Books from Roger Ebert

Nicholas Nickleby

Left penniless after his feckless father's death, young Nicholas Nickleby has no choice but to make his own way in the world. For the sake of his mother and sister, he is forced by his hard-hearted uncle to take a post as an assistant master at Dotheboys Hall, a school for unwanted boys, run by the cruel and tyrannical headmaster, Wackford Squeers. But this is only the beginning of Nicholas's adventures in this most entertaining of Charles Dickens's novels. We follow the progress of Nicholas and his slow-witted companion Smike on their travels and encounter a supporting cast of delectable characters including the rambunctious Crummles theatre company and their talented performing pony, the dastardly Sir Mulberry Hawk, the delightful Mrs. Nickleby, the preposterous Kenwings, and many more. Like many of Dickens's novels, Nicholas Nickleby is characterized by his criticism of cruelty and social injustice, but is above all one of the greatest comic masterpieces of nineteenth-century literature.
Roger Ebert
TV Host, Journalist
Having read Great Expectations under some duress in high school, I went through seven years of college without ever encountering Dickens again. It was in about 1980 that I signed up for the Folio edition of Dickens, picked up Nicholas Nickleby, and was hooked. No one is more compulsively readable.
Books from Roger Ebert

Blood Meridian

"The fulfilled renown of Moby-Dick and of As I Lay Dying is augmented by Blood Meridian, since Cormac McCarthy is the worthy disciple both of Melville and Faulkner," writes esteemed literary scholar Harold Bloom in his Introduction to the Modern Library edition. "I venture that no other living American novelist, not even Pynchon, has given us a book as strong and memorable."Cormac McCarthy's masterwork, Blood Meridian, chronicles the brutal world of the Texas-Mexico borderlands in the mid-nineteenth century. Its wounded hero, the teenage Kid, must confront the extraordinary violence of the Glanton gang, a murderous cadre on an official mission to scalp Indians and sell those scalps. Loosely based on fact, the novel represents a genius vision of the historical West, one so fiercely realized that since its initial publication in 1985 the canon of American literature has welcomed Blood Meridian to its shelf. "A classic American novel of regeneration through violence," declares Michael Herr. "McCarthy can only be compared to our greatest writers."
Roger Ebert
TV Host, Journalist
Soon I plan my third journey through Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, another author I believe will endure.
Books from Roger Ebert

Ambassadors

In the backdrop of Paris and New England, the story unfolds and narrates the events that help Lambert Strether in self-discovery. With the aim of learning about the activities of Chad Newsome, he travels to Paris and unravels secrets that astound him. The novel subtly compares the different moral standards and conflicting ideas and emotions of the characters.
Roger Ebert
TV Host, Journalist
I have, however, recently started reading The Ambassadors by Henry James for the third time.
Books from Roger Ebert

To the Finland Station

One of the great works of modern historical writing, the classic account of the ideas, people, and politics that led to the Bolshevik RevolutionEdmund Wilson's To the Finland Station is intellectual history on a grand scale, full of romance, idealism, intrigue, and conspiracy, that traces the revolutionary ideas that shaped the modern world from the French Revolution up through Lenin's arrival at Finland Station in St. Petersburg in 1917. Fueled by Wilson's own passionate engagement with the ideas and politics at play, it is a lively and vivid, sweeping account of a singular idea—that it is possible to construct a society based on justice, equality, and freedom—gaining the power to change history. Vico, Michelet, Bakunin, and especially Marx—along with scores of other anarchists, socialists, nihilists, utopians, and more—all come to life in these pages. And in Wilson's telling, their stories and their ideas remain as alive, as provocative, as relevant now as they were in their own time.
Roger Ebert
TV Host, Journalist
I have every one of Edmund Wilson's books, in the sublimely uniform Farrar Strauss & Giroux editions.
Books from Roger Ebert

Leaves of Grass



Roger Ebert
TV Host, Journalist
Most of you will have read Ginsberg's "Howl," but how much more of his poetry? I have his collected poems on my shelf, but don't care to take them down. Whitman's poems, on the other hand, are at the side of my chair and I read one every morning.
Books recommended by Roger Ebert
5 books

5 Books for Reference

5 Books that helped Roger in his profession.
Roger Ebert
TV Host, Journalist
5 Books that helped Roger in his profession.
Books from Roger Ebert

The Encyclopedia of Chinese Cooking

A collection of over six hundred recipes for Chinese dishes made with rice, noodles, pork, beef, lamb, chicken, fish, seafood, eggs, and vegetables are easily prepared using ordinary ingredients and utensils
Roger Ebert
TV Host, Journalist
The very sight of Quick and Easy Chinese Cooking by Kenneth H. C. Lo quickens my pulse. Its pages are stained by broth, sherry, soy sauce and chicken fat, and so thoroughly did I master it that I once sought out Ken Lo's Memories of China on Ebury street in London and laid eyes on the great man himself, dining alone in a little room near the entrance. A book like that, you're not gonna throw away.
Books from Roger Ebert

Huckleberry Finn

This volume presents a story of a young boy, Huckleberry Finn, and his companion, Jim - an escaped slave on the run. It chronicles the journey they take down the Mississippi River on a plight for freedom.
Roger Ebert
TV Host, Journalist
I cannot do without a single one of these possessions, including more or else every book I have owned since I was seven, starting with Huckleberry Finn.
Books from Roger Ebert

Plays by George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw demanded truth and despised convention. He punctured hollow pretensions and smug prudishness—coating his criticism with ingenious and irreverent wit. In Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Arms and the Man, Candida, and Man and Superman, the great playwright satirizes society, military heroism, marriage, and the pursuit of man by woman. From a social, literary, and theatrical standpoint, these four plays are among the foremost dramas of the age—as intellectually stimulating as they are thoroughly enjoyable. “My way of joking is to tell the truth: It is the funniest joke in the world.”—G. B. Shaw With an Introduction by Eric Bentleyand an Afterword by Norman Lloyd
Roger Ebert
TV Host, Journalist
This house is not empty. To my 1965 edition of Shaw, which cost me about two quid and now sells for $119, Chaz and I have added, I dunno, maybe 3,000 or 4,000 books, countless videos and CDs, lots of art, rows of photographs, rooms full of comfortable furniture, a Buddha from Thailand, two elephants from India, African chairs and statues, and who knows what else.