Reviews > Books

27 Feb 2008 // 8:59 PM

Vinyl Highway by Dee Dee Phelps

This isn’t the stuff of best sellers, but it is great fun, especially for record-happy types like myself.

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Christine Falls by Benjamin Black

There's lots of rain, fog, and shadowy mists, as if a sunny day might wreck the storyline -- and then there's the "hand problem".

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Refresh, Refresh by Benjamin Percy

Percy's stories are brave and fresh and -- because they reflect a nearly institutional violence all too easily identified as realistic -- scary.

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25 Feb 2008 // 8:59 PM

Red Chicago by Randi Storch

An engaging look at the final years of the city's reign as the left-wing capital of America.

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Richard and John by Frank McLynn

McLynn has a keen eye not only for history, but for storytelling and the importance of artfulness in writing. This is everything a historical biography should be.

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24 Feb 2008 // 8:59 PM

Wallace Stegner and the American West by Philip L. Fradkin

A new biography of Wallace Stegner lauds his realistic writing and his career teaching it.

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The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps by

The good stories are terrific reads and the not-so-good stories are never dull.

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21 Feb 2008 // 8:59 PM

Baldwin’s Harlem: A Biography by Herb Boyd

Revisionist study of James Baldwin's life fails to provide useful context.

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20 Feb 2008 // 9:00 PM

Vienna by Eva Menasse

A work of skill, even daring in its ability to both sympathize with and indict those affected by events that have such symbolic weight.

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20 Feb 2008 // 8:59 PM

Charlatan by Pope Brock

The colorful, compelling story of a deadly medical faker and the Chicago doctor who helped stop him.

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Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk

The women all feel stuck in comfortable lives, but their alarming lack of agency is what keeps them there and derails the novel.

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19 Feb 2008 // 8:59 PM

The Reserve by Russell Banks

Too much of The Reserve feels like it was written following too many late nights spent watching Turner Classic Movies marathons.

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Swordfishtrombones (33 1/3) by David Smay

Rather than trying to explain the album as a whole, Smay roots through the details to find dubious truths about the man, not the artist.

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The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby / Power to Save the World by Gwyneth Cravens

These books may not change your mind, but they pay you the supreme compliment of assuming that you have a mind, and that it will respond to an accumulation of evidence and a fair and forceful presentation.

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Tourists of History by Marita Sturken

The idea of education as liberation is a poor one; education might allow a critical perspective on cultural practices, but asserting that ironic frame helps an individual grieve, or mourn, or live a richer and fuller life, is a mistake.

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17 Feb 2008 // 8:59 PM

Sweat by Joe Bonomo

A dedicated Fleshtones record consumer myself, I’ve grown accustomed to reading about the guys only in the form of generic, hair-toussling capsule reviews – 'til now.

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The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting: An Oral History by Jim Walsh

A veritable talking book of everything you wanted to know about the Replacements but were afraid to ask: great tales and a wealth of visual treats.

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Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary by Susan Morrison [editor]

You may desire 30 views on Clinton, but what you get instead are 30 accomplished writers, most from the East Coast, who are primarily obsessed with Clinton's appearance.

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13 Feb 2008 // 9:00 PM

Zhou Enlai by Gao Wenqian

This book's very existence is a defiant blow against governments, regardless of ideology or political affiliation, who seek to manipulate the past for self-serving motives.

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13 Feb 2008 // 8:59 PM

The Shape of Things to Come by Greil Marcus

Convinced as I was by Marcus' readings, I couldn't help noticing that the primary subjects of all four chapters were works produced by white men: Philip Roth, David Lynch, Bill Pullmanm and David Thomas.

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