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Reviews > Books

Thursday, May 29 2014

The Characters in ‘Acts of God’ Personify the Expression, “Grace Under Pressure”

With quick wit and clean prose, Ellen Gilchrist reminds us of the human race's ability to face life's curveballs with persistence and grace.


Wednesday, May 28 2014

Always Having Options Is Very Important in Joshua Ferris’ ‘To Rise Again at a Decent Hour’

This novel has naysayers, but the literary world could use a few more brainy risk-takers like Joshua Ferris.


Tuesday, May 27 2014

You’ve Got Nothing to Lose But Your Inequality

The year's must-read economics tome, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, deftly argues that economic inequality is the norm. But is there a solution?


Thursday, May 22 2014

‘Cable Guys’ Is an Incredible Look into How Masculinity Is Portrayed on Television Today

This book further cements Amanda Lotz’s place as a considerate yet comprehensive expert on media and gender studies.


‘Pranksters’ and Our History of Fools

This immaculately researched book about the role of pranks in shaping political and social discourse will make you seriously doubt all those history books you've read.


Wednesday, May 21 2014

Josephine Baker Schooled Us in a Lot More Than Just the Danse Banane

Josephine Baker’s “interracial experiment” set a precedent that history has curiously neglected. Now we see her for the true visionary she was.


Tuesday, May 20 2014

Space: Selling the Final Frontier

Marketing the Moon, a beautiful new book, discusses how NASA sold a nation on space travel. So what's keeping us from going to Mars?


Monday, May 19 2014

‘1954’ Promises a Look at Pioneering Black Athletes, but Instead Delivers a Baseball Pennant Chase

If Bill Madden is saying that by 1954, black excellence in baseball was no longer shocking, that’s one thing to note – but his book doesn’t really note it.


Friday, May 16 2014

With Pain As Its Subject, the Essays in ‘The Empathy Exams’ Hit Hard

This is a strong collection, marked by intellectual restlessness, a knack for the arresting phrase, and an almost alarming honesty.


Thursday, May 15 2014

Science Is Still Stranger Than Fiction, As ‘The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons’ Attests

Sam Kean is a rare writer who approaches science writing as a child would a playground at recess: it’s a wide-open field, full of possibilities.


Where R U? ‘Smart Cities’ Addresses Our Desire to Connect

Is the smart city already here? Or is it an impossibility, given how messy humans are? What does the ideal smart city look like?


Wednesday, May 14 2014

‘Leonard Cohen on Leonard Cohen’ Is at Once Fascinating and Frustrating

This collection of interviews forces us to consider that Cohen's interactions with the press are products of his public image instead of honest words that represent his core belief system.


Loneliness Kills in Jayne Anne Phillips’ ‘Quiet Dell’

If one accepts the idea that the devil walks among us, it's true here in the personage of Herman Drenth.


Tuesday, May 13 2014

Puritans, Wendigos, and Hillbillies, Oh My!

The Rural Gothic in American Popular Culture examines the persistent fear of rural places and their inhabitants in the American collective consciousness.


A Yarn-Spinning Tale about Country Music Legend Merle Haggard

David Cantwell writes from the heart and the results are, like the subject, highly unconventional and completely memorable.


Monday, May 12 2014

Iris Barry Gave so Much to the World

Lady in the Dark is a meticulously researched, lovingly written book that suggests Iris Barry’s passions and accomplishments extend beyond the realm of cinema.


Friday, May 9 2014

Mariusz Szczygiel’s ‘Gottland’ Compels One’s Attention

Snappy, moving, inquisitive, and ethical, this examination of how the Czech lands coped under fascism, communism and capitalism, confronts Czech complicity.


Thursday, May 8 2014

What Do You Think About Hannah Arendt’s Take on the World?

Once we set aside our own prejudices, pleasures are found in another's thoughts, as Unlearning with Hannah Arendt so elegantly shows.


‘A Natural History of Human Thinking’ Considers the Mechanisms that Facilitated Our Evolution

Michael Tomasello offers many stimulating anthropological perspectives that he wrings out of current research to create a dense account of the current thinking on thinking.


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