Reviews > Books
Igor Stravinsky’s Music Will Long Outlast the Chatter it Begat

True to form for Critical Lives, Jonathan Cross packs a rich life into a lean yet bountiful biography in Igor Stravinsky.

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And: Phenomenology of the End by Franco Berardi

Imagine orienting yourself on a map, scratching a red "X" to mark your location, and then realizing how precarious your position is, how perilously far you are from where you want to be.

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Sarah Vowell Explores American History With One Foot Firmly in the Land of Humor

Part travelogue, part historical narrative, and every bit a statement on post-Obama politics, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States is an interesting work that serves multiple purposes.

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13 Jan 2016 // 3:05 AM

Beer Is a Funny Thing

The Comic Book Story of Beer shows how the evolution of beer parallels the evolution of civilization. Bottoms up to civilization!

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‘Like Family’ Unfortunately, Is a Story as Lifeless as Its Central Subject

Like Family is full of worthwhile scattered sentiments, but there isn’t enough appeal or momentum between them to make enduring the entire work worthwhile.

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Paper Your Walls With Rock’s Most Beloved, Most Surprising Poster Artist, Todd Slater

There were two people whose music poster hobbies interested me in graduate school. One of them was a local guitarist who did the publicity flyers

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‘Cruising the Movies’ Is as Entertaining as the Movies That It Looks At

Cruising the Movies is film writing that delivers that magic with verve, wit, and self-deprecation.

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8 Jan 2016 // 3:05 AM

Problems at the Zoo

While revealing the complex social ecology of zoos, David Grazian's ethnographic safari ends up defending moral twilight zones.

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The Songs of Sorrowful Fates and Bloodthirsty Constituents Are Sung in ‘Hear My Sad Story’

Richard Polenberg's work documents America's musicology of lawless police and amped-up citizens chasing, terrorizing, maiming, and killing innocent people.

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Buttoned Up: Clothing, Conformity, and White-Collar Masculinity by Erynn Masi de Casanova

Office culture is full of passive aggressions and radical uncertainties. Buttoned Up is a delightfully firm hook on which to hang your hat, if hats are your thing.

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Is Religion Really the Root of Human Violence?

In a vast survey of human history and religion, Karen Armstrong insists that the link between religion and violence is greatly exaggerated.

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‘The Annotated Poe’ Is So Thoroughly Poe

Kevin J. Hayes' thorough analysis includes backgrounds on when and where each poem was first published, its contemporary reception, and critical assessments since.

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Mizuki’s ‘Hitler’ Offers Powerful Lessons for the Present

Depicting Hitler as a man, not a monster, forces us to realize the horrors of militarism and the ease with which history could repeat itself.

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‘Luke Skywalker Can’t Read and Other Geeky Truths’ Should Strike Fear in the Hearts of Nerds

Sci-fi/fantasy fan culture has now crawled so far up its own backside that we might as well refer to it as the dark side.

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On the Aggressive, Hilarious Theorizing in ‘Censorship Now!!’

Ian F. Svenonius' is a refreshing voice amidst the irony-addled sad-sack defeatism of postmodernity.

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The Creator and Creation in Elvis Costello’s ‘Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink’

Costello on Costello is a joy for those already in the cult and another arrow in the quiver for those who think he should just shut up already.

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Back to the Drawing Board With ‘Flash Gordon Volume 4: The Storm Queen of Valkir’

At first, Austin Briggs’ work feels like a simplified version of Alex Raymond’s, the boldness of the characters’ figures and poses replaced by understated charm.

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21 Dec 2015 // 8:00 AM

Avengers Assemble!

The Avengers have never before been assembled quite as exhaustively as in the pages of The Avengers Encyclopedia.

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Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel

Paul Levitz weaves comic legend Will Eisner's life into the long history of sequential art in the 20th century.

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‘Drawing Blood’ and Doing Violence to Clichés

When Molly Crabapple stares down danger and corruption, and when she investigates the long reach of terror and greed, she succeeds.

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The Specter of Multiplayer Hangs Over 'Door Kickers'

// Moving Pixels

"Door Kickers is not a multiplayer game, but for a while there, I couldn’t tell the difference.

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