Latest from Michael Dirda

The action-packed saga ‘Monkey King: Journey to the West’ gets a modern take

A new abridged translation by Julia Lovell reveals the delights — and flaws — of the classic Chinese tale
  • Mar 3, 2021

Old mysteries and adventure stories deliver a dose of Grand Guignol theatricality and nonstop comic-book action

There are nostalgic pleasures aplenty in stories published in 1930s pulp magazines or dramatized in 1940s radio programs.
  • Feb 24, 2021

‘Sybille Bedford’ is a gossipy appreciation of an oft-overlooked literary great

Selina Hastings’s new biography delves into the life, loves and books of a brilliant, charismatic writer.
  • Feb 17, 2021

From the author of ‘Morning Has Broken,’ magical tales perfect for Valentine’s Day

Published a century ago, Eleanor Farjeon’s “Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard” delivers charming stories of love in its many forms.
  • Feb 10, 2021

‘The Queen’s Gambit’ is a bestseller, but its author, Walter Tevis, was hardly a one-hit wonder

Tevis wrote science fiction greats like “The Man Who Fell to Earth” and the overlooked “Mockingbird.” Also, “The Hustler.”
  • Feb 3, 2021

When I find fiction too draining, I turn to books about books. They can be as thrilling as a whodunit.

Among other things, you’ll learn how a crime novel is written and what it’s like to own a book store in Scotland.
  • Jan 27, 2021

Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Kidnapped’ is not just an adventure tale, it’s a timely novel about politics and dissent

Stevenson’s classic 19th-century novel is study in loyalty against a backdrop of violence and unrest.
  • Jan 20, 2021

‘On the Suffering of the World’ sounds depressing, but perhaps it is a call to action, too

A collection of works by the 19th-century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer takes on new meaning today.
  • Jan 13, 2021

How did all these books get into my house? There’s a method to what seems like madness.

One good book leads to another — and so on.
  • Jan 6, 2021

Clutter, says who? College essays, letters from Stephen King and Tucker Carlson: I’m keeping (almost) all of it.

At the end of 2020, sorting through my papers was a welcome reminder of the joys of a literary life
  • Dec 30, 2020