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Thursday, March 11 2010

Tupac Shakur: An Icon in Context

How do you tell the story of Tupac Shakur? One book tries connecting his life, and sometimes his music, to the social and historical climate of the times.


Tuesday, March 9 2010

Creator: Various

In comics not everyone can write nor draw (nor ink, color nor letter). So, there will always be 'great' works that cannot be attributed to a single talented contributor.


Sunday, March 7 2010

The German Issue: Still Straddling the Berlin Wall

The German Issue provides us with a time capsule from a very different era, but so much of its content remains pertinent.


Monday, March 1 2010

Raymond Carver: A Writer’s Life

We so want our geniuses to be perfect people. Or at least nice people -- and so often they aren’t.


Thursday, February 25 2010

Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places

Sociologist Sharon Zukin looks at the forces at play in some of the cooler neighborhoods of New York in this update of Jane Jacobs and the principles of urban revitalization for the 21st century.


Wednesday, February 24 2010

A Common Pornography

As in any existence, there are themes that become fully apparent only in retrospect; in Sampsell’s case, as with most of us, these overwhelming but at first hard-to-discern influences are embodied in family.


Tuesday, February 23 2010

Übermensch and Übermonk

Adrian Monk is slave to his obsessions, but he’s the master of his self. He's possibly even the master of the future of humanity.


Monday, February 22 2010

Chéri: Out of the Boudoir

Frears and Hampton puts the viewer into Chéri in a very real and sensual manner, paying homage to Collette's luxuriant corporeal details.


Sunday, February 21 2010

Howard Zinn: The Dying of a Light

A tribute to the signature interwar polymath: the historian, activist, dramatist, dockyard worker and teacher Howard Zinn.


Thursday, February 18 2010

The Digital Surplus and Its Enemies

While we are building identity in social networks, our online behavior generates a plenitude of information, meanings and content that constitutes a "cognitive surplus" generated by the "hive mind".


Wednesday, February 17 2010

Pop Gluttony

I am choosy about what I eat, but continue to chow down on an unfettered pop culture diet as the last great excess that won’t kill me.


Wednesday, February 10 2010

Why I Dislike ‘Rye’: Not be-Holden to Salinger’s ‘Catcher’

'Catcher in the Rye' is a great novel, but it’s not good. When you're more Ferris Bueller than Holden Caulfield, it's hard to relate to his alienation -- no matter how much teachers want you to.


Thursday, February 4 2010

Orson Welles: A Man of a Certain Ego

“The chief proof of a man’s real greatness lies in his perception of his own smallness. It argues... a power of comparison and of appreciation which is in itself proof of nobility.”


Sunday, January 31 2010

The Lives of Others

There's a higher ratio of disposable schlock in the memoir than in other literary genres, but the best memoirs permit access to lives strange, twisted, wasted, brave, and glorious -- lives, in short, other than our own.


Wednesday, January 27 2010

The Ice Storm: America Out in the Cold

Ang Lee captures the '70s on film the way Rick Moody captures the era in the book The Ice Storm. It's the midst of the sexual revolution, the Watergate scandal is erupting, and the country's social consciousness is changing.


Sunday, January 24 2010

Barrelhouse Words: A Blues Dialect Dictionary

Without this guide "jack stropper" (someone who's trying to steal your woman), "dead cat on the line" (a problem from the past), or "my stomach thinks my throat's been cut" (powerful hunger) can leave you scratching your head.


Monday, January 18 2010

Unfulfilled Desires, Fulfilled Nightmares

As the new millennium accelerates we witness our world consumed by an international economic crisis fueled by unrestricted consumption and greed. Hence, the relevance of Stephen King's 'Needful Things'.


Monday, January 4 2010

New Moon: Wherefor Art Thou Edward?

Bella and Edward's longing for each other is what makes the series so appealing. It fully encapsulates the bliss and agony of first love or any love that would make you lie down and die for the other person.


Thursday, December 17 2009

The Big Nowhere: Rudy Wurlitzer’s Rediscovered Trilogy and Bob Dylan Revisited

The myths of unspoiled frontiers and the freedom of the open road, lives played out on the margins of society, attachment and detachment, wrestling matches with the ghosts of Samuel Beckett and Louis L’Amour…


Wednesday, December 16 2009

The Inevitable Death of Julian Barnes and Everyone Else

According to Julian Barnes, the fear of death is "the most rational thing in the world." But denying the certainty of death also can be a rational act, at least until that time when it is not.


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