Columns > Books

Wednesday, January 12 2011

Can You Hear Me Now? The ‘Last Speakers’ Dilemma

People, places, and languages of our recent past are replaced by strip malls where Chinese porn store and Indian restaurant owners speak fluid Spanish, and Ethiopian-slash-Italian restaurants thrive next to Honduran and Venezuelan hot spots.


Tuesday, January 11 2011

‘The Sentimentalists’ Is a Novel That Lives Up to Its Title

The Sentimentalists has all of the hallmarks of a book published in Canada circa 1972, full of purple prose, a seemingly anti-American tract, and a classic rural setting, aka: Can-Lit.


Sunday, January 9 2011

Birthered in the U.S.A.

Every time Anderson Cooper cornered Leo Berman on his refusal to accept the abundant evidence about Obama’s Hawaiian birth, Berman changed the subject—right back to his original, hopeless claim.


Monday, January 3 2011

Deciphering the Jay-Z Code

He's got 99 problems but a book ain't one. Jay-Z's nonlinear memoir illuminates rap as personal narrative, lyric poetry, and transformative medium.


Thursday, December 23 2010

Clash City

Marcus Gray's book about London Calling inspires a journey around the London of the Clash. There's a huge sense of disaffection in this city, a feeling that the government protects only the rich and will leave the poor to suffer the recession – it’s like 1979 all over again, and London is still calling, calling out into an atmosphere of impending catastrophe.


Wednesday, December 15 2010

Who Owns Punk History?

A folkloric examination of the interview manuscripts of punk historian Jon Savage and The England's Dreaming Tapes.


Sunday, December 12 2010

None Are So Blind As Those Who Will Not See: ‘The Mind’s Eye’ by Oliver Sacks

In this telling of his own encounter with blindness, the neurologist and author Oliver Sacks reminds us that there are few human failings worse than taking for granted life and its manifold hidden miracles.


Tuesday, November 23 2010

‘Life’: Ladies and Gentlemen, the Rolling Stone

Because Keith Richards lived the book he’s written, he’s written a book that lives on.


Wednesday, November 17 2010

Hip-Hop’s Laboratory of Language

What do William Wordsworth, Robert Frost, Ice Cube, and Ghostface Killah have in common? Finally, they all appear in anthologies.


Tuesday, November 16 2010

Rosanne Cash: More Than Just a Legend’s Daughter

Rosanne Cash’s lyricism plays on the page as if she’s on stage with guitar in hand. You can hear the music as you read. PopMatters Jaime Karnes talks with this gifted writer of songs and stories.


Thursday, November 11 2010

Hüsker Dü: The Story of the Noise-Pop Pioneers Who Launched Modern Rock

What the world really needs is a straight-up account of one of the most important rock groups of all time. Now we have it in the form of music scribe Andrew Earles.


Jimi Hendrix, the Patron Saint of Alt-Blackness

Forty years after his death, Jimi Hendrix looms larger - and deeper - than ever within the black cultural pantheon. Even though he wasn't really 'black'.


Wednesday, November 3 2010

President Obama and The Long Fade

Two new books on the Obama presidency make clear that the dream, such as it was, is over -- though not necessarily in the way you'd think. Whether or not something has actually died, the obituary has already been written for Barack Obama's promise of progressive reform


Wednesday, October 27 2010

‘Poltergeist’: Home Sweet Hell

James Kahn’s version of Poltergeist is a rare example of a book written after a movie is released, which results in a riveting read.


Monday, October 25 2010

And Here’s to You, Mr. Robinson: ‘Jerry Robinson: Ambassador of Comics’

In a conversation with Jerry Robinson, the man who created the Joker, we learn he is much like the superheroes with which he will forever be identified; his career reflects a lifetime of pushing boundaries, challenging conventions, and fighting for artistic integrity.


Sunday, October 17 2010

The 24-hour News Cycle Rhetoric Yields to Something Far More Human in ‘The Promise: President Obama’

This book works because it doesn't skimp on details: the reason behind every major Obama Year One decision is explained, and the result is fascinating. If only Alter toned down the declarative statements...


Monday, October 11 2010

Philip Roth’s ‘Nemesis’: The Case Against God and Man

Here is Philip Roth in his familiar, brutal finery, his most biting and honest eloquence: the great existential wondering which has tormented so many of his characters.


Thursday, October 7 2010

‘A Cambodian Odyssey’: Haing Ngor Was Among the Most Consequential Actors of His Time

It isn't often that a brutal personal account of mass murder, slavery, torture and the obliteration of a sovereign nation causes a reader to meditate on the art of acting, but then, Haing Ngor's was no ordinary life.


Wednesday, October 6 2010

‘The Grapes of Wrath’: The Specter of Tom Joad Emerges From America’s Dark Past, Once Again

With the current economic climate -- increasing rates of foreclosure, evictions, unemployment, poverty and misery -- this classic story dangerously impinges upon the present to reveal the specter of Tom Joad emerging from the darkness, once again.


Thursday, September 9 2010

Ironically Facebook and Its 500 Million Friends Remain Largely a Mystery

In the beginning, Mark Zuckerberg was a socially-awkward teenager, a computer science major at Harvard University, who arrived toting an eight-foot-long whiteboard as a brainstorming tool...


//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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