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Monday, March 31 2014

Civilized Murders: An Interview with Hugh Fleetwood

Hugh Fleetwood's chilling and dark mysteries deal with psychologically damaged characters, ones whose actions are usually the result of some personality disorder often undisclosed to everyone but the reader.


Friday, March 28 2014

‘The Age of Atheists’ Considers That Beyond Reason or Religion, Our Quest for Meaning Endures

Who will choose this enriching and rewarding removal from reality TV and manufactured distraction? Who will walk the course mapped in these heady pages, along a sobering path of self-awareness of our fragile presence surrounded by darkness and mystery?


Tuesday, March 18 2014

A New Book Calls for a More Activist Black Church—But That Might Be Easier Said Than Done

The difference between churches of service and activism is seen by the degree to which they hold to the philosophies of black theology, a school of religious thought that emerged in the wake of the racial tumult of the ‘60s.


Monday, March 17 2014

In Defense Of ... Reading Books, Not E-Readers

Even if an e-reader might be more practical than a heavy book, there isn't an electronic screen on the planet that rivals the prestige attached to such a time-tested medium.


Monday, March 10 2014

The Drowning Pool: When Great Writers Are Drunks

Berryman, Carver, Cheever, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Williams; none could tend the flame of their talent with anything but liquor and devastation.


Friday, February 28 2014

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

Uncharted puts the "big data" of Google Books through the lens of a tool called Ngram, but the meaning of the results, and even their validity, turn a great read into a cautionary tale.


Tuesday, February 11 2014

What Would Thomas Pynchon Do?

Like his protagonists, Thomas Pynchon appears to remind us, in his absence from advising us, that we must rely on our own smarts, arrayed against mystery and cynicism and corruption.


Tuesday, February 4 2014

“The Goodness of Privacy in a Warm Room with Books”

We all search for escape, and while music, drugs, radicalism, or fame may ease the monotony, the protagonists of so many of these tales find themselves at the end of their narratives still constrained.


Tuesday, January 28 2014

Soul Train: The Hippest Nostalgia Trip in America

Soul Train was more than entertainment for black America. It was inspiration and validation. Questlove gives us another ride.


Friday, January 17 2014

A Lot of Good Books Published in 2013 Kept Me Awake at Night

The year 2013 saw a rash of big new books published, from the likes of Stephen King, Malcolm Gladwell, and David Sedaris; none of whom made this list.


Wednesday, January 15 2014

Fiction Had Appeal and Poetry Captured Me, but Non-Fiction Proved Irresistible in 2013

Art, politics, poetry, food, and global fiction: 2013 year brought in a variety of engaging titles from many genres. Still, non-fiction tops my 2013 favorites.


Monday, January 13 2014

2013 Was a Fine Year to Have Your Head In a Book

Five books published in 2013 that stayed with me, that I found myself urging on others, that I now say to you, Hey! Read this!


Monday, January 6 2014

Walking Through the Space of Childhood: Geneviève Castrée’s ‘Susceptible’

Comics is an ideal medium for showing memory, time and mind, as having "physical dimensions".


Wednesday, November 27 2013

Around the World in 40 Books: From the Dog’s POV to the Novel-as-Peyote

My ramblings about reading are so valued that I'm now a big star in Tanzania. On my recent whirlwind tour I was mobbed at the airport and carried about on people's shoulders.


Monday, November 25 2013

In ‘Imperial’ Vollmann Struggles to Understand the Salton Sea as He Would a Mark Rothko Painting

Here as in all his works, William T. Vollman sides with the poor and the marginalized, but he tries to remain fair to all he meets, even as he confesses his prejudice, or tolerance.


Friday, November 22 2013

Albert Camus and the Universal Quality of Human Dignity

Both Elements of a Life and A Life Worth Living offer concise, eloquent, and learned treatments of the life and work of Albert Camus.


Friday, November 15 2013

John Updike Gives the Mundane Its Beautiful Due

Depending on whom you listen to, God, or the devil, is in the details, and that's exactly where John Updike's talent lies, too.


Thursday, November 14 2013

What If God Doesn’t Hate Fags After All?

Both James Alexander Langteaux and Mary Griffith have become leading voices in the discussion about how one can align a deeply personal relationship with God and support the LGBT community. Yet, neither wanted the job.


Tuesday, November 5 2013

Big Books vs Small Minds: The Intellectual & Literal Heft of ‘Night Film’ & ‘A Naked Singularity’

Marisha Pessl and Sergio de la Pava have both found success with novels that are defiant in their length and ambition. Yet critical and editorial prejudice against their 'Bigness' -- in scope and heft -- won't budge.


Tuesday, October 22 2013

How That Flawed Man Flew: Beyond the Myth of Charlie Parker

Chuck Haddix's new biography of the great alto saxophonist unearths fresh details of his early life—and helps us to see more clearly his genius and his tragedy.


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