Reviews > Books

5 Jan 2006 // 1:00 AM

Magic Seeds by V.S. Naipaul

Both Roger and Willie are, in effect, poorly disguised mouthpieces for Naipaul's right-wing socio-political observations.

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One Nation Under God: The History of Prayer in America by James P. Moore, Jr.

Looking at the United States from the knees of those who fashioned its history offers a fresh perspective on the country's past.

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Strapped: Why America’s 20- and 30-Somethings Can’t Get Ahead by Tamara Draut

I didn't need Tamara Draut to tell me that I'm strapped, but I did need her to tell my mom.

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Chasing Elvis by Glenn P. Marcel

Elvis stands in popular culture a singular force whose persona like Whitman's permits contradictions and provokes an urge to make myths.

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The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value by James F. English

Without passing any sort of overt judgment on cultural prizes themselves, English instead provides some illuminating research on the driving forces behind the 20th century proliferation of awards.

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Curious Minds: How a Child Becomes a Scientist by John Brockman

We like our lives to be a seamless narrative, and it takes a lot of editing to turn the chaotic jumps of experience into a good story.

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16 Dec 2005 // 1:00 AM

The Beatles by Bob Spitz

Spitz conquers the sensibilities of common logic by telling us a story we know by heart as if we'd never heard it.

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Dr. Golem: How to Think About Medicine by Harry Collins and Trevor Pinch

Reading Dr. Golem is like looking at a diseased heart on an electrocardiogram with improperly placed leads; you can clearly tell something is wrong, but the angles are all distorted.

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Howl for Now: A Celebration of Allen Ginsberg’s Epic Protest Poem by Simon Warner

It's a poem that must be heard, and seen, and felt, a literary 'happening' that can only be captured with divergent artistic facets superimposed and interlaced with each other.

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Never Have Your Dog Stuffed and Other Things I’ve Learned by Alan Alda

The book, with Alda's full life as its case study, presents new ways of looking at old problems; new approaches to long-standing lessons.

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12 Dec 2005 // 1:00 AM

The Truth About Diamonds by Nicole Richie

Richie somehow manages to take a lifetime of sex, drugs, and rock n' roll and render it about as exciting as Kenny G playing Christmas tunes.

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Queens Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat, 50 Cent, and the Rise of the Hip Hop Hustler by Ethan Brown

This book provides a parabolic tale. Brown articulates that the tragic circumstances surrounding so many hip-hop greats signifies the folly of confusing a crime underworld with BET's Access Granted.

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Devil’s Midnight by Yuri Kapralov

Certainly the Russian Revolution has been tackled before, but Kapralov's stab brings a level of dark, supernatural mysticism that throws an already-gloomy history even deeper into shadow.

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7 Dec 2005 // 1:00 AM

Bat Boy Lives! by David Perel

If the horse that played Mr. Ed was really a pothead, how did it operate the bong?"

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San Francisco Noir by Peter Maravelis

Out there on the foggy edge on the continent, with its outlaw history, mad riot of architecture and strangely cold sun, San Francisco casts some long, weird shadows.

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5 Dec 2005 // 1:00 AM

Japanland: A Year in Search of Wa by Karin Muller

The chaos of the crowd struggling to board the last train out of Tokyo at midnight is so wonderfully suffocating, the rigidness of sumo training so extreme, that they beg to be witnessed in person.

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Veronica by Mary Gaitskill

Sex may be a physical act, but it's a psychological response. In this respect then, Gaitskill is an author of interiors.

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Dr. Futurity by Philip K. Dick

By using the previous genocide of the native residents of North America as a futuristic rallying cry for his characters, Dick delivers an interesting epic without a great deal of technical wizardry or speculative mumbo jumbo.

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30 Nov 2005 // 1:00 AM

Continued by Piotr Sommer

Nearly every poem springs from/exists in the Relentlessly Everyday.

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29 Nov 2005 // 1:00 AM

Speak Now by Kaylie Jones

The novel suggests that, if not faced -- if only medicated away, as both Clara and Mark have been wont to do -- shadows of the past will permeate the present.

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