Friday, June 6 2014
With the publication of his third novel, Tash Aw's celebrity status is now assured. But do the books equal the hype?
Friday, May 30 2014
What was Van Vechten really writing about during the Harlem Renaissance; black culture as it existed in its own right, or how he viewed it through his own complicated prism?
Thursday, May 29 2014
Riot grrrls wrote, recorded and produced a wealth of cultural objects. They left trails of scribbles, screams and lipstick traces in MP3 blogs and online archives, awaiting release.
Friday, May 23 2014
What happens when magical thinking really consumes a person or even a society?
Monday, March 31 2014
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
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
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
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
Berryman, Carver, Cheever, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Williams; none could tend the flame of their talent with anything but liquor and devastation.
Friday, February 28 2014
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
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
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 was more than entertainment for black America. It was inspiration and validation. Questlove gives us another ride.
Friday, January 17 2014
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
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
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
Comics is an ideal medium for showing memory, time and mind, as having "physical dimensions".
Wednesday, November 27 2013
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
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
Both Elements of a Life and A Life Worth Living offer concise, eloquent, and learned treatments of the life and work of Albert Camus.