Columns > Books

Monday, August 21 2017

Sabahattin Ali’s ‘Madonna in a Fur Coat’: The Turkish Novel That Refuses to Die

Maureen Freely, president of English PEN, talks with PopMatters about this slim, decades-old romance that has emerged as a symbol of resistance in the face of brutal state repression.


Thursday, August 17 2017

Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and Myth, Truth, and Anger

Daniel Wolff examines how one tragedy in 1913 Calumet Michigan survived through the anger of topical folk music to be told by self-mythologized characters Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan.


Tuesday, August 8 2017

You May Be Black or You May Be White But in Africa You’re an American First

David Peterson del Mar explores a creation myth for a nation of black people still searching for personal and collective terra firma.


Monday, August 7 2017

Lost Chords, Major Chords, Minor Chords, Dissonant Counter-melodies: ‘Dreaming the Beatles’

This biography of the Beatles illustrates how their personality dynamics served as both a necessary elixir and an addictive poison in the creation of their music.


Friday, August 4 2017

Remembering (and Reliving) the Bombing of Hiroshima With Keiji Nakazawa’s ‘Barefoot Gen’

The seminal manga of Hiroshima's atomic bombing and aftermath remains an essential reminder of the horrors of war and atomic bombs.


Wednesday, August 2 2017

Small Beauty, Big Ideas: A Conversation with Lambda Award Winner Jia Qing Wilson-Yang

‘Best Transgender Fiction’ winner’s work challenges Can-Lit and the representation of identity.


Monday, July 31 2017

On ‘Art Sex Music’ and Working as an Avant-Garde Artist With Genesis P-Orridge

Throbbing Gristle and COUM Transmissions' Cosey Fanni Tutti's autobiography reminds us that the destructive forces of misogyny and exploitation infiltrate even the most admired of forward-thinking movements.


Friday, July 28 2017

‘What She Ate’ Illustrates How Food Can Shift Balances of Power in Surprising Ways

Laura Shapiro’s portraits alternate between a female’s sense of rebelliousness and capitulation in the struggle for food sovereignty.


Thursday, July 27 2017

How to Ruin a University Without Really Trying

As Stefan Collini discusses in Speaking of Universities, none of the things universities aim to do -- from educating people to achieving research breakthroughs -- can be achieved under the conditions they’re increasingly being made to conform to.


Wednesday, July 19 2017

Everything Was Fake: ‘Flaubert in the Ruins of Paris’

In the wake of the 'Terrible Year', Flaubert railed against the "stupidity" of his fellow citizens. Are we any smarter 150 years later?


Tuesday, July 18 2017

Our Times of Political Turmoil and Upheaval Call for Grace Paley’s Astute Criticism

A Grace Paley Reader is a powerful, captivating, and extremely relevant survey of Paley’s work from the field. It's a fine example of the personal as political.


Monday, July 17 2017

Poetry, Art, and the New Spirit of Capitalism

Poet and critic Jasper Bernes seeks nothing less than a complete reconsideration of poetry and art over the past 50 years in this book, which heralds the appearance of an important new voice in criticism.


Friday, June 30 2017

Alan Alda’s ‘If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?’

Alan Alda wonders, could scientists become more personable and available if they studied the art of improvisation?


Monday, June 26 2017

China Mieville’s ‘October’: The Bolsheviks Are Back in Vogue

What was the secret of the Russian Revolution? What lessons -- both positive and negative -- does it hold for the present day?


Tuesday, June 20 2017

‘Flavor’: It’s Not on the Tip of Your Tongue

Do you think cilantro tastes like soap? Do you ever get a hit of barnyard off a fine Bordeaux? Flavor will end up taking wine snobs down a peg while lifting up everyone else.


Friday, June 9 2017

Fried Green Tomatoes in the Rubyfruit Jungle

Although their writing styles and life experiences differ greatly, Fannie Flagg and Rita Mae Brown each has illuminated what it means to be a woman -- and a lesbian -- in contemporary American society.


Thursday, June 8 2017

Life in the Interzone in Old Shanghai

The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai and Flowers of Shanghai capture a William S. Borroughs-like Interzone in Old Shanghai.


Wednesday, June 7 2017

Jazz, Cocktails, and the Overlooked Players of Film Noir

A noir protagonist usually finds himself encountering a new danger around each corner. A jazz musician, in venturing into the throes of an intricate composition, must also anticipate the unknown.


The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the Continuing High Cost of Fashion

The poor workplace conditions that led to this tragedy have been outsourced to places like Bangladesh, where similar factory tragedies happened as recently as 2013.


Tuesday, June 6 2017

‘Bop Apocalypse’: What Happened When the Beats and the Boppers Set Out to Change the World

Fifites' jazz and the Beat Generation are often linked. Aside from the drug use, however, this new book on the history begs to differ.


//Mixed media
//Blogs

Authenticity Issues and the New Intimacies

// Marginal Utility

"The social-media companies have largely succeeded in persuading users of their platforms' neutrality. What we fail to see is that these new identities are no less contingent and dictated to us then the ones circumscribed by tradition; only now the constraints are imposed by for-profit companies in explicit service of gain.

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