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About the Author

Matthew Battles is the author of Library: An Unquiet History. He has written about language, technology, and history for such publications as The American Scholar, The Boston Sunday Globe, and Harper's.

Dictionary of Untranslatables

Reviews & Essays

Dictionary of Untranslatables

Reviewed by Matthew Battles ×

A friend once remarked that the Korean language has no word for salad. Instead, it uses saleodu, a Korean-inflected version of the English word. It occurred to me that by that logic,...
Sendak in the Library

In the Margin

Sendak in the Library

By Matthew Battles ×

A few years ago, Maurice Sendak gave a talk at the Harvard Library where I worked. Having recently assisted on the editorial periphery of one of his projects -- a klezmer...

The Sense of an Ending

Reviews & Essays

The Sense of an Ending

Reviewed by Matthew Battles ×

The Man Booker Prize-winning novel revolves around an unreliable narrator confronting secrets from his past.

Tove Jansson’s Art of Play

Reviews & Essays

Tove Jansson’s Art of Play

Essay by Matthew Battles ×

A sly -- and sometimes dark -- bohemianism infuses the grown-up fiction of the Moomintroll creator.

The First Detective

Reviews & Essays

The First Detective

Reviewed by Matthew Battles ×

How a former burglar and prison escape artist founded the police force as we know it.

The Beginners

Reviews & Essays

The Beginners

Reviewed by Matthew Battles ×

A teenager falls under the sway of a pair of uncanny new friends in this gothic coming-of-age story.

Centuries of June

Reviews & Essays

Centuries of June

Reviewed by Matthew Battles ×

In which a mysterious head wound leads a man on a dreamlike odyssey of interwoven tales.

Which "Aesthetics" Do You Mean?

Reviews & Essays

Which "Aesthetics" Do You Mean?

Reviewed by Matthew Battles ×

Leonard Koren offers a uniquely personal take onthe question of what defines the beautiful.

The Passages of H. M.

Reviews & Essays

The Passages of H. M.

Reviewed by Matthew Battles ×

 Whatdrove the author of Moby-Dick on hisvisionary quest?

The Killing of Crazy Horse

Reviews & Essays

The Killing of Crazy Horse

Reviewed by Matthew Battles ×

A look at the world of amyth-shrouded Sioux hero, and the continuing resonance of his life and death.

The Man Who Never Returned

Reviews & Essays

The Man Who Never Returned

Reviewed by Matthew Battles ×

A hard-boiled novel based on the mysterious disappearance of Judge Crater.

The Finger: A Handbook

Reviews & Essays

The Finger: A Handbook

Reviewed by Matthew Battles ×

A playful and pointed account of the means by which we make our contact with the world around us.