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Monday, November 28 2005

Spice: the History of a Temptation by Jack Turner

The allure of spice lives on in the present, although certainly in a less rarified atmosphere than in its heyday.


Wednesday, November 23 2005

Surrender by Sonya Hartnett

Surrender is a novel about a young boy made to bear an unbearable burden, and about the bargains he strikes to sustain himself.


Lennon Revealed by Larry Kane

Former journalist Kane's flawed but passionate take on Lennon succeeds because of its flaws -- not unlike Lennon himself.


Tuesday, November 22 2005

Willful Creatures: Stories by Aimee Bender

The stories that hover closer to reality fixate wonderfully on the dynamics of female relationships and the sometimes absurdity, cattiness, and masochism that accompany them.


Monday, November 21 2005

The Complete Short Novels by Anton Chekhov

In the space of these five short works the conscientious reader can chart the gradual awakening of a major talent.


Friday, November 18 2005

Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind? by Michael Eric Dyson

I admit I never saw Cliff and Claire attending a 'Free Mumia Abu Jamal' rally. But, then again, I never saw JJ, Re-Run, or Lionel out fighting for the cause of freedom either.


Thursday, November 17 2005

Consuming Kids: Protecting Our Children from the Onslaught of Marketing and Advertising by Susan Lin

A puppeteer who regularly appeared on Mister Roger's Neighborhood, Linn alleges that the children's marketing industry is making kids fat, unimaginative, materialistic, and insensitive.


Wednesday, November 16 2005

Last of the Cold War Spies: The Life of Michael Straight by Roland Perry

There is no smoking gun, so Perry examines each phase of Straight's life and sees dastardly deeds wherever he treads.


Monday, November 14 2005

Perfect Example by John Porcellino

The cumulative effect is quite powerful, the equivalent of an epic poem told in a series Zen koans.


Friday, November 11 2005

‘Salem’s Lot: Illustrated Edition by Stephen King

Since Carrie was about telekinesis -- not the most classical of creature features -- 'Salem's Lot represents King's first stab a legitimate horror archetypes, and as he would go on to prove time and time again, no one can rework the classics better than he.


Thursday, November 10 2005

99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style by Matt Madden

By modeling 99 Ways after the work of a prose writer, Madden holds his work alongside works of literature -- asserting comics' place in the literary realm.


Wednesday, November 9 2005

Wordplay: The Philosophy, Art and Science of Ambigrams by John Langdon

It's fitting then that, as Da Vinci Code mania reaches a ridiculous fever pitch (in preparation for the 2006 big screen version) Langdon and Broadway Books are dusting off Wordplay for a new reprinting.


Tuesday, November 8 2005

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

What On Beauty lacks in stylistic verve, it makes up for in overarching, mammoth storytelling.


Monday, November 7 2005

Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman and Joseph Campbell: In Search of the Modern Myth by Stephen Rauch

Rauch takes The Sandman on its own terms, as a comic book, not as a paper movie, or as a piece of disposable pop culture.


Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

This is the first thing I've read of Neil's where the voice of the narrator sounded just like him. It's sharp and witty and clever and, well, British.


Friday, November 4 2005

EAT II: A Collection of Words and Pictures by Robert Pollard

It's hard to find any meaningful distinction between Pollard's poems and his songs, other than the latter generally work, and the former generally don't.


Thursday, November 3 2005

The Knife Man: The Extraordinary Life and Times of John Hunter, Father of Modern Surgery by Wendy Mo

Ms. Moore, whose prose is populist rather than matching any scholar's norm, wisely opens the book with demonstration of John's humanitarian concern.


Wednesday, November 2 2005

Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats Are Hijacking the Global Economy by Moisés Na

The book offers several cases where economic necessity has blurred the line between legal and illegal activity in many parts of the world.


Tuesday, November 1 2005

Secrets of the Widow’s Son: The Mysteries Surrounding the Sequel to The Da Vinci Code by David A. Sh

This is hardly hard-nosed scientific non-fiction. And Shugarts's first person narrative style can be unbalancing for readers after just that.


Monday, October 31 2005

The Bedside Book of Birds: An Avian Miscellany by Graeme Gibson

Graeme Gibson's bedside book provides a glimpse of what every literate birder, professional, scholar or amateur, should want to read.


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