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Tuesday, February 1 2005

The Proust Project by Andre Acimen

It celebrates the very act of discovering Proust, an occasion Acimen likens to 'wandering through a totally unfamiliar land and finding it peopled with kindred spirits and sister souls and fellow countrymen'.

The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby is just humble enough that you cannot hate or resent him, yet authoritative enough that you still retain some reason to respect and be interested in his opinion on books.

Cheat and Charmer by Elizabeth Frank

Elizabeth Frank's first novel -- arriving 20 years after her Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of the poet Louise Bogan -- delivers many compelling scenes of a woman's struggle to balance her own needs with those of her family, but dually flounders in its disregard for pithiness.

Tuesday, January 25 2005

The Whole by John Reed

The author should be commended for having the bravery to take celebrity worship to its logical end -- the celebrity actually becomes a goddess, and actually is worshipped.

The Great Movies II by Roger Ebert

The real problem is Ebert's capacity, like Oprah Winfrey through her book club, to name what's valuable by sheer force of personality and mass media exposure.

For Those About to Rock: A Road Map to Being in a Band by Dave Bidini

What's truly refreshing about this attempt at juvenile rock memoir, rock history and all-around 'how to make it' guide,' is that Bidini doesn't talk down to his young audience.

Tuesday, January 18 2005

The Society of Others by William Nicholson

The novel unintentionally answers one of modern literature's most puzzling questions: What if the characters in Generation X actually had to do something?"

How We Are Hungry by Dave Eggers

The book is infused with the hope that travel can be revelatory and monumental; also hanging over these stories, however, is the depressing realization that you cannot run from your problem.

The Colonel’s Dream by Charles W. Chesnutt

The novel is a literary treat in its examination of Southern culture and northern industrialism, the fall of the Southern aristocracy and the rise of a new middle class.

Black Hat: Misfits, Criminals, and Scammers in the Internet Age by John Biggs

It's partly a technical book, partly a detective novel, and partly a sociological treatise.

Tuesday, January 11 2005

The Year is ‘42 by Nella Bielski

Bielski no doubt invokes Dostoevsky because he is literature's finest chronicler of the human conscience in revolt.

Truth or Dare: A Book of Secrets Shared by Justine Picardie

This is less about confession, and more about who these writers are and how they got that way.

Devil in the Details by Jennifer Traig

Traig paints a strangely colorful and flippant picture of a life with a host of serious mental and physical problems.

The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film by Michael Ondaatje

Murch's example reveals how art is actively created through engagement with raw materials, which are transformed, for good or bad, into the stuff of dreams.

Tuesday, January 4 2005

New Cinematographers by Alexander Ballinger

Ballinger opens up the roles a director of photographer must assume on a movie set, letting others in on the sometimes cumbersome but richly rewarding craft of cinematography.

Kin: New Fiction by Black and Asian Women by Karen McCarthy

McCarthy destabilizes conventional definitions of 'family' by suggesting socially rather than biologically defined kin relations. She presses readers to challenge pedestrian conceptions of the very word.

I Am a Red Dress by Anna Camilleri

It's more than a story of incest and its aftermath; it's a study of one woman's search for identity in an environment in which all the traditional building blocks of the self have been broken apart.

The Cult of Personality: How Personality Tests Are Leading Us to Miseducate Our Children, Mismanage

It wouldn't be so distressing if these tests simply existed innocuously in their own little pocket of American life; the reality of it is that they find their way into nearly every aspect of how we live our lives publicly.

Tuesday, December 14 2004

Saint Morrissey by Mark Simpson

Morrissey is loved because he feels unloved. His followers revel helplessly in the romanticized hyperbole of self-pity.

The Rise of Fashion: A Reader by Daniel Leonhard Purdy

In many respects, the fashion debate is a product of the emergence of modern culture and its various forms of accommodation and resistance.

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