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Wednesday, November 3 2004

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.

Seeking Salamanca Mitchell by Kenji Jasper

It is fiction for our times that expertly illustrates the dualism (hustling ambition + layered versatility) of an important sect of Generation Xers.

The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light by Tom Harpur

By representing both our divine and our human natures, Horus is Everyman and Everywoman; his story is the Gnostic story of human consciousness.

Dylan’s Visions of Sin by Christopher Ricks

Ricks takes displaying linguistic dexterity and literary education several horizons too far -- far too often, this loses Dylan and it loses readers.

Tuesday, September 21 2004

Since You Ask by Louise Wareham

In recounting Betsy's dynamic and destructive connections, Wareham has crafted a novel that portrays a complicated character and her multifaceted mind with deep empathy.

Moscow 1812 by Adam Zamoyski

Zamoyski blames Napoleon's tactical leadership with the campaign's failure, and the list of errors the author attributes to the emperor looks surprisingly like the kinds of mistakes that continue to doom military campaigns to this day.

Hoax: Why Americans are Suckered by White House Lies by Nicholas von Hoffman

Von Hoffman rings the death knell for the 'American Century', claiming that despite its current braggadocio and so-called victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US has failed in its effort to bring any stability to the region.

Tuesday, September 14 2004

Wake Up, Sir! by Jonathan Ames

Blair is an endearingly unsuccessful human being -- and writer-- out to craft the Great New Jersey Novel, thinking the Great American Novel beyond his reach.

So What!  The Good, The Mad, and The Ugly by Steffan Chirazi

Unvarnished, revealing, annoying, inspiring, and illuminating, the voices of Metallica in this book reach far beyond Hetfield's usual growl on his vocal recordings.

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