Reviews > Books
‘Is It All In Your Head?’ When Imaginary Illness Is Real

Is it all in your head? According to neurologist Suzanne O'Sullivan, it doesn't really matter.

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The Country and the Metropolis: Thomas Hardy, a Divided Man

Mark Ford's compelling study offers the first thorough account of Thomas Hardy as "a London Man".

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Rose Tremain’s ‘The Gustav Sonata’ Is an Honest and Sensitive Look at Human Foibles

It’s a mark of Tremain’s accomplished writing that in these relatively short chapters there's nearly always some kind of revelation or surprise, some kind of turning point.

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On Race and Meritocracy in Academia

Today's elite universities and students claim to value diversity. But do they really?

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Food Films Get Eaten Alive by ‘Feasting Our Eyes’

So we should watch more Super Size Me and less Babette’s Feast? C’mon.

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A Letter From Your Lesbian Friend to Your Black Friend

Some reflections on the challenge of educating allies, with the help of Ben Passmore's Your Black Friend.

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‘The Book of the Dead’ Reflects the Complexity of Its Author and His Times

Orikuchi Shinobu's work helps to illustrate the power of fiction and literature to bring to life -- quite literally, in this case -- academic theories surrounding religion, folklore and sociology.

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‘Testosterone Rex’ Delivers an Anticlimactic Attempt to Extinguish Gender Myths

Light on science, heavy on smugness, Testosterone Rex, does everyone a disservice.

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There’s a Reason Why There’s No Biography of John Hughes

Searching for John Hughes is among the finest tragedies in the brave new genre of memoir wherein the author’s own life is reflected in the undertaking of a biography fail.

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‘The Sound of the One Hand’: Ancient Mysteries (Sort of) Revealed

Can a religious text be revolutionary if it's also inscrutable?

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La Nausée in the Spanish Empire: Antonio Di Benedetto’s ‘Zama’

A servant of the Spanish crown finds himself in remote Paraguay, entertaining fantasies and delusions that clash with the actual circumstances of his position. A bleak, comic, and tragic story of alienation.

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This New Spielberg Biography Falls Short in its Analysis of a Storied Man

Film historian Molly Haskell's Steven Spielberg covers all of Spielberg's life, but its pointed analytic lens is too small to properly put his life's work in perspective.

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The “Good Old Days” of TV Are Happening Right Now

Why American television is better now than it's ever been -- and the unexpected paths by which it got there.

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No Country for Broken Men in Joseph Scapellato’s ‘Big Lonesome’

Even at their most impenetrable and monotonous, the stories here are still rich with refined poeticism and imagination.

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‘The Black Notebook’ Shows Modiano’s Undiminished Capacity to Conjure the Magic of Paris

Someday, perhaps, a virtual reality headset will achieve something like what Patrick Modiano has done here.

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‘The Art of the Blues’ Captures the Music’s Visuals to Sublime Standards

Author Bill Dahl and art consultant Chris James' work celebrates the visual swagger of the blues simply for the sheer joy of those visuals.

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‘Aleksandr Sokurov: Russian Ark’ Serves as a Succinct Companion to the Landmark Film

At once a production history, a film analysis and a history of the Hermitage Museum, the Chair of the Film Studies at Aberystwyth University has written a concise and thought-provoking volume.

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The Obscure Cities Series Blends the Subtle and the Fantastic

The steampunk cityscapes are fantastic in The Theory of the Grain of Sand, yet the underlying mystery is subtle.

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Dave Barry Does the Unimaginable in an Exploration of the Sunshine State

Tired of fielding questions about what's the matter with Florida, a treasured American humorist takes matters into his own hands and finds out for himself.

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On Robert Walser’s Idiosyncratic, Whimsical, Sly, and Enchanting Works

Walser's attentiveness to the world's capacity for beauty and kindness in a time of brutality is the most interesting aspect of this book.

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How It Slips Away: 'The Breaking Point' Crosses Hemingway With Noir

// Short Ends and Leader

"Whether we've seen or read the story before, we ache for these sympathetic, floundering people presented to us gravely and without cynicism, even when cynical themselves.

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