Reviews > Books
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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The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists by Neil Strauss

The world's greatest pickup artists, who can have their pick of any female, damage their brotherhood over a woman.

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The Flavor of our Faith: Reflections on Hispanic Life and Christian Faith by Karen Valentin with Rev

The Hispanic/Anglo issues addressed by Valentin contain universal cultural themes.

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Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish by Abigail Pogrebin

Wieseltier condemns the a la carte Judaism of those who choose what aspect of the religion they like and leave the rest behind and considers those people incompetent because they don't bother to learn what they don't know.

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Dean and Me (A Love Story) by Jerry Lewis and James Kaplan

Lewis does not blame his partner for the inevitable and bitter break-up in 1956. Instead, he makes it very clear that the separation was almost all his idea.

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Shakespeare: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd

Seemingly no kernel of isolated trivia or controversial factoid is small enough to escape the author's notice.

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Star Struck by Pamela Anderson

There's something subtly depressive about the laundry list way that Anderson catalogs Star's life as if afflicted with something like the tit job version of ennui.

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The Saints’ Guide to Happiness: Practical Lessons in the Life of the Spirit by Robert Ellsberg

Ellsberg's saints teach us sadness is not the opposite of happiness, but a part of it.

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Turn That Down!: A Hysterical History of Rock, Roll, Pop, Soul, Punk, Funk, Rap, Grunge, Motown, Met

Lewis Grossberger is many things, but a historian he ain't.

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Powerful Medicines: The Benefits, Risks, and Costs of Prescription Drugs by Jerry Avorn, MD

Powerful Medicines is an expert's look at the problems behind how medications are studied, approved, marketed, and prescribed in the United States.

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'Staircase' Is Gay in a Melancholy Way

// Short Ends and Leader

"Unfairly cast aside as tasteless during its time for its depiction of homosexuality, Staircase is a serious film in need of a second critical appraisal.

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