51vQEGsKWmL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_A Portrait of the Critic as a Young Man | The Millions
Here is James Wood’s newest work, The Nearest Thing to Life, taken from a series of lectures given at Brandies and the British Museum. This book, which manages to be even slimmer than How Fiction Works, also manages to be even better. The Nearest Thing to Life is as close as we’ll ever get to a manifesto from the British-born New Yorker critic. Contained in the book’s 134 pages is a passionate defense of criticism, a memoir of Wood’s early life and influences, and an insightful study of the meaning of fiction.

whitegirlsWhite Girls by Hilton Als | Colorado Review
“Als—a staff writer at The New Yorker—is a brave writer, one unafraid of taboos. But Als isn’t out to be deliberately provocative––it’s just that his interests are mired in complex and uncomfortable subjects, and his language refuses to adhere to political correctness, but instead probes each topic with the passion of an artist.”