In his regular pieces for The New Yorker, the literary critic James Wood gives you hope for the ailing arts of reading and writing. Wood is a master of both things. He uses words as scrupulously as he listens to them; his prose hears nuance and has it. His stuff is like a reviver tent by the side of the information highway. When the traffic starts to dull your brain, Wood can always be relied on to remind you what real thinking sounds like.
In his new book, The Nearest Thing to Life, Wood unshackles himself from the obligations of the critical review, and unfurls a sustained, free-ranging meditation about life, art, and the relationship between them ... [read more]