Reviews > Books

7 Nov 2005 // 12:00 AM

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

This is the first thing I've read of Neil's where the voice of the narrator sounded just like him. It's sharp and witty and clever and, well, British.

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EAT II: A Collection of Words and Pictures by Robert Pollard

It's hard to find any meaningful distinction between Pollard's poems and his songs, other than the latter generally work, and the former generally don't.

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The Knife Man: The Extraordinary Life and Times of John Hunter, Father of Modern Surgery by Wendy Mo

Ms. Moore, whose prose is populist rather than matching any scholar's norm, wisely opens the book with demonstration of John's humanitarian concern.

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Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats Are Hijacking the Global Economy by Moisés Na

The book offers several cases where economic necessity has blurred the line between legal and illegal activity in many parts of the world.

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Secrets of the Widow’s Son: The Mysteries Surrounding the Sequel to The Da Vinci Code by David A. Sh

This is hardly hard-nosed scientific non-fiction. And Shugarts's first person narrative style can be unbalancing for readers after just that.

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The Bedside Book of Birds: An Avian Miscellany by Graeme Gibson

Graeme Gibson's bedside book provides a glimpse of what every literate birder, professional, scholar or amateur, should want to read.

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Hot Property: The Stealing of Ideas in an Age of Globalization by Pat Choate

The intellectual property debate typically divides into two camps -- those who defend the rights of ownership and those who defend free speech.

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Lolly Scramble: A Memoir of Little Consequence by Tony Martin

Martin listens when people talk; he watches how they move. The results are something superb.

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Gifts of the Desert: The Forgotten Path of Christian Spirituality by Kyriacos C. Markides

In an era when many have turned to Eastern religions in their pursuit of spirituality, Markides's book shows that Christianity has an established tradition of searching for inner meaning.

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World Shores and Beaches: A Descriptive and Historical Guide to 50 Coastal Treasures by Mary Ellen S

The problem isn't, however, with what's included, but what isn't. Why these three East Coast beaches and not Cumberland Island? Or Cape Romain? Or the Florida Keys? Or the Chesapeake Bay? Or Cape May?"

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Freud’s Requiem: Mourning, Memory, and the Invisible History of a Summer Walk by Matthew von Unwerth

Freud's Requiem is subtly but importantly concerned with the increasingly strange, remote world of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Part of what it seeks to do is illuminate that world.

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Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times by Kevin Smokler (editor)

To proclaim that blogging and 50 Cent constitute a new vanguard of literature strikes me as an American intellectual's version of Stockholm Syndrome.

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Rip It Up and Start Again: Post-Punk 1978-1984 by Simon Reynolds

Focusing primarily on British and American music between 1978 and 1984, Reynolds emphasizes the idea that the glossed-over post-punk years were not marginal to the history of rock: they actually spawned a range of sounds that were more revolutionary than punk itself and that left a far more significant legacy, laying the foundations for the subsequent emergence of alternative music in all its myriad forms.

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The Last Duel: A Story of Crime, Scandal, and Trial by Combat in Medieval France by Eric Jager

Jager's medievalism for the masses does a commendable job of filling in the gaping spaces around what is a precariously narrow focus for a legitimate book-length study.

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The Push Man and Other Stories by Yoshihiro Tatsumi

While there are no fantastical elements present in Tatsumi's stories, the overall sense of dread and undisguised revulsion at the human condition which pervade his worldview are strong enough to evoke the most horrific of reactions.

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18 Oct 2005 // 12:00 AM

Mission to America by Walter Kirn

The novel's main problem is that Kirn lacks the right touch for this kind of material.

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17 Oct 2005 // 12:00 AM

Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie

Though Rushdie is rigid in his opinions, he is not judgmental when it comes to his characters.

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Contrary to Popular Belief by Joey Green

These kind of books are always fun, especially when they take on those most misunderstood of communal realities -- the urban legend.

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12 Oct 2005 // 12:00 AM

Darkwitch Rising: Book Three of the Troy Game by Sara Douglass

Douglass' writing contains a neutrality that resists forcing the readers into believing in the good or evil of her characters.

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It’s Called a Breakup Because it’s Broken: The Smart Girl’s Breakup Buddy by Greg Behrendt and Amiir

Behrendt's latest offers the same obnoxious bottom-line as the first: You may be a superfox, but all of us are desperate losers just dying for love and approval.

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Moving Pixels Podcast: Unearthing the 'Charnel House'

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"This week we discuss Owl Creek Games's follow up to Sepulchre, the triptych of tales called The Charnel House Trilogy.

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