Sunday, October 26, 2008

Alan Jacobs

Alan Jacobs is professor of English at Wheaton College in Illinois. He is the author of several books including The Narnian, a biography of C. S. Lewis, and Original Sin: A Cultural History.

His literary and cultural criticism has appeared in a wide range of periodicals, including the Boston Globe, The American Scholar, First Things, Books & Culture, and The Oxford American.

Last week I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
Right now I'm in the middle of Nicholson Baker's witty and curious Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper. Baker always writes beautifully, but he's also a man of enthusiasms and frustrations, which is not always good. This is for work, sort of, because I'm in the early stages of writing a book about reading, but I'm also making time to read things just for fun. That was the spirit in which I picked up David Liss's A Conspiracy of Paper: a book about a retired-pugilist-turned-private-investigator in 1719 London had to be quite distant from any contemporary concerns, right? — except that it's also about the early stock market, prone to bubbles of excitement and, and when confidence fails, sudden and dramatic crashes. As I say: quite distant from any contemporary concerns.

I also recently finished Neal Stephenson's new novel Anathem, and was so enthusiastic that I contacted a friend who works for a new online magazine called Culture11 and asked if he would run my review: you can find it here--"World of Wonders."

Next up: Leo Hollis's London Rising: The Men Who Made Modern London, a history of the rebuilding of the city after the Great Fire of 1666.

Alan Jacobs blogs at The American Scene.

--Marshal Zeringue