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Tuesday, November 25 2014

In an Underground Bar With America’s First Bohemians

Rebel Souls tells how Walt Whitman and a cast of colorful characters helped define American culture from a dark, 19th century basement bar in Manhattan.


Is ‘Gimme Indie Rock’ Another One of Those Essential Guidebooks?

At its best, Gimme Indie Rock shows enough joy to remind its readers why books like these are made in the first place.


Monday, November 24 2014

Žižek Continues His Love Affair With Hegel in ‘Absolute Recoil’

Absolute Recoil is less a "major philosophical intervention" and more a natural continuation of Žižek's decades-long project of interpreting the world through Hegelian and Lacanian analysis.


Can’s Impossible Music

German rock band Can's masterpiece album is the subject of yet another thinly-veiled memoir in the 33 1/3 series, but the approach fits the enigmatic subject better than expected.


Sunday, November 23 2014

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Will Have You Seriously Considering That the Rich Really Should Be Eaten

This tale takes pains to emphasise the difference between the crass newly-rich mainland Chinese (yay!) and the rich-for-like-forever distinguished Chinese families (boo!).


Saturday, November 22 2014

The Heavy Absence of Star Presence

If trying to grasp screen presence is like reaching for the stars, James Harvey shows noble reach in his book, Watching Them Be.


Friday, November 21 2014

The Meaning and Power of Memory Are at the Heart of ‘There Was and There Was Not’

As the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide approaches, a new generation struggles to understand its meaning, and role, in their lives


Thursday, November 20 2014

Joyce Carol Oates’ ‘Lovely, Dark, Deep’ Is Not Bad, Pretty Good, Okay

A line in one of the stories here neatly summarizes Oates’ works: “In private, a nervous collapse is an illness. In public, it can be a career.”


Orson Welles: The Lion in Winter, and at Lunch

Taken from long-lost recordings and filled with Hollywood gossip and personal revelations, this collection of transcripts proves why Orson Welles was one of the great conversationalists of all time.


Wednesday, November 19 2014

From ‘Great White Father’ to Loisel’s Waif: The Troubled Tropes of Peter Pan

Loisel’s retelling is a gorgeous one. But it’s a contribution to a troubled tale. Is Neverland about rejecting adults – or just women?


Setting You Up for Loss: ‘Why Football Matters’

Football. According to author Mark Edmundson, it's a pharmakon.


Tuesday, November 18 2014

‘Brian Jones: The Making of the Rolling Stones’ Serves as a Crucial Corrective

Brian Jones, founder of the Rolling Stones, had the vision and musical intuition which helped make the band a vital force in the '60s.


Human Interaction Is Nailed Down in ‘Wolf In White Van’

John Darnielle's debut novel is an exploration of self-reliance, pain, and acceptance. Isn't that enough?


Monday, November 17 2014

A Rural Youth is Curated in John Updike’s ‘Olinger Stories’

John Updike is able to highlight the details of domestic life in a way that turns the mundane into something sacred and significant.


Sunday, November 16 2014

Learn How to Sculpt With Words With ‘Gwynne’s Grammar’

N. M. Gwynne is devoted both to the preservation of the proper English language and also to its use for higher aesthetic purposes.


Saturday, November 15 2014

Love Is a Sad Thing in ‘The Future for Curious People’

This novel should take its rightful place as a serious literary endeavour about what it means to be human, to be in love, and how that love overcomes all obstacles.


Friday, November 14 2014

America Has a Fever and the Only Cure Is Poetry

In Twenty Poems That Could Save America and Other Essays, Tony Hoagland makes a compelling case that poetry is just what America needs, so long as it's the right kind of poetry.


‘The Story of Pain’ Takes an Historical Look at the Experience and Nature of Suffering

To the author, pain exists only in the act of naming it. Sufferers may disagree.


Thursday, November 13 2014

‘Countercultures and Popular Music’ Is Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation

A fascinating, thorough, and highly intellectual exploration of how popular music shaped the counterculture of the '60s, this is a must read for any fan of music and/or modern anthropology.


‘Remember Those Great Volkswagen Ads?’

This revised and expanded second edition of the hardback, details one of the most influential campaigns in the history of advertising.


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