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

What is it about Canada that incites apocalyptic narratives?

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‘Brood’ May Keep You Up at Night

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

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On Running Face First Into the Walls of the Ivory Tower

An epistolary novel set within a literally crumbling ivory tower, Dear Committee Members is a smart, wry, and all-too-realistic look into contemporary academic life.

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If Only All of History Were Told as Well as Jonathan Beckman’s ‘How to Ruin a Queen’

Regardless of the melodramatic, almost operatic overtones of the plot, this telling is at its best when it contextualizes the sociopolitical setting in which the story is unfolding.

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Reading ‘The Hospital Suite’ Is Rather Like Watching a Play Adapted from the Dairies of a Dying Man

If the unprepared reader gives the man and his book a chance, that reader will learn to appreciate, and possibly even love, John Porcellino's storytelling.

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‘The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street’ Is Sweet Where It Could Have Been Corny

With a picaresque tone and first person narration reminiscent of Charles Dickens, Gilman’s novel is a delightful chronicle of New York history.

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‘The Boy Who Drew Monsters’ Is a Terrifying Treatise on Raising a Difficult Child

This novel will give you chills, make the hairs on your body stand at end, and, yes, even give you bad dreams.

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Another Kind of Horror: ‘When Paris Went Dark’

When Paris Went Dark is a penetrating history of the anxiety, confusion, claustrophobia, and uncertainty experienced by a city in the grip of an unpredictable menace.

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What a Difference a Hair Makes

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil feels timeless, because it contains truths you’ve known all along.

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‘The Art of the English Murder’: It’s Not all Good Clean Fun

The second half of the19th century saw the murder rate drop precisely when "the activity of enjoying a murder became increasingly acceptable."

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Long Live the Old Flesh: David Cronenberg’s ‘Consumed’

Cronenberg's Consumed feels similar to that of fellow Canadian sci-fi writer William Gibson, in that the narrative is globe-hopping in nature and both writers share a fetish for technology.

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‘Subversive Horror Cinema’ Opens Your Eyes to Films You Thought You Knew

Aware that theories about the horror genre can turn into fanboy rants, Jon Towlson's book is almost encyclopedic in its efficient division and referential format.

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The Witchcraft of History in ‘Babyaga: A Novel of Witches in Paris ’

Like Neil Gaiman, China Miéville and Catherynne M. Valente, Toby Barlow takes an historic urban space and transforms it into a place to ask questions that haunt us.

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Michael Goldberg’s Semi-Hallucinogenic Take on the Authentic Real

True Love Scars is a whirlwind tale of a young music fanatic’s quest for true love, high times and “the authentic real” (not necessarily in that order).

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‘The Science Delusion’ Makes a Familiar Argument From a Fresh Angle

Curtis White's arguments against the myopia of New Atheism have been made by many philosophers before him, but his alternative provides new insights into the follies of scientism.

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‘The Best American Mystery Stories 2014’ Delivers a Short Sharp Stab Into Many Different Lives

These stories pulsate with the everyday wrongs and trivial annoyances and tragedies with which each and every one of us is only too familiar.

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‘The Affairs of Others’ Is a Testament to the First-Person Narrative

Even when the voice of Amy Grace Loyd's narrator suffocates the reader, her excellent prose and perceptive observations continually bring the reader back into Celia's world.

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Thomas Pynchon Is Still Doing What He Has Always Done, With Antic Humor and Utter Seriousnes

Is Pynchon suddenly relevant again? Has the culture's craziness finally just caught up to his penchant for conspiracy, paranoia, and crazy-named characters?

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With Feeling: ‘Joss Whedon: The Biography’

The only problem with the sincerely enjoyable Joss Whedon: The Biography is that we learn a heck of a lot more about his creative endeavors than we do about the geek god himself.

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‘Books That Cook’ Is for the Literary Foodie Whose Reading Tastes Are of a Scholarly Bent

As food studies enters academia, texts are required to populate the curricula. That doesn't mean lay readers can't enjoy them, too.

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