The New York Times

By the Book: Calvin Trillin

Hold for release: This article may not be posted online, broadcast or published before 12:01 a.m. Eastern on Sunday, July 23, 2017.


Q: What books are on your night stand now?

A: “The Underground Railroad,” by Colson Whitehead; “My Darling Detective,” by Howard Norman; and “The Sellout,” by Paul Beatty.

“The Underground Railroad” has been on my night stand for a while. It had a terrific reception, but I hesitated about beginning it because of reading that it has some elements of magic realism. As a reader, I’m pretty earthbound — resistant to the magical or to changes in history or to leaps into the next century. (Yes, of course, there are books that have broken through that resistance — Philip Roth’s “The Plot Against America,” for instance, and W.P. Kinsella’s “Shoeless Joe” and Alan Bennett’s “The Uncommon Reader.”) Now my reading group has selected “The Underground Railroad” as our next book,

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