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Tuesday, September 14 2004

Some of My Best Friends: Writings on Interracial Friendships by Emily Bernard

It is a pressure cooker situation. Many of the essays are filled with anger, resentment, confusion, misunderstanding, and contradictions.

How I Paid For College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship and Musical Theater by Marc Acito

Marc Acito, who has been called the 'gay Dave Barry,' understands sexual confusion and explores it subtly and lightly, avoiding a heavy-handed approach.

Tuesday, August 31 2004

Judging Thomas: The Life and Times of Clarence Thomas by Ken Foskett

The two most highly combustible issues in America -- race and sex -- had been doused with gasoline and set afire.

I Dream of Microwaves by Imad Rahman

At best, such work is insightful; cross-breeding makes for more ingenious and unique prose. At its worse, bad multicultural literature is just bad writing.

Ghosts of Vesuvius: A New Look at the Last Days of Pompeii, How Towers Fall, and Other Strange Conne

Before we pass judgment on the moral fiber of earlier societies, we must first examine our own regard for humanity, our propensity for cruelty, and our readiness to deal with future disasters.

Emily’s Reasons Why Not by Carrie Gerlach

Some of her discoveries are trite, but they work in the plastic, Hollywood world in which Emily inhabits.

Wednesday, August 25 2004

Skels by Maggie Dubris

The book reminds us that to create is to stand in the shadows of those who already have created.

The Rebel: An Imagined Life of James Dean by Jack Dann

What begins as an exciting premise, though, quickly dissolves into a bizarre mess of ill-conceived ideas and inconsistencies that twists the life of Hollywood biggest and most enduring icon into a preposterous joke.

No Turning Back:  The Life and Death of Animal Species by Richard Ellis

Another day, another couple of dozen extinctions. Our calluses are so thick that the word extinction no longer riles even the most strident creationist.

Going to Bend by Diane Hammond

To Hammond's great credit, she seems fully aware of the archetypes she has to work with and focuses plenty of attention on rendering relationship pathos beyond the clichéd characterizations.

A Certain Chemistry by Mil Millington

Millington engages in far too much foreplay before getting to the nitty-gritty of the story. It takes roughly 170 pages until anyone actually drops their pants.

Tuesday, August 10 2004

Stand & Deliver: Political Activism, Leadership, and Hip-Hop Culture by Yvonne Bynoe

Bynoe reminds readers throughout the book 'all of this is about more than hip-hop. Hip-hop is simply the metaphor for our lives.'"

Mischief Night - New & Selected Poems by Roddy Lumsden

His poems are costly, hard-worked monuments to his own internal struggle, jagged, often irregular chunks of language.

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris

Hints of a bigger purpose that sprout up in some of the newer pieces, perhaps the vague outline of a history he is recording, albeit filtered through a funhouse mirror.

Cecil B. DeMille’s Hollywood by Robert S. Birchard

Birchard seems utterly, almost willfully, uninterested in DeMille as a man, as a flesh-and-blood human being complete with psyche, self, and soul.

Condensed Knowledge by Will Pearson, Mangesh Hattikudur, and Elizabeth Hunt

Pearson and Maloney credit the success of both the magazine and the book to the original motto: that of successfully 'blurring the lines between education and entertainment'.

Tuesday, August 3 2004

The Winged Energy of Delight: Selected Translations by Robert Bly

What I see being published these days is poetry that either values language over life, or vice versa, rather than a productive friction between the two.

My Life by Bill Clinton

The past and the present are sandwiched together in a sort of unholy fusion of summertime back porch reminiscence and a lunchtime program at the Brookings Institution.

The Last Run by Todd Lewan

The book deals with a different kind of perfect storm -- the emotional lives of the fishermen and of the Coast Guard heroes who save them.

Hollywood Interrupted by Andrew Breitbart and Mark Ebner

The authors 'expose' celebrities' narcissism, sense of entitlement and bad judgment. However, it has often been said that at least two of those qualities are prerequisites to work in Hollywood.

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