Reviews > Books
The Power of the Reader in ‘A History of Reading’

Alberto Manguel takes a thematic rather than linear approach to a history of reading, offering an entertaining and impassioned account of reading practices and readers' agency.

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‘The Mathematician’s Shiva’ Is Classically Middlebrow

There are secret plots, geopolitical rumblings, high-math technical language, and a parrot of interest, but as often as not these things wanly colorize an otherwise monochromatic narrative.

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A Parable of Faith on a Desert Planet

As in Faber's previous fiction, the situation the protagonist meets in The Book of Strange New Things appears to be more complex than what this idealistic but flawed Everyman can fully comprehend.

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‘The World Atlas of Street Photography’ Is a Commanding Overview

Readers familiar with these artists will be happy with this representative selection, while newcomers such as myself will find much to pore over, much to enjoy and much to provoke thought.

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It’s Back to the Future with William Gibson’s ‘The Peripheral’

When Flynne Fisher witnesses a murder, a contract is taken on her life. The contract holders are from the future.

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‘Voyaging in Strange Seas’ Tells of the Deep, Wide Roots of Modern Science

The history of the Scientific Revolution, retold: Clear, detailed, and as overwhelming as drinking from a fire hose.

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‘Into the War’ Is Introspective, Poignant,  and Moralistic in All the Right Ways

Italo Calvino offers a rarely personal, and deeply insightful, glimpse of the adolescent experience of war.

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Soap, Candles, and Even the Humble Ice Cube Make Appearances in ‘How We Got to Now’

From the first selfie to the importance of jazz musicians, Steven Johnson puts a few surprises into How We Got To Now.

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‘Surgeon General’s Warning’ Provides a Fascinating History on a Controversial Position

Written in vivid detail and expertly researched, Mike Stobbe's chronicle of the office of the Surgeon General parts the curtains on some surprising heroes and brings us to a surprising conclusion.

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Lars Iyers’ ‘Wittgenstein Jr’ Is a Portrait of the Genius as a Tortured Thinker

Lars Iyer's latest novel explores sadness and genius while contemplating the end of philosophy.

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‘The End of Absence’ Is an Argument to Turn Off and Tune In

These days there's so much technodread floating around that you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a thinkpiece about how smartphones are ruining our minds.

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‘The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace’ Will Make You Think

This real-world account of an ill-fated Yale student's life will be haunting me for many months.

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Mainstream Economists Are Leading America to Ruin

The challenges for Americans and other countries to grapple with are not economic ones, and they are not narrow, technically ‘scientific’ ones. They are moral and philosophical ones.

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Why You Have No Idea What Your Favorite Characters Look Like

Celebrated book designer Peter Mendelsund considers how readers construct (or fail to construct) visual images in their minds in What We See When We Read.

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The Campus Novel as Gonzo Mayhem

His Ph.D revoked, a man fueled by anger returns to an institution he despises in Primordial: An Abstraction.

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In ‘The Beggar and the Hare’, Beggars Can Be Choosers

What really happens when you hit rock bottom?

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‘Some Luck’ Is Sweeping, Bold, and Completely Engrossing

Few authors are able to write equally well about war strategy, communism, cover crops, and postpartum depression.

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10 Oct 2014 // 1:05 AM

Let Your Twee Flag Fly High!

Twee is about much more than DIY/Etsy, hipsters and Zooey Deschanel.

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‘Tough Day for the Army’ Is a Middle Finger to the Strictures of Form

Whether it’s the recollection of Jesus’ time on the ice as a hockey player, or the confessions of a newspaper editor, Warner isn’t bound by the traditional template for short stories.

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‘Uncle Anton’s Atomic Bomb’ Is a Story Full of Details That Requires and Rewards Close Reading

Follow author Ian Woollen's advice: "Sit back, sip your drink, and allow words and phrases such as 'sock hop' and 'fallout', 'Studebaker', and 'Red Scare' to summon up what images they will."

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