Books

Lord of the brush.

J. R. R. Tolkien’s malevolent dragon Smaug is just one of hundreds of iconic Tolkien characters and mythical landscapes brought to life by visionary illustrator and conceptual artist John Howe.

Books by Rachel Kushner, Geoff Dyer, and Peter Gizzi.

Many contemporary novels, however enjoyable, seem content tracing the doings and events and psychologies corralled inside their clearly delineated piece of fictional terrain. Other novels, however, throw open the windows and let the world’s chaos blow throw a narrative.

An extraordinary mind.

Given the serious and slightly bleak tone of my last column, I had intended to make this one brighter. Then David Foster Wallace died, at age 46. I previously wrote about Wallace’s book of essays Consider the Lobster, but it’s important to bring his work up again. He was very likely the best and most important American writer of his generation.

Dotting pages.

In the first few pages of Ernest Hemingway’s memoir, A Moveable Feast, he describes his time at a Parisian café, noting his surroundings. The famed writer was an early adopter of Moleskine’s classic notebooks.

Fiction by Erin Morgenstern, Catherynne M. Valente, and Nick Harkaway.

Few things in literature are as effective at capturing the imagination as meticulously detailed worlds.

Sun lit.

Whether you are travelling or staying home, at the beach or on a patio, the summer’s surplus sunlight makes it the best season to read more. Here are a few favourites that will make the extra hours of daylight fly by.

Memoirs by Roger Ebert, Neil Young, and Stephen King.

There are few attributes that I admire more than productivity. I am captivated by those with the ability not just to create, and not just to create well, but to create well and often.

The un-chef.

In today’s era of star chefs, David Tanis is definitely under the radar. The author of three cookbooks and the “City Kitchen” column for The New York Times, Tanis made his name working alongside Alice Waters as chef de cuisine at the California restaurant Chez Panisse.

Starting Over: Stories by Elizabeth Spencer.

It is nearly inevitable, when discussing writer Elizabeth Spencer, to avoid remarking on her extensive career; the 92-year-old’s first novel came out in 1948, and she has published works in every decade since.