Elaine Wilson

Elaine Wilson

Elaine Wilson is a bibliophile with a soft spot for history books and foreign literature. She is a student of Russian literary translation at Columbia University.

Posts by Elaine Wilson

A Tale of Two Soul Mates

Sixty pages in, you’ll have witnessed troubling violence and tragedy; sixty pages more and you’ll bear witness to darker deeds. By story’s end, you’ll have explored the lowest reaches of human nature, traveled countless miles, and watched a nation grow out of its ancient imperial origins into a modern industrial power, all through the eyes of the same tortured souls. This is the thread of Susan Barker’s THE INCARNATIONS, a gorgeous, sweeping work that carries you across the history of China as experienced by two soul mates.

The Fascinating Biography that Took Alexander Hamilton to the Bright Lights of Broadway

Alexander Hamilton’s life is perhaps best known for its end: he was mortally wounded in a duel with political rival Aaron Burr. But his personal life and political achievements are fascinating, impressive, and—until recently—underappreciated. Here is a man who, though featured on our ten-dollar bill, many Americans know little about. I was certainly one of them for many years.

7 Books that Celebrate the Beauty of Language

I am fascinated by language. Whether diagramming sentences, reciting the appropriate participle in my Catholic school days, or delving into the case systems of Latin and Russian, I’ve always been uncommonly excited by the rules and regulations of the written word. I appreciate that I’m one of a select few for whom the mere mention of morphemes causes the pulse to race, but the beauty of language has a wide, loyal following—with the books to prove it. The titles below are just a few of many worthy overtures to language. To anyone who has balked at “their” in place of “there” or wondered about the origins of their mother tongue, these books are for you.

A Novel of Adventure, Romance, and a Long-Lost Family Fortune

When I first saw Justin Go’s novel The Steady Running of the Hour, the title piqued my interest. It seems the trend in publishing these days is to stay away from pithy language and instead look to longer titles—a convention that raises mixed emotions in me—but something about this title intrigued me and compelled me to give it a closer look. After a judicious reading of the description, the title and the conceit were enough to make me bump it up in my pleasure-reading queue, and I’m so glad I did.

The Darker Side of a Beloved Children’s Author

Roald Dahl was, for many years, only known to me as the author of children’s books I read in grade school. It was not until much later—college, in fact—that I learned he also wrote short stories. And not just any short stories, but wonderfully twisted, mature, chilling stories. Stories that had me checking the cover more than once to make absolutely certain they were by the very same Roald Dahl of James and the Giant Peach renown.

The Fascinating Biography that Took Alexander Hamilton to the Bright Lights of Broadway

Alexander Hamilton’s life is perhaps best known for its end: he was mortally wounded in a duel with political rival Aaron Burr. But his personal life and political achievements are fascinating, impressive, and—until recently—underappreciated. Here is a man who, though featured on our ten-dollar bill, many Americans know little about. I was certainly one of them.

10 Travel Memoirs to Take You Around the World

Experiencing a new place and a new culture leads to both outward and inward discovery. Set off on a literary adventure with these ten gorgeous travel memoirs that chronicle the authors’ exploration of their surroundings and themselves and allow you to travel the globe from the comfort of your cozy reading chair.

An Indictment and Celebration of Humanity in a War-Torn Nation

To begin, I ought to include a disclaimer: I am a glutton for dark and difficult reading. But no matter your tolerance for discomfort, The Corpse Exhibition: And Other Stories of Iraq by Hassan Blasim is an astounding work of literature.

America’s Historian: Celebrating David McCullough’s Fifty-Year Career

David McCullough has the gift of making any historical event fascinating and relatable. Through his vivid portraits of the larger-than-life personalities and events that have shaped our nation, McCullough offers an entertaining and informative window into the past. A two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, McCullough is celebrating fifty years with his publisher, Simon & Schuster, and fortunately for us all, he’s as prolific as he is talented. If you happen to be looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift, look no further, for here we celebrate ten of his highly acclaimed books that will convert anyone into a history buff.

A Hilarious and Unapologetically Irreverent Novel of Russia

“Germany is a good country . . . I’ve heard they wash the streets with shampoo there.”

Rosa Achmetowna is determined to get her family (and herself—really, mostly herself) out of the Soviet Union, and a marriage between her daughter and a visiting German national seems like the perfect plan. But this is not the first marriage plot Rosa has orchestrated. Her daughter, whom she mercilessly refers to as “stupid Sulfia,” has had two previous husbands, in large part due to Rosa’s manipulation.

These kinds of machinations are the heart of Alina Bronsky’s novel.

Get Book
Recommendations