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Tuesday, April 5 2005

The Geographer’s Library by Jon Fasman

The commercial success of The Da Vinci Code isn't just a lesson in shrewd marketing, either. There's something else going on: a thirst for something deeper and richer.

Tuesday, March 29 2005

Small Crimes in an Age of Abundance by Matthew Kneale

The Winter family's disastrous experience is a microcosm of the relationship between the world's haves and have-nots.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

This book had the makings of a great literary-mystery hybrid of the sort not seen since, perhaps, Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye.

The Muse and the Mechanism by Josh Davis

Charlie Fell is a slightly jaded yet optimistic reincarnation of Stephen Dedalus. And, like Dedalus, he wonders endlessly, trying to find meaning to his life.

The Music Internet Untangled: Using Online Services to Expand Your Musical Horizons by Andy Breeding

No longer do you have to hang out at the local record store to hear new music, nor do you have to pour over countless magazines and spend lots of money on bands you've never heard before.

The Accidental Hunter: A D Hunter Mystery by Nelson George

In the world of social critic Nelson George, even the villain reads Toni Morrison on the way to kidnap the world's reigning pop princess.

Tuesday, March 22 2005

Saturday by Ian McEwan

While the final effect is like a pointillist painting that adds up to something amazing, waiting for McEwan to connect the dots becomes a little tiring.

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'.

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