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Friday, November 14 2014

America Has a Fever and the Only Cure Is Poetry

In Twenty Poems That Could Save America and Other Essays, Tony Hoagland makes a compelling case that poetry is just what America needs, so long as it's the right kind of poetry.


‘The Story of Pain’ Takes an Historical Look at the Experience and Nature of Suffering

To the author, pain exists only in the act of naming it. Sufferers may disagree.


Thursday, November 13 2014

‘Countercultures and Popular Music’ Is Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation

A fascinating, thorough, and highly intellectual exploration of how popular music shaped the counterculture of the '60s, this is a must read for any fan of music and/or modern anthropology.


‘Remember Those Great Volkswagen Ads?’

This revised and expanded second edition of the hardback, details one of the most influential campaigns in the history of advertising.


Wednesday, November 12 2014

Where Does Kanye West’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ Stand in the Canon?

Kirk Walker Graves' mix of fanboy marvel and critical detachment will convince even Kanye West detractors to give My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy a close listen.


Indecent Exposure and Christopher Beha’s ‘Arts & Entertainments’

This story, although not mindless, is kind of a trashy read; rather like the celebrity culture it critiques.


Tuesday, November 11 2014

‘The Lives of Muhammad’ Is Not Merely a Biography, but a Biography of Biographies

Ali's book is devoted to unraveling the story of the Muslim prophet, and a serious contribution to the debate over what is real, what is apocryphal, and what is myth.


Monday, November 10 2014

To Beard or Not to Beard? Thomas Gowing Ponders the Question

Gowing's manifesto is short on philosophy, long on facial hair, and bound to appeal to high-brow and low-brow readers alike.


‘If Nuns Ruled the World’ Fails to Engage Religion

We learn about some of the aspects of the Catholic Church that these nuns want to change, but what in particular do they want to preserve, besides prayer rituals and a commitment to charity?


Friday, November 7 2014

‘The Girl in the Road’ Blends Genres Into a Rich, Sensuous Broth

In its heartfelt, humorous appraisal of the shocking beauty of life, all scars and suffering included, The Girl in the Road is profoundly generous and humane writing.


‘Maeve’s Times’ Collects Five Decades of Observation by an Astute Irish Writer

Maeve Binchy's good-natured voice challenges Irish prejudice or piety on behalf of those who have been shut out or held down.


Thursday, November 6 2014

A Wealth of Disturbing Knowledge Awaits You in ‘Flings’

It's rare to find a fresh new voice writing strong realistic fiction about life as it is lived today in America. Justin Taylor's stories will astound you.


The Unintentionally Chaotic, Uninhibited, and Almost Anarchic Force of Film

The language of cinema, The Intervals of Cinema argues, is more indebted to the traditions of literature and theater than is commonly understood.


Geoff Dyer Is an Incredible Portraitist

Geoff Dyer has a knack for compelling the reader to stay with him, even when his characters are unlikeable.


Wednesday, November 5 2014

From the Rainbow to Shadows: ‘Judy Garland on Judy Garland’

The ultimate Judy Garland encyclopedia told by the person who knew her best: herself.


‘In the Light of What We Know’ Suffers From Sahib Syndrome

While living in Pakistan I often noted how a certain class of subcontinental man was prone to what I called “sahib syndrome” – the need to pontificate, at length.


On ‘Being Miss America’ and Exchanging Ideals

The lyrics to the Miss America theme song say, “There she is, your ideal.” But what does that mean today?


Tuesday, November 4 2014

‘The Underground Girls of Kabul’ Highlights the Learned Nature of Gender Assumptions

This is an outstanding work of journalism, full of riveting stories about the real lives of girls and women in Afghanistan today.


Here’s Hoping Emily St. John Mandel’s ‘Station Eleven’ Isn’t an Instruction Manual

What is it about Canada that incites apocalyptic narratives?


‘Brood’ May Keep You Up at Night

Brood serves up a richly imagined, hideous, surprising world.


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