Maureen Corrigan

Maureen Corrigan, book critic for NPR's Fresh Air, is a critic-in-residence and lecturer at Georgetown University. She is an associate editor of and contributor to Mystery and Suspense Writers (Scribner) and the winner of the 1999 Edgar Award for Criticism, presented by the Mystery Writers of America.

Corrigan served as a juror for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Her book So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came To Be and Why It Endures was published by Little, Brown in September 2014 (paperback forthcoming May 2015). Corrigan is represented by Trinity Ray at The Tuesday Lecture Agency: trinity@tuesdayagency.com

Corrigan's literary memoir, Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading! was published in 2005. Corrigan is also a reviewer and columnist for The Washington Post's Book World. In addition to serving on the advisory panel of The American Heritage Dictionary, she has chaired the Mystery and Suspense judges' panel of the Los Angeles TimesBook Prize.

I hesitate to say it, but the one word that characterizes my best books of 2016 list is "serious." These books aren't grim and they're certainly not dull, but collectively they're serious about tackling big, sometimes difficult subjects — and they're also distinguished by seriously good writing. Here are 10 that you shouldn't miss. Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . DAVE DAVIES, BYLINE: This is FRESH AIR. Our book critic Maureen Corrigan has her list of the 10-best books...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Book critic Maureen Corrigan has a review of the new novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon. It's called "Moonglow," and it's loosely based on his grandfather's life. Chabon's other novels include "The Mysteries Of Pittsburgh," "Wonder Boys" and "The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier And Clay." MAUREEN CORRIGAN, BYLINE: The deathbed scene. Literature provides no greater opportunity for...

There's a tendency to approach a posthumous collection of work by an esteemed "writer's writer" with respectful courtesy, but Stanley Elkin's essays demand a rowdier response from readers. They're weird and spirited, full of literal piss and vinegar. Pieces of Soap is the name of this collection and writer Sam Lipsyte, in his introduction, rightly says that reading Elkin makes you realize "how lazy most writing is." It doesn't matter what the ostensible subject of these essays may be: they...

Last things first. One of the most extraordinary aspects of the third volume of Blanche Wiesen Cook's monumental biography of Eleanor Roosevelt is the way it ends. I don't think I've ever read another biography where the death of the subject is noted in an aside of less than 10 words, on the second to last page of the book. Bear in mind that, with this third and concluding volume, Cook has devoted almost 2,000 pages to Eleanor's life. Yet, she compacts her subject's post-White House years...

I need a moment away from unceasing word drip of debates about the election, about whether Elena Ferrante has the right to privacy , about whether Bob Dylan writes "Literature." I need a moment, more than a moment, in the steady and profound company of Mary Oliver and I think you might need one too. Oliver's latest book is a collection of essays called Upstream . Most of these pieces have been published elsewhere, but reshuffled here they form a kind of sporadic spiritual autobiography. If...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. One of October's most talked about books is a debut novel about a trio of young African-Americans in Southern California who are dealing with their community's expectations and their own mistakes and ambitions. Our book critic Maureen Corrigan has a review of "The Mothers" by Brit Bennett. MAUREEN CORRIGAN, BYLINE: Brit Bennett first generated major buzz with a provocative 2014 essay she wrote in...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Emma Donoghue is an Irish-Canadian writer who's written many novels plays and works of non-fiction. But she's best known for her 2010 novel "Room," which was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and was made into a film last year starring Brie Larson. Donoghue's new novel is called "The Wonder." And our book critic, Maureen Corrigan, says it's aptly named. MAUREEN CORRIGAN, BYLINE: For Emma Donoghue,...

The 18-year-old Jane Jacobs picked a lousy time to leave her hometown of Scranton, Pa., and move to New York City. It was the fall of 1934 and New York was dragging itself through The Great Depression. During that first year in the city, Jacobs, who'd gone to secretarial school, scrounged for work, riding the subway from the Brooklyn apartment she shared with her older sister, Betty, into Manhattan. By late morning, she'd often be left with nothing to do, so, as her biographer Robert Kanigel...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. The beginning of the school year also brings a new academic novel set in one of this country's most prestigious campuses. The novel is called "Loner," and it's written by New York Times columnist Teddy Wayne. Our book critic, Maureen Corrigan, has a review. MAUREEN CORRIGAN, BYLINE: Consider the campus novel. Ever since F. Scott Fitzgerald published "This Side Of Paradise" in 1920 and clued the...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. It's been 11 years since Jonathan Safran Foer published his last novel, the award-winning, 9/11-inspired story "Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close." This was the week that many of Foer's readers have been waiting for. His third novel "Here I Am" has just been published. Book critic Maureen Corrigan has a review. MAUREEN CORRIGAN, BYLINE: Dazzling and draining, dazzling and draining - that's how my...

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