CFP: The Legacy of Radiohead's 'The Bends' 20 Years On [Deadlines: 29 Jan / 12 Feb]

The Amazing Pudding

Sunday, January 1 1995

Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem

While some of us claim to have a mind-body problem, Lionel Essrog, the anti-hero of [Jonathan Lethem's] 'Motherless Brooklyn' and a sufferer of Tourette's syndrome, has a more fundamental quandary: a mind-mind problem.


The Mouse That Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence by Henry A. Giroux

Disney seems pretty vigilant about separating the animated Disney features from the more adult Touchstone features (although I wonder how well a 'Pretty Woman'-themed ride would be received).


Mainly About Lindsay Anderson by Gavin Lambert

While 'If' concludes with change wrought through the barrel of a gun, what lingers about the film is the breadth of Anderson's imagination and the passion with which he at the same time savages and memorializes the environment of his youth.


The Man Who Grew Young by Daniel Quinn

If the universe expands and contracts like a yo-yo, what effect does that have on time and its relationship to humanity? We would all wind up living our lives in reverse.


The Modern Fantastic: The Films of David Cronenberg by Michael Grant

The utility of the majority of the essays is limited, hardly explaining the film (or films) that the authors attempt to unravel, and doing little to explain science fiction/horror films or Cronenberg's oeuvre.


Mind the Doors by Zinovy Zinik

[Zinovy Zinik's stories] seem to fall on the line where surrealism and magical realism collide, where the waking world is still the dream.


A Massive Swelling. Celebrity Re-Examined As A Grotesque Crippling Disease by Cintra Wilson

If she [Wilson] acknowledged more often how the obsession with celebrity results from such systematic social inequities, 'A Massive Swelling' would be something other than an occasionally amusing but ultimately unsatisfying exercise in attitude.


Material Matters:  Appliqués by the Weya Women of Zimbabwe and Needlework by South African Coll

The stories told in the appliqués are about AIDS, unemployment, crime, wife-beating, and baby-dumping. They're strong, gutsy and don't pull punches. These are appliqués with balls.


Men at Play: A Working Understanding of Professional Hockey by Michael Robidoux

The story [Michael Robidoux] presents is shocking, describing the daily life of the average hockey player in a world that relies upon the strict socialization of young Canadian boys, often 13 and 14 years old, into a system run by multibillion-dollar corporations that depend upon young men to skate around on fake ice and physically beat the crap out of each other.


Labyrinth of Desire:  Women, Passion and Romantic Obsession by Rosemary Sullivan

Like desire itself, her prose and her message are not always comfortable. They aren't easy to hear, and although she reserves her text for discussion by and for women, it has many implications for everyone who has ever obsessed or desired another.


The Language of Comics: Word and Image Edited by Robin Varnum and Christina T. Gibbons

If comics are words and images together, then logically (Logic? Comics? Together? Dogs driving trucks? Madness!) the words can follow the images (or verse visa) sequentially or 'in the readers head' to make a sequence of 'images.'"


The Last Madam: A Life in the New Orleans Underworld by Christine Wiltz

Norma Wallace and her operations are presented as a historical force that fused crime and punishment, high culture and low culture together during a period of New Orleans history when below the belt was above the law.


The Lantern Bearers by Ronald Frame

Ronald Frame creates an eerie story rapt with betrayal, envy and obsession.


Lester Leaps: The Life and Times of Lester ‘Pres’ Young In by Douglas Henry Daniels- PopMatters Book

He was bop before bop was hip and could swing with the best of them.


Lowell Limpett and Two Short Stories by Ward Just

According to Ward Just, one day he sat down a novelist and got up a playwright. It wasn't really that simple. With 'Lowell Limpett', Ward Just makes it seem that way.


Looking For Poetry: Poems by Carlos Drummond de Andrade and Rafael Alberti, with Songs from the Quec

We see a pretty fair representation of the urges and circumstances of our planet in April 2002.


Love Her Madly by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith

Has more twists and turns in it than a Texas sidewinder, and just about as much bite and venom, too.


Looking For Andrew McCarthy by Jenny Colgan

Similarities to 'Bridget Jones' are plentiful.


The Late Great Johnny Ace And The Transition From R&B To Rock ‘n’ Roll by James M. Salem

Johnny Ace's influence on the development of American music was, if not quite as seismic as Elvis Presley's, an essential element in the creation of the musical revolution of the mid-Fifties.


Liberty’s Excess by Lidia Yuknavitch

The body is Yuknavitch's medium, and she puts it through its paces here. Her most powerful stories subject their protagonists to extremes of delight and torment -- when these characters feel, they feel in spades.


Kamikaze Lust by Lauren Sanders

Forging identities is seductive, but in the end it's a zero-sum game, unless one is willing to weld the new persona to the old circumstances, a point Lauren Sanders makes eloquently and insightfully in 'Kamikaze Lust'.


Jerusalem Calling: A Homeless Conscience in a Post-Everything World by Mark Desrosiers

The book combines tweedy rant with engaging memoir to reveal a refreshingly cynical, cloyingly elitist, and analytically Marxist point of view.


John Huston: Interviews by Robert Emmet Long

Huston is revealed as a seamless whole, tough guy and gentleman of culture, one of the last of the Renaissance Men.


I Almost Killed George Burns!  And Other Gut-Splitting Tales From the World’s Greatest Comedy Event

Explains how humor is manufactured, packaged, and delivered to the masses.


The Iowa Award: The Best Stories, 1991 - 2000 by Frank Conroy

Reading this book, it is easy to imagine a world where good writing sells, where the notion of story reigns supreme, and where the artful gesture is appreciated, even coveted.


In Our Own Words: A Generation Defining Itself by Marlow Peerse Weaver, ed.

...calls upon writers all over the world born between the years 1960 and 1982 to express the thoughts, hopes, fears, and concerns of 'Generation X', now that they're old enough to qualify for nostalgia.


The IV Lounge Reader by Paul Vermeersch, ed.

This book, like a jewel made more interesting by flaws, is unique because we see authors genuinely struggling with the material to make it work. It is vital and alive.


The Inflatable Butch: New Funny Stuff by Ellen Orleans

Each story winds up with some kind of larger-picture statement about lesbian life, yet it falls short because you just can't sum up something universal about lesbian life in a two-page quip.


I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dyson illuminates the complexities of King’s identity and challenges the boundaries in which King and his legacy have been forced to inhabit because of desires on the part of the King family, traditional Civil Rights leaders, and the mass media to neuter (pun, absolutely intended) his persona and his politics.


In Therapy We Trust: America’s Obsessions with Self-Fulfillment by Eva S. Moskowitz

I do not knock the importance of counseling for people with serious problems... [but] only a culture like ours can develop on-line therapeutic support systems and then diagnose Internet Addiction Disorder.


In the Box Called Pleasure by Kim Addonizio

Wild women, alcoholics, sluts, masochists, the lustful and the ravaged populate these stories with a vengeance -- not necessarily a political one, but a human one that demands that these realities be exposed and explored.


Here To Go: Brion Gysin by Terry Wilson and Brion Gysin

Gysin deserves much better treatment than relegation to a footnote in the history of the Beats, much more consideration than simply as a 'friend of Bill'.


Henderson’s Spear by Ronald Wright

These critiques, however, are as close as you can come to having too much of a good thing. 'Henderson's Spear' is a fascinating tale that teaches its readers small lessons about Polynesian life, the British royalty and the Korean war effortlessly without seeming overstuffed.


The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami

[Expatriate Indian] writers -- among others -- cannot write as 'South Asians' or about India without encountering controversies over authenticity that push and prod the author to define, albeit reluctantly, a national identity. Perhaps the only way to truly answer the question of identity is by refusing to answer at all, or answering only with the condition that the interrogator be thoroughly comfortable with hyphens.


The Holocaust’s Ghost: Writings on Art, Politics, Law and Education by F.C. DeCoste and Bernard Schw

After many generations of being inculcated with 'real' television and movie reels, we have found the Holocaust equivalent to less than fiction - a reified historical memory that frequently appears in our lives through various media outlets and forms, but little more.


Hell’s Kitchen by Chris Niles

Niles applies her brilliant one-liners to play havoc with are our pop-culture silliness.


History of Suicide: Voluntary Death in Western Culture by Georges Minois

While it sure isn't beach reading, Georges Minois's 'History of Suicide' isn't nearly as dark nor depressing a book as one might think. Which isn't necessarily a good thing.


The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America by Lawrence Epstein

Even as Jews were earnestly absorbing American life, they were twisting popular culture to reflect their own fear of alienation.


Habeas Codfish: Reflections on Food and the Law by Barry M. Levenson

Most of the people here in Madison are like everyone else in the state: Packer lovin', Milwaukee avoidin', fried cheese curd eatin' 'Sconsinites, and that's that.


Heart of the Old Country by Tim McLoughlin

Tim McLoughlin's 'Heart of the Old Country' exposes the soul inside the seamy underbelly of New York. It's a gritty slice of life drawn from McLoughlin's experiences, as he reveals in an interview with 'PopMatters'.


High Drama in Fabulous Toledo by Lily James

The central unifier involves a computer programmer who leaves the Novell basement of Unix realtime and attempts to blend into corporate culture, thinking the 1950s ideal man is what he needs to emulate. Knowing he is socially illiterate, he figures the only way to acquire a wife is by taking a woman hostage. [Review and interview with Lily James, author of 'High Drama in Fabulous Toledo'].


Greatest Hits, 1975-2000 by Joel E. Chace

[T]he mystery becomes, really, two mysteries: how someone so apparently skilled and dedicated to a life of writing poetry can fall so far; and second, why?"


Glued to the Tube: The Diary of My Week in TV Hell. 200 Channels, No Escape by Bill Brownstein

There are more painful pursuits of a week's time than sitting with a 200-channel television from the early rays of the morning to the dark crevices of twilight.


Girl Beside Him by Cris Mazza

The dialogue is fast-paced, the narrative engages the reader, and Mazza rarely dwells on minute details. She also gives the reader a chance to feel superior to her characters by creating a group that is as emotionally evolved as a concrete chicken.


Generation Fetish by Lee Higgs; The Beauty of Fetish Vol II by Steve Diet Goedde; Secret Space: The

Bondage is represented in many images, but as an adornment and an enhancement rather than as a means of subjection and degradation. Kenneth Tynan, the English theatre critic, and a lifelong devotee of bondage and sado-masochism, remarked that pain is not, as Freud assumed, the masochist's source of pleasure: it is the unpleasant but necessary side effect of fully embodying a masochistic fantasy.


Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America’s Premier Mental Hospital by Alex Beam

How can a book about mental hospitals and wacky rock stars/geniuses be anything 'but' interesting?"


GoTo by Steve Lohr

The story of computer languages is really the story of rock 'n' roll. It's the story of the exodus out from under the iron fist of early computing Rat Pack.


Gunman’s Rhapsody by Robert B. Parker

Next time Robert B. Parker decides to time-travel, especially when mucking about with mythology, he'd be well-advised to bring his 'old' shooting-irons with him.


The Ghastly One. The Sex-Gore Netherworld of Filmmaker Andy Milligan by Jimmy McDonough

Jimmy McDonough at one point describes Andy Milligan as 'one of those creatures who ride the midnight train, come from the land of the screaming skulls.' Even though we may not wish to take a journey on that vehicle or experience the territory from where it came, the ride is one I will not soon forget.


Fool’s Gold by Jane S. Smith

PULL.


Freakshow: Misadventures in the Counter-culture by Albert Goldman

By the end of an absorbing piece, Goldman concludes that rock acts 'like a magnet, drawing into its field a host of heterogeneous materials that has fallen quickly into patterns. No other cultural force in modern times has possessed its power of synthesis'.


PopMatters Books Review - University of Illinois Press: French Film Guides


Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist (The Gonzo Letters, volume

'Fear and Loathing in America' . . . helps distinguish the difference between a writer and the work, which has always been a source of aggravation for Thompson. . . the general assumption was that because he 'wrote' about being stoned, he always 'was'.


The Fish Can Sing by Halldór Laxness

... not only an important work by a Nobel laureate who brought his modern country lasting literary fame, but also the fascinating voice of an earlier, more insular Iceland.


Fixer Chao by Han Ong

Feng Shui is the so-called ancient Chinese art of arranging one's environment to promote peace and prosperity. Its popularity among the well-to-do in this country speaks volumes about how certain kinds of knowledge, including quasi-knowledge, are appropriated and consumed by different social classes. This is what makes 'Fixer Chao' so timely and worthwhile.


Falun Gong’s Challenge to China: Spiritual Practice or “Evil Cult”? by Danny Schechter

It's almost unbelievable, the scope of these abuses, and the sheer insanity of the accusations being made -- how on earth could a seventy-year-old grandmother, a former school principal and lifetime Communist Party member, be considered a 'dangerous revolutionary?'"


Fearless Jones by Walter Mosley

Punctuated by illicit sexual forays, bursts of rage, terse interpretations of 1950s middle-class Caucasian Judeo-Christian priorities, and a few songs of the Old South, 'Fearless Jones' leaves very few stones unturned.


Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

As all-American as anything you can name, fast food has become a serious staple of our daily life and created a cult of franchises that extends into the clothing industry and beyond.


Fault Lines: Stories of Divorce by Caitlin Shetterly, editor

The Iwo Jima Memorial or the Wall at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial hasn't ended human conflict. But we do need those memorials, and we need these stories, if only to look at the names that hover in the shimmering black surface.


The First Measured Century: An Illustrated Guide to Trends in America, 1900-2000 by Theodore Caplow

During the course of the twentieth century - the first 'measured' entury - Americans became the most ambitious measurers of social life ever. All one has to do is open a newspaper or turn on the radio or television to find out just how our lives are affected, if not dictated, by key trends as a result of statistics.


FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio by Richard Neer- PopMatters Book Review

The 'anything goes' attitude held by the DJs led to a variety of music being heard on stations in the early '70s that is unheard of today; what with 20 song playlists, marketing pushes from huge recording conglomerates on a small cadre of 'artists', and music produced by machines instead of instruments of wood and steel.


Flash Fortune by Todd Hayes

This week 'PopMatters' debuts a new feature, an irregular column devoted to issues on the electronic publishing frontier. In the first installment, Paul Sibley reviews Todd Hayes' 'Flash Fortune' and gives us a primer on the pros and cons of the e-book.


The Films of Lon Chaney by Michael F. Blake

A valuable reference tool for fans of the cinema and of Chaney.


The Fast Red Road - a Plainsong by Stephen Graham Jones

The Southwest of 'The Fast Red Road' is similar to Burroughs's Tangier, a place filled with shady characters and a native magic that bends its inhabitants to the edge of reality.


Esther’s Pillow by Marlin Fitzwater

Former White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater rows across the river of historical fiction with both oars in the water. As the quintessential media man, Fitzwater can sure write the story. This time, though, his stake in his new novel, 'Esther's Pillow', is personal, as he reveals in an interview with 'PopMatters'.


Ernst Lubitsch: Laughter in Paradise by Scott Eyman

Arguably the father of the musical and romantic comedy, Lubitsch brought an optimistic and practiced eye to the budding silver screen.


Earl Hooker Bluesmaster by Sebastian Danchin

Poverty, ill-health, endless one-night bookings, and little critical or financial reward characterised Earl Hooker's life. In the midst of all of this he established himself as Chicago's premier guitarist in a career of constant gigging and far too few recordings. This is a tale of art, barely recognised, blossoming in the face of hardship and suffering. This is the blues.


Empire Falls by Richard Russo

Richard Russo has been quietly building his reputation as one of America's better novelists, not by writing the ever-elusive 'Great American Novel' but by writing novels about life in small towns filled with characters who have real concerns and real struggles, and who are so deftly drawn that we forget we are reading a book at all.


The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq

Writing for the 'New York Times', Anthony Quinn summed up 'The Elementary Particles' as a 'bilious, hysterical and oddly juvenile book.' Michiko Kakutani's judgement is even more devastatingly succinct: 'It is a deeply repugnant read.' Naturally, I could hardly wait to begin.


Extra Innings: Writing on Baseball by Richard Peterson

I wouldn't give this one much more than a handshake unless I was very well-read and madly in love with baseball.


Esther’s Pillow by Marlin Fitzwater

Former White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater rows across the river of historical fiction with both oars in the water. As the quintessential media man, Fitzwater can sure write the story. This time, though, his stake in his new novel, 'Esther's Pillow', is personal, as he reveals in an interview with 'PopMatters'.


Ernst Lubitsch: Laughter in Paradise by Scott Eyman

Arguably the father of the musical and romantic comedy, Lubitsch brought an optimistic and practiced eye to the budding silver screen.


Earl Hooker Bluesmaster by Sebastian Danchin

Poverty, ill-health, endless one-night bookings, and little critical or financial reward characterised Earl Hooker's life. In the midst of all of this he established himself as Chicago's premier guitarist in a career of constant gigging and far too few recordings. This is a tale of art, barely recognised, blossoming in the face of hardship and suffering. This is the blues.


Empire Falls by Richard Russo

Richard Russo has been quietly building his reputation as one of America's better novelists, not by writing the ever-elusive 'Great American Novel' but by writing novels about life in small towns filled with characters who have real concerns and real struggles, and who are so deftly drawn that we forget we are reading a book at all.


The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq

Writing for the 'New York Times', Anthony Quinn summed up 'The Elementary Particles' as a 'bilious, hysterical and oddly juvenile book.' Michiko Kakutani's judgement is even more devastatingly succinct: 'It is a deeply repugnant read.' Naturally, I could hardly wait to begin.


Extra Innings: Writing on Baseball by Richard Peterson

I wouldn't give this one much more than a handshake unless I was very well-read and madly in love with baseball.


The Days of the Bitter End by Jack Engelhard

Each day that lives in infamy presents a new criteria for learning, an opportunity for reflection. No act of terrorism, no defining historical moment, stands alone. When the prize is the American dream, the fight can be both devastating and exhilarating.


The Desirable Body:  Cultural Fetishism and the Erotics of Consumption by Jon Stratton

The Desirable Body can give the reader a handle on why Impressionism was such a dynamic earth-shattering movement; on the difficult issues which the birth of photography presented; on the role play of blue movies and other titillating visual culture which was for many years relegated to hidden places; and on the presence of the gynoid in sexually aware society.


Darwinizing Culture: The State of Memetics as a Science by Robert Aunger (editor)

. . . is at once the reiteration and clarification of memetic theory.


A Density of Souls by Christopher Rice

. . . by young writer Christopher Rice (progeny of gothic writer Anne Rice and poet and painter Stan Rice), is a mystery and gay-coming-of-age story that is powered, in part, by the current of hate pulsing through America.


The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Motley Crue, with Neil Strauss

[Motley Crue's The Dirt] and its candid tales of porn stars, overdoses, and glam-metal makes the sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll memories of other bands seem almost as sweet and innocent as that book by Britney Spears and her mother.


Dark Universe by William F. Nolan

PULL.


Interview with John Shirley

Alternately disturbing, depressing, bleak, and painful, these stories are bound together by an acute observation of the shadows of the human soul, which makes them so powerful and compelling.


Dogwalker by Arthur Bradford

Each story confronts us with a certain oddity or malformation, which is treated in such a childlike, open-eyed way that the narration renders these subjects almost absurdly normal.


Deadlock: The Inside Story of America’s Closest Election by David Von Drehle

It's flash history created by the instant-gratification culture of Internet analysis and sound-bite news. One fears that, to the general public, source is irrelevant, content is king. But there exists a subversive group of individuals who want to know how information was attained, the validity of the source, the bias of the reporter.


Dreamcatcher by Stephen King

This isn't going to be the book you'll hand to someone who's never read King before, but it may be one for the die-hard King fans, if only to see him make up for the alien-ridden debacle of 'Tommyknockers'.


Darkness Divided by John Shirley

Alternately disturbing, depressing, bleak, and painful, these stories are bound together by an acute observation of the shadows of the human soul, which makes them so powerful and compelling.


Destroy All Monsters by Ken Hollings

Expands upon this fusion of high and low culture, using mass-media tropes to elaborate on endlessly dense themes. The novel is most easily summarized as an 'alternative history,' a what-if scenario.


The Donald Richie Reader: 50 Years of Writing on Japan by Donald Richie (edited by Arturo Silva)

Throughout his work one point is central: the greatest contrast and point of confusion between the Japanese and Westerners lies in their respective concepts of the surface of things. While Westerners are wary to a fault, distrusting surfaces and ever obsessed with the true meaning behind them, the Japanese exist in an eternal 'now' that renders all of their expressions true.


A Cormac McCarthy Companion: The Border Trilogy by Edwin T. Arnold & Dianne C. Luce, eds.

In the 1990s, this community of McCarthy fans extended its territory into the world of the American academy with the establishment of something called, in this volume, 'McCarthy studies', practised by a weird enclave of literary critics and pop cultural historians who, judging by the essays here, are immersed in the intricacies of their intellectual obsession.


The Cornelius Quartet by Michael Moorcock

A virtual cipher of a character, and his adventures are prolonged studies in existential action.


Crypto Anarchy, Cyberstates, and Pirate Utopias by Peter Ludlow

Essentially, Ludlow is pointing out that an entirely radical social perspective on governance and freedom rests behind the more mundane facts of the Internet explosion.


Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2015 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.