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Wednesday, August 6 2003

Little Doors by Paul Di Filippo

Economics seem to have given genre writers the idea that if something is worth doing as a short story, you might as well stretch it out, pad it up and stitch it together as a novel. Glance around the bookstore and it seems like mere scraps of imagination that might fuel a short story are routinely transformed into an entire series.


Krakota: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883 by Simon Winchester

It seems oddly appropriate that Winchester ends his book with a personal journey, for this is a work of deep personal significance to him. It is also a book of tremendous importance to our understanding of the place of humans in the natural landscape.


The British Working Class in Postwar Film by Philip Gillett

For in his sociological study of postwar Britain and the ways in which film portrayed the working class, the relationship between cinema as a means of popular entertainment and as a text is played out within the establishment of an historical context.


Wednesday, July 30 2003

The Psychology of War: Comprehending Its Mystique and Its Madness by Lawrence LeShan

LeShan is not a peacenik; he does not claim that war is never justified. He does argue, however, that mythic wars are dangerous. They impair people's ability to think rationally and make informed decisions.


Pie to Spoilt by Chong Tze Chien

Affluence, academic competitiveness, early successes (getting it all right by your early 30s), neuroses, conspiracy theories, and crass materialism are some of the themes, metaphors, metonyms, and descants explored by young Singaporean playwright, Chong Tze Chien.


The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst

The book flap suggests a mystery: ''strange clues' in their home: books rearranged on their shelves, a mysterious phone call, and other suggestions that nothing about Lexy's last afternoon was quite what it seemed.'' It's a great hook. If only the story were what it seemed.


Candy by Mian Mian

A rock 'n' roll drug addict love story that was banned by the government four months after it was first published but soon pirated versions appeared on the street and flourished.


Chaucer’s Queer Nation by Glenn Burger

In the end, Burger's argument hinges less on concrete examples of homosexuality in Chaucer's works, but rather, the notion of personalization in the writings, telling more about who a character is, and broader still, how a culture is defined.


Thursday, July 24 2003

Tin House

Rob Spillman, review by Jonathan Messinger -- It's possible, ostensibly, to judge a magazine solely on its sex issue -- if for no other reason than it's the most fun for the reviewer.


What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News by Eric Alterman

The image of the 'hack,' the gruff, curmudgeonly, cigar-chomping, semi-alcoholic journalist of yesteryear who battered away mercilessly on his typewriter and rubbed everybody the wrong way (especially the societal elite who saw no profession as unworthy as journalism), has all but vanished.


The Wave and Other Stories by Caren Gussoff

Caren Gussoff's short stories map feminine experience of contemporary reality from the inside, and offer jolting rides through disturbed, damaged lives and minds. Her fictional worlds are fractured by emotional pain, criss-crossed by barely-healed scar tissue, gnarled and knotted by frustrated desires and thwarted ambitions.


Pearl of Perlis: Perlis State Park Guide by Editors: Kasim Osman, Rahimatsah Amat and Surin Suksuwan

The general impression given by this book (for better or worse) is a sense of nostalgia and a strong urge to visit the place before everything disappears into oblivion.


The Low End of Higher Things by David Clewell

Author of six poetry collections, winner of the National Poetry Series, and professor of writing and literature at Webster University, Clewell celebrates this quirky adventure we call life, and does it with grace, style and aplomb.


Cinema’s Missing Children by Emma Wilson

The ascent of the vanished child to the level of national preoccupation is nothing new to film scholar Emma Wilson, who has been tracking the phenomenon in both Europe and the United States for years. Wilson, a professor at Corpus Christi College at Cambridge University, contends that images of missing children have become among the most predominant and haunting in western art, particularly in film.


Tuesday, July 8 2003

The Only Girl in the Car by Kathie Dobie

She reminds us that we do not live a soap opera, even if time to time, melodrama pervades. Dobie conveys her path of maturity with articulate, yet readable prose.


The Feast of Roses by Indu Sundaresan

She is the most powerful person in the world's most advanced civilization, but while she is wily as a fox, she isn't necessarily wise as an owl. She crushes opposition in the zenana where she ruins lives and alienates her few supporters. They get their revenge.


Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation’s Capital by Mark Andersen, Mark Jenkins

Chronicling the electrifying 1980-90s hardcore scene (or harDCore, as it was called), Dance of Days tells the tale of the bands that fought or social change in the nation's capital while putting out some of the fierce albums ever heard.


The Boy on The Bus by Deborah Schupack

The strength of her psychological thriller lies in her frugal, yet powerful, construction of sentences. They have a jaunty, almost nervous value, and she never gives too much away.


The Bloodaxe Book of Modern Welsh Poetry: 20th Century Welsh Poetry in Translation by Menna Elfyn &

A survey of modern Welsh-language poetry that is variable in quality but consistently interesting in the political histories it maps out in potted biographies and in the introductory essay, which announces the book as 'the first definitive anthology of 20th century Welsh-language poetry in English translation'.


Wednesday, July 2 2003

Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath by Kate Moses

See, in the end, Sylvia Plath did kill herself. Moses comes off as Plath's posthumous ally, augmenting Plath's feminist prowess to incredulous heights.


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