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Wednesday, March 9 2005

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'.


Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood by Steven Mintz

The closer the book gets to the end of the story, the more general and obvious the conclusions that it draws.


“Fear: Its Political Uses and Abuses”, Social Research by Arien Mack

The weight of evidence presented and deconstructed by the various researchers could lead the average reader to shrink before the seeming omnipotence of the neoconservative cabal now at the nation's helm.


Tuesday, February 15 2005

A Hacker Manifesto by McKenzie Wark

By mashing up Romantic idealism with historical materialism and looping in some samples of cyberpunk futurism to boot, Wark offers a glimpse of potential new worlds.


The Final Solution: A Story of Detection by Michael Chabon

Is Michael Chabon only interested in treading water after winning the Pulitzer?"


FABULOUS!: A Loving, Luscious and Lighthearted Look at Film from the Gay Perspective by Donald F. Re

Reuter picks all the right films, but if he even understands what makes them gay under the surface he does a lousy job explaining it.


Footprints: The Life and Work of Wayne Shorter by Michelle Mercer

Dealing with abstract-thinking introverts is no easy task. There's always the pressure to glean conflict and drama from lives short on dramatic excess.


Tuesday, February 8 2005

My Last Sigh by Luis Bunuel

What else might one expect from the man who proclaimed, 'I'm still an atheist... thank God!'?"


Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison: The Making of a Masterpiece by Michael Streissguth

Using his own extensive research and interviews with Cash and his band/entourage, Streissguth recreates the legendary day that Cash stepped inside Folsom's walls and put history to tape.


Eighty-Sixed: A Compendium of the Hapless (Stories) by Brian Ames

I think it wouldn't be a stretch to suggest that some readers might soon be calling Word Riot Press the Sub Pop of the book world.


Blackbodying by Dimitri Nasrallah

Nothing is absolute in Blackbodying, its narrators cannot be trusted and its conclusion is far from a satisfying inevitablity.


The Best American Science Writing, 2004 by Dava Sobel and Jesse Cohen

To fiddle confidently in the field of general relativity or to wander among the molecules busily making protein and then to write about it for mass consumption takes talent and courage.


Tuesday, February 1 2005

Tori Amos: Piece by Piece by Tori Amos & Ann Powers

The coverage goes beyond name-dropping and timelines in an effort to communicate and create new conversations around Amos' music.


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