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Tuesday, November 16 2004

People of the Bomb: Portraits of America’s Nuclear Complex by Hugh Gusterson

Gusterson argues that American military dominance is often successfully sold to the public as self-evident, humanitarian, or arising from providential destiny, not conscious political decisions.


Critical Condition: How Healthcare in America Became Big Business-and Bad Medicine by Donald L. Barl

Progress, if any is to be made, will not come until the wall is broken on the myth that a national public health care system is opposed to the core values of the United States' free market principals.


Tuesday, November 9 2004

Scars of the Soul Are Why Kids Wear Bandages When They Don’t Have Bruises by Miles Marshall Lewis

You feel like you're sitting on a bench with Lewis as he disjointedly raps to you about everything from a weird undergrad experience to his first participation in a peace circle, all through a hip-hop lens.


A Reading Diary by Alberto Manguel

While the topics discussed are various, there is one idea that unites the chapters, just as it unites humankind: the search for home.


Revenge: A Noir Anthology About Getting Even by Kerry J. Schooley and Peter Sellers

For a collection that focuses so squarely on getting 'an eye for an eye', there's a surprisingly lack of payback for the reader.


Wednesday, November 3 2004

The School of Night by Anne Rouse

Each poem is located within a wider structure that organises the collection as a whole, which offers a nocturnal sequence of instruction stretching from dusk till dawn, a poetic long night's journey into day.


The Skin of the Sky by Elena Poniatowska

The letdown comes as we are drawn back into his tormented (and eventually tedious) inner life.


Midnight Water by Gaylene Perry

Perry's style is simple yet the intensity it conveys demonstrates how even the most fascinating and heartbreaking of tales can become so much more.


Don’t Move by Margaret Mazzantini

Only in that moment do we really break down, we split open, we reveal all that is within us without limitation. It is the most jarring freedom.


Monday, October 25 2004

There and Back Again: An Actor’s Tale by Sean Astin with Joe Layden

Astin's list of gripes is a Mordor-mile long, and his new book gives him the ideal opportunity to repeatedly voice each and every one of them.


The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates

The close-knit family psycho-drama that the author intends simply loses its purpose as its scope is blown out of proportion to match the massive scenery of Niagara Falls.


The Darling by Russell Banks

The novel reads as if every next page will contain some major revelation to provide the right connections between these characters and elements. It's an expectation that goes unfulfilled even in the last sentence.


Tuesday, October 12 2004

Men and Cartoons: Stories by Jonathan Lethem

Sometimes, you realize that the artist who once changed your life is no longer speaking about you in the way you thought they once did.


Drug Wars: The Political Economy of Narcotics by Curtis Marez

You don't always have to agree with Marez's rigid Neo-Marxist critical methods to appreciate the value of this detailed historic-cultural study of the blatantly racist, imperialist roots of today's 'war on drugs'.


Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hija

Kennedy details the extraordinarily close ties between Bush's environmental policies and the energy interests which have helped him raise unprecedented amounts of money for his campaigns.


And It Don’t Stop!: The Best American Hip-Hop Journalism of the Last 25 Years by Raquel Cepeda

A much more interesting anthology might have scrapped the omnibus approach in favor of a different overarching idea.


Wednesday, October 6 2004

The Tearjerker by Daniel Hayes

Hayes postulates writing as an act of timidity and distance, a profession chosen by those who want to recreate excitement rather than experience.


Blinking with Fists: Poems by Billy Corgan

As lyric poems, however, without the support of a band, it's just totally high school, totally amateur, totally naive, and not in the good way.


After by Claire Tristram

After quickly became -- and will hereafter be read as -- a post-Abu Ghraib novel, which burdens it with implications that Tristram could never have predicted.


Tuesday, September 28 2004

The Suburban You: Reports From the Home Front by Mark Falanga

Mark Falanga's book is a non-fictional, thesis-free, made-for-TV, ADD-approved examination of American suburban life.


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