Wonder Dog

What can you say about a dog who died? Eric Segal posed that very same question forty-four years ago in his novel, Love Story—except it was about a twenty-five-year-old woman—and made a million dollars from it. But in this case … Continue reading