Entries by Jay Ruud


Run Aneesh Chaganty (2020) The mental disorder generally known as “Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy” seems to be having a moment in popular culture. The term describes a condition in which caregivers deliberately report nonexistent symptoms or, more alarming, cause deliberate harm to a child or, on occasion, an elderly person in their care. In 95 […]

A Book a Day: The 365 Greatest Books of All Time

Ever wish you had a different book for every day of the year? Me neither, but I created this list anyway. I went down a rabbit hole looking at the Modern Library’s list of the “100 Best Novels of the 20thCentury” and comparing it to Time Magazine’s “100 Best Novels Since 1923,” and decided they were […]

Life and Death are Wearing Me Out

 Life and Death are Wearing Me Out Mo Yan (2006) Most American readers don’t really know much about contemporary Chinese novelist Mo Yan, or if they’ve heard of him at all it’s because they remember he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2012. He first gained international fame with the novel Red Sorghum, which […]

Bloomsbury’s Late Rose

Bloomsbury’s Late Rose Pen Pearson (2019) If you’ve never heard of the Edwardian British poet Charlotte Mew, you’re not alone. Mew is these days as little known as she was during most of her life. In Bloomsbury’s Late Rose—her fictionalized story of Mew’s life— author Pen Pearson laments that Mew’s poetry “remains underappreciated today,” and […]


Rebecca Ben Wheatley (2020) If you’re an Alfred Hitchcock fan, you know that the master of suspense, one of the most respected auteurs in the history of film, never won a Best Director Oscar, despite being nominated five times. He does have four films on the AFI top 100 American Movies list (two of them […]

War Lord

War Lord Bernard Cornwell (2020) Ask anyone about the greatest battles in English history and the Battle of Brunanburh is not likely to trip lightly off their tongue. And yet without this battle there would have been no “England” at all. The battle, as first recorded in Old English heroic verse as the entry for […]