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Thursday, August 14 2014

Penn Penitentiary, Where Converts Dwell Among Convicts

In Down in the Chapel, Joshua Dubler reports on the tensions of the body and the spirit, the restless minds and the stifled desires.


Wednesday, August 13 2014

In ‘The Blazing World’, a Lifetime of Smothered Rage Blossoms into an Ingenious Plan

A serious examination of what female artists continue to endure, this is unquestionably one of the year’s finest novels.


Tuesday, August 12 2014

‘The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit’ and Graham Joyce’s Slipstream Writing

A bit unusual for Joyce, this book mutes the fantastical elements and reads more like a straight-up coming of age story.


William Shakespeare and George Lucas? Could Any Two Writers Be Farther Apart?

Ian Doescher's translation of Return of the Jedi into the style and syntax of William Shakespeare steps between the ridiculous and the sublime.


Monday, August 11 2014

In ‘California’ the World Has Gone to Hell for No Good Reason

The careful yet laconic nature of Edan Lepucki’s writing mirrors that of her post-catastrophic setting; life is finely captured but little seems to matter, anymore.


Some Assembly Is Required for Reading ‘Boston Mob’

At times, Mark Songini stretches ideas beyond their breaking point, making the reader reassemble them with Krazy Glue and chicken wire.


Friday, August 8 2014

‘A Daughter’s Memoir’ Reflects on Father, Family, and Fragile Freedoms

This is a poignant and moving portrait of the author’s famous journalist rebel father, and the family and country that shaped his life.


Thursday, August 7 2014

Race, Shame and Manhood Make for a Complex Brew

Big Little Man offers a deeply personal and engaging point of entry into the broader and very complicated social and cultural politics of race, masculinity and immigrant identity.


Wednesday, August 6 2014

Shigeru Mizuki’s ‘Showa’ Series Is a Sweeping Epic of Life, Death and War

This work offers an indelible and engaging combination of storyline, riveting life-and-death plot twists, historical education and passionately conveyed moral messaging on the horrors of war.


Tuesday, August 5 2014

Back to School: Revisiting California’s Golden Age of Public Education

In Blackboard, Lewis Buzbee compares the progression of his daughter, with his earlier journey through California's public schools. Things have changed.


Monday, August 4 2014

Korea Is Making World Domination Cool Again (and Family-friendly, Too)

The Birth of Korean Cool is a thoroughly researched and engaging account of the rise and spread of the Korean pop culture phenomenon.


From Screenwriter to Character: ‘Truman Capote: A Literary Life at the Movies’

This is a good enough read, but it doesn't find the right balance between sensationalism and criticism.


Friday, August 1 2014

On the Relationship Between the Scribe and the Scoundrel

Robert Spoo's Without Copyrights takes you through the winding and dimly-lit alleyways of professional courtesies and the narrow passageways of intellectual property.


Thursday, July 31 2014

‘Literary Miniatures’ Reveals Souls of Giants

This collection of remarkable interviews with some of the world’s greatest writers is as creative and beautiful as the works it analyzes.


‘Romany and Tom’, Ben Watt’s Second Memoir, Is a Quiet, Reflective Tale

Watt, best known as a musician, DJ, and one-half of pop duo Everything But the Girl, takes a second foray into memoir with Romany and Tom.


Wednesday, July 30 2014

Linda Williams on the Melodrama of Black and White in ‘The Wire’

On The Wire is a must-read book for everyone who believes that the HBO series is life-changing fiction of the highest order.


‘Fourth of July Creek’ Doesn’t Live up to Its Janet Maslin Review

This story carries a huge load of ambition, and carries it with intermittent grace and conviction, but its doesn't carry the children well.


Tuesday, July 29 2014

Manufacturing Victory: ‘The Arsenal of Democracy’

The story of how Ford Motor Company's assembly-line techniques helped America win WWII, and the behind-the-scenes battles waged in order to get it done.


Monday, July 28 2014

Cinema Sabbath: On ‘Heavy Metal Movies’

If metal is music’s loudest voice against oppression, then surely Mike "McBeardo" McPadden's is the loudest for obsession.


Are Karl Marx and Adam Smith as Inviolable as Atoms or DNA?

Utopia or Bust is only a book about utopia if you believe Marxism, in its purest and most evolved form, is a utopian answer to the ills of capitalism.


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