Cormac McCarthy's 2005 neo-Western novel No Country for Old Men received mixed critical reception upon its release. Critics couldn't determine how much of the novel, particularly the character of Sheriff Bell, was meant in earnest and how much of...

In his one-act play entitled Disgraced (2012), Ayad Akhtar tells the story of a couple called Amir and Emily Kapoor who one day host a dinner party at their Upper East Side Manhattan, New York home. Amir, on one hand, is a American-born Muslim...

In her collection of eight short stories entitled Vampires in the Lemon Grove, author Karen Russell writes of fascinating people and their equally interesting stories. One story, for example, follows a community of girls who are held captive in a...

In her collection of feminist poems entitled The Octopus Museum, author Brenda Shaugnessy discusses complex and relevant themes through the lens of a dystopian future in which octopuses reign supreme. Humans, on the other hand, are no longer the...

Perhaps the most well-received of T.S. Eliot’s seven plays, The Cocktail Party interpolates many essential elements from Alcestis by Euripides into a midcentury British play that takes many genre cues from British "drawing-room comedies." The play...

Dennis Johnson's novel, Tree of Smoke, is set in Vietnam during the years between 1963 and 1970. The book centers around its protagonist, Skip Sands, who joins the C.I.A. and is posted to Vietnam, where he works for his uncle, Colonel Francis X....

Written by American author Denis Johnson, The Name of the World (2001) tells the story of a man named Michael Reed, a man who is haunted by the death of his wife and child. After their life, he has spent his life in an incredibly numb state and...

"The Ballot or the Bullet" is a groundbreaking speech given by civil rights pioneer Malcolm X on April 3 and 12, 1964. The speech was delivered twice—first at the Cory Methodist Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and second at the King Solomon Baptist...

First published in 1939, and considered an early indication of Eudora Welty’s promise as a leading figure in Southern realism, “Petrified Man” has gone on to be one of the most anthologized and analyzed short stories of her extensive oeuvre.

The...

Published in June 2019, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is Ocean Vuong's debut novel. Written in the style of an epistolary novel—a letter from a young Vietnamese-American man (Little Dog) to his older, illiterate mother (Rose)—the novel explores...

Irmgard Keun's novel, After Midnight, takes place in a Germany that is already darkened under the shadow of Adolf Hitler, but not yet as dark as it will become as war approaches. Because of this, many of the characters in the book are on a...

Gene Luen Yang's graphic novel American Born Chinese comprises three apparently separate storylines: the first follows a monkey deity's desire to be all-powerful; the second follows Jin Wang, a child of Chinese immigrants, as he wrestles with his...

Sam Shepard wrote Buried Child, perhaps his best-known play and the play that won him the Pulitzer in 1979, while he was the playwright-in-residence at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco. It is the play most widely credited with turning Shepard...

"The Fun They Had" was written by Isaac Asimov and first published in a children's magazine in 1951. The text is Asimov's most anthologized story, and was reprinted several times in the following decades.

Prep is Curtis Sittenfeld's debut novel. The book's plot revolves around the high-school career of Lee Fiora, a student at the fictional Ault School in Massachusetts. Unlike most prep school students, Lee comes from a middle-class background and...

Written by prolific Australian playwright Alex Buzo, Norm and Ahmed (1968) was the subject of a tremendous amount of controversy when it was released. Originally, the play ended with the line "f*cking boong," an ethnic slur. The actor who used...

Baldwin's 1965 collection of short stories, Going to Meet the Man, is comprised mostly of stories he previously published between 1948 and 1960. The stories touch on themes of sexuality, class, and race, in particular the experience of black...

Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino (2008) tells the story of Eastwood's Walt Kowalski, a widowed Korean War veteran who is winding down his life in a quaint home in Highland Park, Michigan. Times have changed, though. Walt is alienated from his family...