By Stuart Mitchner

Joyce Carol Oates had been living in Princeton for 25 years when she published The Faith of a Writer: Life, Craft, Art (Ecco 2003), one of two works she named when asked to mention books that were “close to her heart.” The author, who will be teaching her last class at Princeton University in the spring semester of 2015, also cited High Lonesome: New & Selected Stories 1966-2006 (Ecco 2006), which contains “my favorite stories of my own up to that time.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

Every time the “back to school” theme comes up, I think of The Catcher in the Rye, New York City, and the year I went to McBurney School on 63rd Street off Central Park West. I was 16 when I read Holden Caulfield’s story for the first of many times, not knowing that J.D. Salinger had been at McBurney decades before me and that some of Holden’s school experiences and relationships were drawn from his two years there. more

By Stuart Mitchner

Lost, lost, it’s always lost. Nobody talks about being found in translation but isn’t that what happens when the translator is delivering the goods? In winning the 2013 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize for delivering Reiner Stach’s Kafka: Die Jahre der Erkenntnis into English as Kafka: The Years of Insight (Princeton University Press 2013), Princeton resident Shelley Frisch was praised for “finding fresh, compelling, and often witty ways” to sustain the biographer’s voice and “render his German into English.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

When we lived in Hoosier Courts, a post-war housing project for married graduate students, Indiana University junior faculty, and veterans on the GI Bill, the garbage cans were in pits with heavy lids because we were on the edge of the wilderness, or so I was told by my parents. Older kids claimed there were mountain lions, bears, and wolves in the woods nearby, where my parents allowed me to explore during the day, in spite of the rumored wildlife. You could walk out your door and within a minute be hiking on the rocky cliffs overlooking the Illinois Central tracks. The pale green clapboard buildings were heated by pot-bellied stoves I got dressed in front of on cold winter mornings. It was at Hoosier Courts, between grades 4 and 6, that I began reading “real books.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

In May 1929 delegates to an Atlantic City convention worked out a fourteen point agreement that was a distorted mirror image of President Woodrow Wilson’s “Fourteen Points” treaty negotiated ten years earlier at Versailles. Led by Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and other mobster kingpins, this particular summit also dealt with war and peace, armaments, and the spoils of war. more