1. 创作了《纯真年代》（The Age of Innocence, 1920）这部经典作品的美国女作家伊迪丝·华顿（Edith Wharton, 1862-1937）自己的“纯真年代”在由伍尔德里奇（Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge）推出的最新传记《伊迪丝·华顿的出逃》（The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton）中得以再现。 这部最新传记讲述了 童年伊迪丝·华顿的执拗、睿智和不守常规繁文缛节，以及她在1880年的一次出逃。这部传记图文并茂，资料翔实，充分展示这位桀骜不驯的小女孩的非凡经历。。。
2. 乔纳森·弗兰岑（Jonathan Franzen）的新书《自由》（Freedom）创造近年来美国文坛的一个现象：小说还没有正式出版，已然是好评如潮，被冠以当代美国小说的经典之作的美名。这个8月以及接下来的9月，美国书评的热点之一始终是弗兰岑及其《自由》。据说甚至连美国总统奥巴马也加入了宣传这部作品的行列（有报道称那时奥巴马随身携带的阅读书籍就是这部小说）。能被书评家们誉为“masterpiece”当然完全可以说明这部作品的精彩不容置疑。而作者弗兰岑在”自由“的引领之下到底讲述了怎样的故事，这一点则需要读者自己去发现。当然，在你开始进入弗兰岑的”自由“世界开始你的探索旅程的时候，别忘先把书评家们的言论从你的头脑中清理出去，让你自己少收些外界的影响。。。
3. 对美国文学的学习者和爱好者来说，雪莉·杰克逊（Shirley Jackson）这个名字可能比较陌生。而最近，由美国当代著名作家乔伊斯·卡罗尔·欧茨（ Joyce Carol Oates）编辑出版的杰克逊小说集则再次将这位已经故去近半个世纪的女性作家呈现在了读者的面前。关于她的作品，下面的这两段英文给我们提供了简要的介绍： Near the end of Shirley Jackson’s most famous novel, “The Haunting of Hill House,” the heroine, a lonely young woman named Eleanor, thinks to herself, “What I want in all this world is peace, a quiet spot to lie and think, a quiet spot up among the flowers where I can dream and tell myself sweet stories.” And Eleanor does dream, but the stories, for her as for her creator, are rarely sweet. In addition to “Hill House,” 46 of her short stories, another novel — her last, “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” — and an essay on the furious reactions to the magazine publication of her peerlessly disturbing 1948 tale “The Lottery.” Although few of the narratives collected here are as terrifying as “Hill House” or as shocking as “The Lottery” (which is about an exceptionally nasty small-town ritual), there’s precious little comfort in any of them. They’re quiet, usually, told in calm, precise, scrupulously unsensational prose, but peace of the kind for which poor Eleanor yearns is always elusive. There’s none apparent in the wide world — Jackson wrote at the height of the cold war, when anxiety was general, even fashionable. The first story in the book, “The Intoxicated,” is about a 17-year-old girl who sobers up an inebriated partygoer with a coolly imagined vision of the end of civilization: “Maybe there’ll be a law,” she speculates, “not to live in houses, so then no one can hide from anyone else, you see.” And Jackson knew too well that there’s not much peace in houses, either: no place, anywhere, to hide.
Shirley Jackson spent a good deal of her brief life — she died in her sleep in 1965, at 48 — playing the role of housewife and mother. She had a husband and four children, and in her final years ventured outside only infrequently. She lived indoors and in her head, wrangling her kids and her spouse and spinning her odd stories. Houses loomed large in her imagination, as places that promise but never quite deliver some respite from everyday terrors. In one of her last published stories, “The Little House,” a young woman — practically all the main characters in Jackson’s fiction are women — inherits a small, quaint house from her aunt, but before she’s had a chance to settle in, a visit from a pair of old neighbor ladies, soft-spoken but fearsomely passive-aggressive, sends her into a panic. After they’ve left, her new digs feel suddenly, inexplicably menacing. “ ‘Don’t leave me here alone,’ she said, turning to look behind her, ‘please don’t leave me here alone.’ ” Many of Jackson’s stories seem, as “The Little House” does, barely more than casual conversational encounters, between neighbors or friends or lovers or simply people on the street, but they generally end in unease: some petty rudeness, some fleeting hint of malice, reveals itself, and the world begins to look weird and unaccountable, vaguely but unmistakably threatening.
4. 捷克小说家米兰·昆德拉（Milan Kundera）当然 不应该包含在英美文学当中。但是由于他是我喜欢的作家，有关他的出版信息，我还是比较关注的。他的第四部杂文集的出版自然也会引起我的关注。《偶遇》（Encounter）是这部新的杂文集的标题。它收录了昆德拉近几年来的26篇散文。文章长短不一，有的只有几页，有的则长达数十页。无论长短，我们从字里行间能够领略到昆德拉对于文学、对于同行、对于当今社会等等都有他独特的真知灼见。
“No novelist,” Kundera comments, “no poet, no dramatist; no philosopher; a single architect; a single painter, but two couturiers; no composer, one singer; a single moviemaker (over Eisenstein, Chaplin, Bergman, Fellini, the Paris journalists chose Kubrick).” The selectors were not ignoramuses, Kundera writes. “With great lucidity,” they “declared a real change: the new relationship of Europe to literature, to philosophy, to art.”