Michael Dirda

Michael Dirda is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post Book World and the author of the memoir “An Open Book” and of four collections of essays: “Readings,” “Bound to Please,” “Book by Book” and “Classics for Pleasure.” Dirda was born in Lorain, Ohio, graduated with highest honors in English from Oberlin College, and received a Ph.D. in comparative literature (medieval studies and European romanticism) from Cornell University.
Latest from Michael Dirda

‘True Grit’ is a modern classic, but it’s not the only great work by Charles Portis

I binge-read Portis’s books — “Norwood,” “The Dog of the South” and more. They offered just the lift I needed.

November 24, 2021

‘A Voyage to Arcturus’ may have sold 596 copies in its first printing, but it deserves a wider audience

This titanic mix of fantasy, science fiction and philosophy is a challenging but worthwhile read. C.S. Lewis agreed.

November 17, 2021

If you like action-packed historical novels, ‘The War of Jenkins’ Ear’ is just the book for you

Robert Gaudi’s lively account of the 18th-century conflict salts an already exciting narrative with vivid details and gossip.

November 10, 2021

H.G. Wells wanted to change the world. A new book explores the author’s outsize ambitions

Claire Tomalin’s ‘The Young H.G. Wells’ is a fascinating look at the prolific writer’s rocky beginnings and complicated personal life.

November 3, 2021

‘Dune’ has long divided the science fiction world. The new film won’t change that.

Frank Herbert’s magnum opus: masterful or clumsy? Denis Villeneuve’s movie continues the debate.

October 21, 2021

Grab some candy corn and sit down with these Halloween-perfect story collections

“The Big Book of Victorian Mysteries” and “When Things Get Dark: Stories Inspired by Shirley Jackson” are among some great new terrifically terrifying reads

October 20, 2021

How Oscar Wilde evolved from poet and playwright to symbol of martyrdom and individualism

‘Oscar: A Life,’ by Matthew Sturgis, delivers a thorough assessment of Wilde on the occasion of his birthday this month

October 13, 2021

Richard Osman, inspired by ‘The A-Team,’ has created a delightful band of elderly sleuths

‘The Man Who Died Twice,’ the latest in Osman’s Thursday Murder Club series, is a notably entertaining mystery novel

October 6, 2021

I love books about books. Here are seven of my current favorites.

Among the titles on my nightstand: “The Last Bookseller,” “The Private Library” and “Rare Book Hunting.”

September 29, 2021

If you love heroic fantasy a la George R.R. Martin, you’ll love ‘The Last Viking’

Don Hollway’s new novel is a fast-paced saga based on the life of Harald Hardrada, the 11th-century Norse adventurer

September 22, 2021