Reviews > Books

9 Oct 2007 // 9:59 PM

The Theory of Clouds by Stephane Audeguy

French film historian intricately spins dreamy prose into a compelling debut novel.

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8 Oct 2007 // 10:00 PM

Song for Night by Chris Abani

A boy soldier, wounded, mute and alone searches for his missing comrades. Amidst the horror of war the possibility arises of a redemption born not of mercy, but of understanding. This is the heart of the beautiful and moving Song for Night, a young man’s search for self-comprehension in the midst of war.

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8 Oct 2007 // 9:59 PM

The House That George Built by Wilfrid Sheed

By the 1950s, the golden age of popular music was just about over. America "wasn't a listening nation anymore," writes Wilfrid Sheed, but a televisual "shaking, rattling and rolling one."

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7 Oct 2007 // 10:00 PM

Exit Ghost by Philip Roth

No one can complain that Philip Roth, of all authors, is politically correct, or that he pretends to be something other than his highly sexualized, readily outraged, and coruscatingly intelligent self.

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7 Oct 2007 // 9:59 PM

The Truth about Patriotism by Steven Johnston

What could have been an incisive and relevant tour through the self-destructive quality of modern patriotism turns into one of the worst slogs of a read released in a long time.

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The Great Arab Conquests by Hugh Kennedy

Kennedy’s achievement is quite impressive; the summarizing of numerous dubious and contradictory accounts about the first century of the Muslim religion’s spread into a single volume.

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Woman on the Other Shore by Mitsuyo Kakuta

Kakuta demonstrates the role circumstance plays in creating friendships, and just how tenuous and resilient the bonds are that hold friends together.

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Obit: Inspiring Stories of Ordinary People who Led Extraordinary Lives by Jim Sheeler

This is almost an anthology of wonderful short stories in which each character, coincidentally, dies at the end.

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3 Oct 2007 // 9:59 PM

Single State of the Union

This collection of essays explores many of the issues with which single women find themselves struggling: disapproving relatives, indifferent non-boyfriends, indecision about whether to have the fling or the baby or both.

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Judgment and Grace in Dixie: Southern Faiths from Faulkner to Elvis by Charles Reagan Wilson

Wilson engagingly details a mass expression of spirituality in key Southern popular culture artifacts and practices.

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The Man Who Melted by Jack Dann

Jack Dann has created a post-apocalyptic world in which Raymond Mantle is searching for the memory of his lost wife. The search for her turns out to be a search for the relationship between memory and desire.

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Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson

Denis Johnson's towering and mystifying new novel, Tree of Smoke, is truly one of the great Vietnam novels. The faint scent of disgust of a purposeless war seems inherited straight from Greene's view of America's tragic involvement in Southeast Asia, but the exuberant exhaustion is strictly Johnson's.

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1 Oct 2007 // 9:59 PM

Tender As Hellfire by Joe Meno

The broken things in this book have a quality about them, maybe even a beautiful quality, rather like the book itself.

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Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right…

A memoir that slightly lacks its advertised impact in terms of discussing evangelical politics, but remains an engaging and instructive self-portrayal throughout.

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30 Sep 2007 // 9:59 PM

The Coldest Winter by David Halberstam

The Vietnam experience invades Halberstam's account of the Korean War.

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27 Sep 2007 // 10:00 PM

Hes a Rebel by Mark Ribowsky

Ribowsky sees the tragic truth of the story that he's telling: Phil Spector is a terrible man who made wonderful music.

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Everybody Hurts by Leslie Simon, Trevor Kelly

This book, while witty at times, suffers from a burning desire to be cool.

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27 Sep 2007 // 9:58 PM

Vivaldis Virgins by Barbara Quick

What Quick has produced is an unwieldy mix of romance novel and character study, the latter standing out vividly, like Technicolor footage in a black-and-white film.

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Marooned: The Next Generation of Desert Island Discs

Most anthologies are meant to be dipped into rather than read front-to-back, but for those who take the plunge, Marooned is an enlightening glimpse into 20 of the infinite nooks and crannies of (mostly) contemporary music.

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26 Sep 2007 // 9:59 PM

Marked by Devah Pager

Pager shows that employers regularly exclude ex-offenders from consideration for entry-level, low-paying jobs, and provides strong evidence that the situation for young black men is significantly worse than for their white counterparts.

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