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Thursday, February 14 2013

Jelly Roll, Bix, and Hoagy: Gennett Records and the Rise of America’s Musical Grassroots

Gennett Records produced thousands of records and debuted such stars as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Bix Biederbecke, Jelly Roll Morton, Hoagy Carmichael, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, and Gene Autry.


Wednesday, January 30 2013

The Beatification of Philip K. Dick

Fueled by his science fiction work, by his mystical aura and his growing legend, the cult of Philip K. Dick continues to expand.


Thursday, January 24 2013

The Best Non-Fiction of 2012

Memoirs in graphic novel form blur the line that snakes between non-fiction and fiction; humorists and pulitzer prize winners delight, inform and terrify us; the real world, artfully penned, opens itself into a book, vulnerable, yet daring us to look. Here is the best of what we saw.


Thursday, January 17 2013

The Best Fiction of 2012

Historical fiction, science fiction, graphic novels, anthologies, mysteries, satire, young adult, even poetry(!) -- on subjects from the lighthearted to the apocalypse -- our favorites from 2012 are as wide-ranging and diverse as our writers and our readers. Dive in and revel in the pleasure of getting lost in a good book.


Wednesday, December 19 2012

The Best Music Books of 2012

This year's best books about music include thought-provoking reads on how music works, in-depth histories of the underground, and soul-searching autobiographies from legendary (and not-so-legendary) performers.


Thursday, December 13 2012

The Biographical Dictionary of Popular Music

An incredible and opinionated collection of celebrated cultural critic Dylan Jones’s thoughts on more than 350 of the most important artists around the world—alive and dead, big and small, at length and in brief.


Thursday, December 6 2012

Oliver Sacks’ ‘Hallucinations’

Hearing voices? Don’t worry, the revered Dr. Oliver Sacks assures, in that regard at least, you’re perfectly sane.


Thursday, November 29 2012

‘The First Four Notes: Beethoven’s Fifth and the Human Imagination’

Music Historian Matthew Guerrieri traces the origins and influence of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, weaving a fascinating piece of musical detective work.


Thursday, November 15 2012

Reinventing Bach

An electrifying story of how musicians of genius have made Bach’s music new in our time, at once restoring Bach as a universally revered composer and revolutionizing the ways that music figures into our lives.


Wednesday, November 14 2012

The Critic As Artful Gadfly: Pauline Kael

At her best, Pauline Kael was everything a film critic should be: passionate, knowledgable, in love with the movies and writing about them, willing to defend her reviews, and vicious. She was also everything movie goers despise in a critic: well-educated, argumentative, stubborn, and vicious.


Thursday, November 8 2012

The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father’s Twentieth Century

Using the life and career of her father, an early Hollywood actor, New Yorker writer Margaret Talbot tells the thrilling story of the rise of popular culture through a transfixing personal lens.


Thursday, November 1 2012

Instant: The Story of Polaroid

Instant tells the tale of a one-of-a-kind invention-from Polaroid's first instant camera in 1948, to its meteoric rise in popularity and adoption by artists such as Ansel Adams, Andy Warhol, and Chuck Close, to the company's bankruptcy in the late '90s and its unlikely resurrection in the digital age.


Sunday, October 28 2012

The Ladylike-Defying, Guitar Playing Debra Devi and ‘The Language of the Blues’

For aficionados of American history, music and etymology, the blues is the ideal confluence of all three fields. Devi's book is a roadmap for observing how their paths overlap.


Thursday, October 25 2012

Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween

Halloween has spread around the globe to places as diverse as Russia, China, and Japan, but its association with death and the supernatural and its inevitable commercialization has made it one of our most misunderstood holidays.


Wednesday, October 24 2012

Fit to be Tied: An Interview with Philippe Petit

Best known for being the subject of Man on Wire, wire-walking, knot-tying, street-juggling, magician Philippe Petit talks to PopMatters about his forthcoming book Why Knot?.


Sunday, October 21 2012

Micro Frustrated, Macro Happy: An Interview with Demetri Martin

Dropping his usual punchline-a-sentence persona, comedian and author Demetri Martin speaks to PopMatters all about his influences, his frustratingly unfinished projects, and how he can never drift from stand-up for too long ...


Thursday, October 18 2012

The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies

At first, film was a waking dream, delivered for a nickel to huddled masses sitting in the dark. But soon movies began transforming our societies and our perceptions of the world.


Thursday, October 11 2012

Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat

Since prehistory, humans have braved sharp knives, fire, and grindstones to transform raw ingredients into something delicious—or at least edible. Tools shape what we eat, but they have also transformed how we consume, and how we think about, our food.


Thursday, September 27 2012

The Missile Next Door: The Minuteman in the American Heartland

How rural Americans of all political stripes were drafted to fight the Cold War by living with nuclear missiles in their backyards—and what that tells us about enduring political divides and the persistence of defense spending.


Thursday, September 20 2012

The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns

Armed with research from behavioral psychology and randomized experiments that treat voters as unwitting guinea pigs, the smartest campaigns now believe they know who you will vote for even before you do.


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