Editor and critic John Allison works on the Sunday Books section at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Though much of his week is spent sifting through boxes of galleys for forthcoming books, it hasn't dimmed his enthusiasm for the printed word.
David Lodge, Nice Work
Vic Wilcox, a self-made man and managing director of an engineering firm, has little regard for academics, and even less for feminists. So when Robyn Penrose, a trendy leftist teacher, is assigned to "shadow" Vic under a goverment program created to foster mutual understanding between town and gown, the hilarious collusion of lifestyles and ideologies that ensues seems unlikely to foster anything besides mutual antipathy. But in the course of a bumpy year, both parties make some surprising discoveries about each other's worlds--and about themselves.
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22
Over the course of his 60 years, Christopher Hitchens has been a citizen of both the United States and the United Kingdom. He has been both a foreign correspondent in some of the world's most dangerous places and a legendary bon vivant with an unquenchable thirst for alcohol and literature. He is a fervent atheist, raised as a Christian, by a mother whose Jewish heritage was not revealed to him until her suicide. In other words, Christopher Hitchens contains multitudes. This is the story of his life, lived large.
George Eliot, Middlemarch
Dorothea Brooke is a young woman of fervent ideals who yearns to effect social change yet faces resistance from the society she inhabits. In this epic in a small landscape, Eliot's large cast of precisely delineated characters and the rich tapestry of their stories result in a wise, compassionate, and astute vision of human nature. As Virginia Woolf declared, George Eliot "was one of the first English novelists to discover that men and women think as well as feel, and the discovery was of great artistic moment."