Reviews > Books

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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Fair Shares for All by John Haney

Billed as “a memoir of food and family”, the book is truly about the suffocating English class system, where people are judged by the contents of their cupboards.

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12 Feb 2008 // 8:59 PM

The Senator’s Wife by Sue Miller

With echoes of the Clinton marriage, Miller's latest explores changing lives, emotional truths.

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Jazz by Bob Blumenthal

This book serves as a shotgun blast, peppering the uninitiated with information as broadly and deeply as possible, and as a crash course in the genre.

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11 Feb 2008 // 8:59 PM

Proust Was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer

Did you know there was science in poetry?

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Contraptions by Heath Robinson

This amusing book is an interesting commentary on our own overly complicated civilizational arrangements.

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Silent Pictures by Pat Graham

Having come of an age in a scene known best remembered for howling guitars played in basement shows, Graham's work pays testament to those bands.

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Celebrity Detox by Rosie ODonnell

O'Donnell assesses the process whereby individual artists become celebrities, and what it's like when they and their audiences start to lose their sense of perspective in the midst of such intense, superficial media scrutiny.

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7 Feb 2008 // 8:59 PM

The Hummer by Elaine Cardenas and Ellen Gorman (Editors)

Hummers make for such hulking, imposing targets as physical stand-ins for all-American arrogance and mindless anti-environmentalism including here, in a series of essays about these beasts.

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House of Stone by Christina Lamb

This succeeds not as a narrative tour de force, but in the way it uses a simple story to illuminate the complexity and paradoxes of present-day Zimbabwe.

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The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality by Andre Comte-Sponville

Believing in something: An atheist makes a self-indulgent case for embracing the spiritual life.

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The Best Game Ever by Jim Reisler

When Reisler focuses on the game itself, his knack for storytelling takes over, and he convincingly recreates the sights and sounds of October 13, 1960.

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