Reviews > Books
A Master Storyteller Is Revealed in ‘A Manual for Cleaning Women’

Lucia Berlin paints portraits of environments and people with an attentive, sympathetic and often cinematic eye.

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Does Michael Jackson’s Work Contain the Stuff of Genius?

Steve Knopper’s highly readable biography MJ: The Genius of Michael Jackson lays out a credible case for Jackson to be considered along those lofty lines, and not simply as a supreme entertainer.

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Lillian Faderman’s ‘The Gay Revolution’ Gives an Epic Sweep to a Story of Repression and Resistance

How does the amazing evolution in the image and status of gays and lesbians, as well as bisexual and transgender people, affect all Americans? What remains to be done?

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Steven Pinker Wants You to Write Well—and He Thinks He’s the Guy to Teach You

The prolific scholar and linguist Steven Pinker adds a volume to the already crowded field of grammar and usage guides. But does he have anything new to say?

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‘Ghosts: A Haunted History’ Is Sure to Grip the Believer and the Skeptic Alike

Comprehensive, fascinating, and eye-catching, Lisa Morton's Ghosts: A Haunted History is the only book you'll ever need about the world's most notable supernatural entity.

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‘The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray’ Boldly Goes Where No Reasoning Mortal Has Gone Before

Robert Schnakenberg provides a humorous string of golden informational nuggets about the existence and philosophy of one of the world’s least understood and most fascinating weirdos.

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Reality Itself Is Malevolent in Thomas Ligotti’s Work

Ligotti's stories seem almost violently unpalatable. They afford neither easy resolutions nor the seemingly ambiguous but ultimately fulfilling pleasures of so many mystery stories.

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On the Creative Process, the Cultural Impact, and the Legacy of ‘Peanuts’

Only What’s Necessary is a gorgeous tribute to Charles M. Schulz that feels personal and intimate in ways that a mere biography or retrospective is unable to achieve.

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‘Neil Young: American Traveller’ Annotates Young’s Musical Map

Martin Halliwell takes obvious joy in exploring Neil Young's famous wanderlust, and illustrates the sometimes complicated relationship between musician and landscape.

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‘Pop Sonnets’ Is an Evolutionary Leap for Both Vanilla Ice and Shakespeare

This book is clearly a long labor of love, and a terrific feat of will and intellect.

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Charles Beaumont’s Life-Affirming Nature

Perchance to Dream, a recent collection of Charles Beaumont's short stories, is perhaps the most endearing account of his writing in decades.

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50 Years On, Do We Have Any Sympathy for Stoner’s Unrelenting Stoicism?

A modern reader may only appreciate Stoner if he or she has some tolerance and sympathy for a significant degree of stasis.

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Time Keeps on Slipping Into the Future: Jane Smiley’s ‘Golden Age’

Completing Smiley's final installment of The Last Hundred Years Trilogy, we feel the peculiar sadness of missing people who don’t actually exist, and must resist the impulse to wave goodbye.

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‘Life Moves Pretty Fast’ Tackles ‘80s Films With Great Humor

Hadley Freeman’s revisionist take on popular '80s cinema is as critically insightful as it is sheerly enjoyable.

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There’s a Random Kind of Order in ‘City on a Grid’

New York’s paradigm-smashing and somewhat haphazardly planned 1811 street grid didn’t quite bring order to the chaotic metropolis, but it helped create the city that it is today.

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What’s the Plural of Roland Barthes?

Andy Stafford offers readers this overwhelmingly funny and delightfully obvious argument: Roland Barthes was not a Barthesian.

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Vegan Cooks of the World, Unite!

The Anarchist Cookbook, unlike William Powell's 1971 effort, espouses non-violence. It expands anarchism to its titular concerns, which is rarely found in such primers.

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What’s It Really Like When Women Face the (Professional) Stove?

Reading Women Chefs of New York at a local diner with a Chinese shrine above the cooktop, I wondered what those chefs would have to say about women’s roles in professional kitchens.

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In Umberto Eco’s ‘Numero Zero’, the Conspiracy Is Everywhere

Eco’s paranoid jaunt reads like a satirical jab at both modern journalism and the Dan Brown school of writing; there are mysteries within riddles but no all-seeing figure to tie it all together.

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‘Twain & Stanely Enter Paradise’ Immortalizes Hijuelos’ Gift for Sympathy

Oscar Hijuelos' posthumous novel about the friendship between Mark Twain and Henry Morton Stanley cements his legacy as a penetrating writer on identity, ambition and family life.

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//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

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