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Tuesday, April 12 2005

The Greedy Bastard Diary: A Comic Tour of America by Eric Idle

Idle's humanity, ultimately, saves this book from becoming a run-of-the-mill title that usually clogs the humor section at your local bookstore.

The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury by Sam Weller

Ray Bradbury's stories stick in the mind like myths, because they are so terrible and vehement in their plotting.

Tuesday, April 5 2005

Travel in the Mouth of the Wolf by Paul Fattaruso

Fattaruso avoids letting the tale drown in its own inventiveness, instead impelling the undersized novel's surrealist vibe with the romantic heart of a poet, a Fellini film scripted by Neruda.

Safety of War by Rob Benvie

Man, I cannot begin to bitch enough about impenetrable prose of the sort you'd normally find on the lyric sheet to 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway'.

Pound for Pound: A Biography of Sugar Ray Robinson by Herb Boyd with Ray Robinson II

When Boyd does make attempts at description, he produces painful prose. The boxing metaphors just keep coming.

More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement by Ramez Naam

For readers who see specters of the Tyrel Corporation in headlines every day, Naam's relentlessly optimistic take on the future of biotechnology is a tough pill to swallow.

The Geographer’s Library by Jon Fasman

The commercial success of The Da Vinci Code isn't just a lesson in shrewd marketing, either. There's something else going on: a thirst for something deeper and richer.

Tuesday, March 29 2005

Small Crimes in an Age of Abundance by Matthew Kneale

The Winter family's disastrous experience is a microcosm of the relationship between the world's haves and have-nots.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

This book had the makings of a great literary-mystery hybrid of the sort not seen since, perhaps, Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye.

The Muse and the Mechanism by Josh Davis

Charlie Fell is a slightly jaded yet optimistic reincarnation of Stephen Dedalus. And, like Dedalus, he wonders endlessly, trying to find meaning to his life.

The Music Internet Untangled: Using Online Services to Expand Your Musical Horizons by Andy Breeding

No longer do you have to hang out at the local record store to hear new music, nor do you have to pour over countless magazines and spend lots of money on bands you've never heard before.

The Accidental Hunter: A D Hunter Mystery by Nelson George

In the world of social critic Nelson George, even the villain reads Toni Morrison on the way to kidnap the world's reigning pop princess.

Tuesday, March 22 2005

Saturday by Ian McEwan

While the final effect is like a pointillist painting that adds up to something amazing, waiting for McEwan to connect the dots becomes a little tiring.

Magic Circles: The Beatles in Dream and History by Devin McKinney

McKinney sets out to re-place the greatest band in rock and roll history within the context of the volatile time in which the band exploded into the public consciousness, changing the band, its four members and everyone forever.

The Inner Circle by T. Coraghessan Boyle

Kinsey remains an enigmatic figure, one of Boyle's numerous gurus that his fiction has distrusted so readily over the last several decades.

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews

Beginning this book was like engaging in conversation with a Born Again pro-lifer at a clinic picket line.

The Cocaine Chronicles by Gary Phillips and Jervey Tervalon

When the subject is coke, blow, 'caine, whatever the chosen endearment or curse of nomenclature may be, the story never really ends.

Wednesday, March 9 2005

When Religion Becomes Evil by Charles Kimball

It has been said that a country gets the government it deserves; perhaps the same is true of religion. Pass the Kool Aid, please.

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.

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