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Sunday, January 1 1995

Torching the Fink Books & Other Essays on Vernacular Culture by Archie Green

[Archie Green] embodies the best kind of common sense; reading him, we are alerted, as if from deep slumber, to how labor and culture, the active and the contemplative life, are not divisible territories but part of a complex environment in which thought and action form an indissoluble whole. Archie is, if anything, a agitator of the human spirit.


Tomorrow Never Knows: Rock and Psychedelics in the 1960s by Nick Bromell

Listening to the music of the times permits one to remember, Bromell believes, the loneliness, the breakthroughs, the vertigo of radicalization, and the awareness of a fundamental instability that looked like ecstasy at one moment, like evil the next.


This Is Not a Novel by David Markson

The book presents an interesting collage of the history of art and literature, peppered with artistic and literary obituaries like 'Tennessee Williams choked to death on the plastic cap of a nasal spray'.


Time Traveler and In Search of Life

One way to value nature is to examine what it would cost to replace the free goods it gives us with manufactured goods. For example, in the South 'maw nature' gave us lots of free water. With urbanization, water is no longer free.


Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage by Albert Glinsky

To most Americans, the name of Leon Theremin brings to mind the musical instrument bearing his name. To his native Russia, though, Lev Sergeyevich Termen was literally a character who spanned the history of the Soviet Union, from the original Bolshevik Revolution to the collapse of the USSR.


Too Close To Call: The Thirty-Six-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election by Jeffrey Toobin

The media saturation that surrounded the disputed election makes it easy for people to assume they know everything about it or to know for certain that they are sick of it. That's a shame because Jeffrey Toobin's new book 'Too Close to Call: The Thirty-Six-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election' deserves to find a wide audience.


A Stone Bridge North by Kate Maloy

On a stress rating chart, you'd think Maloy would top out at massive nervous breakdown level. Instead, she thrives on the challenges her radical choices bring her and delights in sharing the exhilarating experience of reinventing yourself.


The Song of the Earth by Hugh Nissenson

How much knowledge is too much, and if we've already tasted the forbidden fruit, what's to stop us from planting an entire apple orchard? 'The Song of the Earth' stretches our present-day dilemmas into a highly imaginative and yet unnervingly plausible future.


Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age 1971 - 1984 by Van Burnham

Besides sheer nostalgia value, 'Supercade' also points out the impact videogames have made on our culture as a whole.


Swing Shift: All Girl Bands of the 1940s by Sherrie Tucker

Before this book is through, I think you'll completely disagree with George T. Simon's quote that opens the book: 'Only God can make a tree . . . and only men can play jazz.' Women, it seems, can match men, note for note.


Synners by Pat Cadigan

A very intricate and well-plotted work that should appeal to fans of cyberpunk, sci fi and even mystery/suspense.


Steal This Book by Abbie Hoffman

First published in 1970, the classic alternative guide to life is considered by some to be 'the single most important piece of pop culture to come out of the Viet Nam era'.


Sewing Shut My Eyes by Lance Olsen

It truly is 'an avant-pop anti-spectacle' -- that is, something perfectly ordinary.


Speech! Speech! by Geoffrey Hill

For the most part the book has a kind of messy music, and such brilliant juxtapositions of language, that more than thrice I felt like Emily Dickinson, like the top of my head had just been taken off.


Some Assembly Required by George Bradley

Who else but George Bradley would dare use a phrase such as 'which for the nonce' without looking around for a volley of tomatoes? Who else but Bradley would dare use a noun like 'naïf' and keep a straight face?"


The Snow Train by Joseph Cummins

We need to take the lesson that Cummins' offers us: Peace of mind can come from accepting the transition to adulthood. When we begin to think about others and about the history of our actions, we can make peace with ourselves and with the world around us.


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