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Tuesday, March 22 2005

Magic Circles: The Beatles in Dream and History by Devin McKinney

McKinney sets out to re-place the greatest band in rock and roll history within the context of the volatile time in which the band exploded into the public consciousness, changing the band, its four members and everyone forever.

The Inner Circle by T. Coraghessan Boyle

Kinsey remains an enigmatic figure, one of Boyle's numerous gurus that his fiction has distrusted so readily over the last several decades.

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews

Beginning this book was like engaging in conversation with a Born Again pro-lifer at a clinic picket line.

The Cocaine Chronicles by Gary Phillips and Jervey Tervalon

When the subject is coke, blow, 'caine, whatever the chosen endearment or curse of nomenclature may be, the story never really ends.

Wednesday, March 9 2005

When Religion Becomes Evil by Charles Kimball

It has been said that a country gets the government it deserves; perhaps the same is true of religion. Pass the Kool Aid, please.

Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways by Valerie Hemingway

Nothing is ignored: Castro, reading, four wives, writing, booze, lunch with Orson Welles, depression, and ever-present genius.

The Guggenheims: A Family History by Irwin Unger and Debi Unger

Formidable buildings, generous foundations, society scandals -- all these factors generally follow noteworthy players in American history, and the Guggenheim family is no exception.

Tuesday, March 1 2005

Too Beautiful for You: Tales of Improper Behavior by Rod Liddle

Liddle freights the sex in these stories with symbolic weight, but that means it can never be merely 'improper behavior' -- sex must be an expression of character, a vehicle for various obsessions and shortcomings, a cause for romantic tumult.

James Whale: A New World of Gods and Monsters by James Curtis

Curtis' refusal to see any gay content or sensibility in Whale's films, beyond the director's penchant for large floral arrangements on his sets, is baffling.

How Brands Become Icons: The Principles of Cultural Branding by Douglas B. Holt

More than merely reflecting people and the times in which they live, iconic brands offer myths that help resolve the contradictions of society.

Doubt: A History by Jennifer Michael Hecht

We are reminded that for most of history, doubt has been a moderating factor, allowing for a more cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Tuesday, February 22 2005

Then They Started Shooting: Growing Up In Wartime Bosnia by Lynne Jones

The children who distanced themselves from the war, who avoided talking about it and trying to make sense of it, were often the healthiest psychologically.

Heloise & Abelard: A New Biography by James Burge

Burge describes the letters between the two as 'a sort of creation myth for their affair; the golden age upon which they would always look back, longing to return'.

Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood by Steven Mintz

The closer the book gets to the end of the story, the more general and obvious the conclusions that it draws.

“Fear: Its Political Uses and Abuses”, Social Research by Arien Mack

The weight of evidence presented and deconstructed by the various researchers could lead the average reader to shrink before the seeming omnipotence of the neoconservative cabal now at the nation's helm.

Tuesday, February 15 2005

A Hacker Manifesto by McKenzie Wark

By mashing up Romantic idealism with historical materialism and looping in some samples of cyberpunk futurism to boot, Wark offers a glimpse of potential new worlds.

The Final Solution: A Story of Detection by Michael Chabon

Is Michael Chabon only interested in treading water after winning the Pulitzer?"

FABULOUS!: A Loving, Luscious and Lighthearted Look at Film from the Gay Perspective by Donald F. Re

Reuter picks all the right films, but if he even understands what makes them gay under the surface he does a lousy job explaining it.

Footprints: The Life and Work of Wayne Shorter by Michelle Mercer

Dealing with abstract-thinking introverts is no easy task. There's always the pressure to glean conflict and drama from lives short on dramatic excess.

Tuesday, February 8 2005

My Last Sigh by Luis Bunuel

What else might one expect from the man who proclaimed, 'I'm still an atheist... thank God!'?"

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