Call for Feature Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

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Monday, Mar 31, 2014
For a medium that prides itself on pushing the visual edges, here we find exposition rather than fancy, and monochrome in place of color, words, yes, but no images.

I usually avoid talking about the book review process as part of my reviews. I also try to avoid using “I”. But in this case, I find it necessary.


I had great hopes for Videogames and Art, edited by Andy Clarke and Grethe Mitchell and the editorial teams at Intellect and University of Chicago Press. The cover offered a promising abstract of wireframes and printed circuits with some sort of connected activity generating a mass of three-dimensional connective tissue spewing from the circuitry.


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Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013
This is intended to appeal to Beatle fanatics, though it offers little in the way of new insights, facts, and stories.

To my mind, there are two main categories of Beatle fans. There are the certified fanatics; those fans who can tell you exactly when and where John and Paul first met, Ringo’s mother’s maiden name, and can recite every lyric on every album verbatim. Then there are the more casual fans; people who regularly listen to Abbey Road, and who may have even seen Paul in concert, but have neither the time nor the inclination to join the ranks of the obsessed fanatics with an appetite for the most obscure of Beatles trivia.


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Friday, Jul 19, 2013
Conversations With Myself is a collage of important moments that provide an intensely realistic portrayal of an amazing man.

In view of his recent health problems, I was drawn once again to the wonder that is the story of Nelson Mandela’s life, but instead of reading his autobiography I decided on a new release that is perhaps even more personal. Consciously titled Conversations With Myself, is a book made solely of Mandela’s letters and recordings. Reading it feels a bit like spying on someone’s private diary, full of moments that differ on importance but end up providing a truthful portrait of a man who refuses to be viewed as a legend.


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Tuesday, Jun 18, 2013
Marc Dugain's novella about a soldier wounded in WWI has probably never been more relevant than now.

Given the many American servicemen and women who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan disfigured, Marc Dugain’s The Officer’s Ward is painfully relevant in these times. Dugain has written an excellent, thought-provoking novella that will appeal to any sensitive audience, but especially to those involved with injured and mutilated veterans or in the field of disability studies.


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Friday, Jun 14, 2013
Sometimes the value of a book is far more than the price of the book.

This is the case with Peter Trachtenberg’s beautiful and disturbing The Book of Calamities, which makes greater demands on your emotional capital than on your economic capital. Trachtenberg takes the reader from Ground Zero to Rwanda, from upstate New York hospitals to New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina.


Still, if the stories—testimonies, really—that make up a great part of the book are poignant and horrifying, they are also inspiring.


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