Reviews > Books
Author Lee Smith’s Memoir Is a Balance of Sweetness and Heartbreak

Dimestore should take its place alongside Welty’s One Writer’s Beginnings and King’s On Writing as a beautiful and haunting memoir about the American journey.

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The Stories in ‘All Stories Are Love Stories’ Are a Haunting Tribute to Perseverance

Four characters search for healing and resolution in the wake of a San Francisco earthquake.

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‘Hard-Boiled Hollywood’ Is a Fine Entry Point Into the World of Postwar L.A.

Film scholar Jon Lewis takes a look at some of the more infamous happenings in postwar Hollywood while also exploring the political and cultural climate of the day.

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‘Shake It Up’: All the Music That’s Fit to Freak Out About

The Library of America’s rollicking greatest-hits volume of music criticism is an awesomely unwieldy pile of opinion that celebrates not just music, but the very act of appreciating and understanding it.

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The Journey to Paul Gauguin’s Other World Is Well Worth Taking

Graphic novel Gauguin: The Other World traverses the tropical landscapes and surreal mindscape of self-titled “savage” artist Paul Gauguin.

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‘Broad Strokes’ Beautifully Illuminates Often Overlooked Women Artists

Art historian Bridget Quinn is an engaging writer with a knack for choosing the telling anecdote. The result is a fun book full of beautiful art.

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17 May 2017 // 12:30 PM

Make America Cool Again

Joel Dinerstein's The Origins of Cool in Postwar America is an oddly reassuring handbook for the future of resistance

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All the World Really Is a Stage in Dominic Dromgoole’s ‘Hamlet: Globe to Globe’

Dromgoole’s account of touring the Globe’s production of Hamlet to almost 200 countries is a moving, funny and enlightening testament to ambitious ventures.

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Each of the Stories in Murakami’s ‘Men Without Women’ Is a Psychological and Existential Mystery

If Lars Svendsen helps one to understand loneliness cognitively, Haruki Murakami allows one to experience it affectively, giving it a slow, desperate pulse.

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Understanding the Archaeology of the Archive in ‘Archive Everything’

Through participatory Web 2.0 culture, archives have moved from preserved, cherished documents to the structure of everyday life.

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My Life May Be a Mess, But ‘Wait Till You See Me Dance’

In this excellent volume of stories, Deb Olin Unferth uses a slippery sense of perspective to stoke empathy for characters acting out.

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‘The Cross’: A History of One of the World’s Most Iconic Symbols

The Cross manages to re-tell an old story comfortably and enjoyably, without getting dragged down into pedantry or the dry distractions of academic writing.

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Vinyl. Album. Cover. Art: A Definitive History and Showcase in a Genre-shattering Collective

Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey “Po” Powell of Hipgnosis could scarcely have imagined the ways their album art would impact culture.

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‘Prison Movies’ Is a Serious Attempt to Define a Genre and Identify Its Key Characteristics

While some historians classify prison films as offshoots of the gangster film, Kehrwald sees the prison film as relating more closely to social problem films and melodramas.

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‘Food City’ Will Challenge Your Appetite

From sugar to butchery to candy making, early food manufacture was crude, dangerous, and dirty.

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‘The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness’: A Collection of Self-help Fails

Brilliant career comedian Paula Poundstone is ripe for the ultimate self-reflexive comedic conceit: trying various ways of improving upon her own happiness.

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Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s Stories Resonate Despite the Terrors of Her Childhood

Many chapters in The Girl from the Metropol Hotel are brief snippets of memory: you could call them snapshots if they didn't resonate viscerally in so many ways.

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John Darnielle’s ‘Universal Harvester’ Holds a Mystery Within a Mystery

Universal Harvester isn't what it looks like, but part of the fun and force come in finding out what it really, maybe is.

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‘Freddie Mercury’: The Stories, Fables, Parables, and Odysseys of the Man and the Band

Nearly anyone who picks up An Illustrated Life will have a predefined idea of Freddie Mercury; Blake's book is a marvelous document of how we came to accept that idea as truth.

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So It’s About Time I Asked, Who Is Susan Sontag?

Susan Sontag: Essays of the 1960s & 70s and reflections on being under the influence of Camille Paglia.

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