The Human Stain

By Philip Roth,

Book cover of The Human Stain

Book description

The American psyche is channelled into the gripping story of one man. This is the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Philip Roth at his very best.

It is 1998, the year America is plunged into a frenzy of prurience by the impeachment of a president. In a small New England town a…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Human Stain as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I have always considered Philip Roth to be a master stylist and, even more, a brilliant author of the way that characters think and feel. This book is also wonderful for the way its ironies unfold in a story that is riveting, disturbing, and revealing.

I am intrigued by the way that Roth can confront important social issues. Even though this was written several years ago, I find it to be particularly relevant to the debates about diversity that seem to concern us most as a society today.

Roth’s intolerance of closure is brilliant. Even if it’s a character who loathes the concept of closure, and not Roth himself, this book is incredibly helpful for thinking about cancel culture, the reductive judgments about sex, the cultural purity binges that shame and destroy thinking.

Roth is bold and brave in his writing and the exquisite candor about sex is sometimes upsetting but also enlivening. Roth is not always nice in his writing but the cruelty he describes is an act of service to humanity and he stretches the psyche, 

The Human Stain will expand your attitudes towards race and…

From Charlotte's list on self-help that aren’t about self-help.

The Oracle of Spring Garden Road

By Norrin M. Ripsman,

Book cover of The Oracle of Spring Garden Road

Norrin M. Ripsman Author Of The Oracle of Spring Garden Road

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Too often, I find that novelists force the endings of their books in ways that aren’t true to their characters, the stories, or their settings. Often, they do so to provide the Hollywood ending that many readers crave. That always leaves me cold. I love novels whose characters are complex, human, and believable and interact with their setting and the story in ways that do not stretch credulity. This is how I try to approach my own writing and was foremost in my mind as I set out to write my own book.

Norrin's book list on novels that nail the endings

What is my book about?

The Oracle of Spring Garden Road explores the life and singular worldview of “Crazy Eddie,” a brilliant, highly-educated homeless man who panhandles in front of a downtown bank in a coastal town.

Eddie is a local enigma. Who is he? Where did he come from? What brought him to a life on the streets? A dizzying ride between past and present, the novel unravels these mysteries, just as Eddie has decided to return to society after two decades on the streets, with the help of Jane, a woman whose intelligence and integrity rival his own. Will he succeed, or is…

The Oracle of Spring Garden Road

By Norrin M. Ripsman,

What is this book about?

“Crazy Eddie” is a homeless man who inhabits two squares of pavement in front of a bank in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. In this makeshift office, he panhandles and dispenses his peerless wisdom. Well-educated, fiercely intelligent with a passionate interest in philosophy and a profound love of nature, Eddie is an enigma for the locals. Who is he? Where did he come from? What brought him to a life on the streets? Though rumors abound, none capture the unique worldview and singular character that led him to withdraw from the perfidy and corruption of human beings. Just as Eddie has…


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