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Monday, September 16 2002

Ash Wednesday by Ethan Hawke

Though Hawke often expertly captures some charming and lush moments, 'Ash Wednesday' is not supposed to be a great work of literary genius (as some of his 'But, he's a Hollywood pretty boy!' detractors seem to think), just an uncomplicated tale of the tribulations of young people in love. Objective achieved.


Wednesday, September 4 2002

Life of Pi: A Novel by Yann Martel

In the best tradition of all good literature, it "shows," but never "tells.


Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence by Gerard Jones

In fact, everything in 'Killing Monsters' works, placing it in sharp contrast to the endless sky-is-falling rhetoric of the last few decades, which seems designed for no other purpose than make us fear both the media and our own children.


Dr. Tatiana’s eEx Advice to All Creation by Olivia Judson

I'm appalled by the behavior of the young iguanas of today: I keep encountering groups of youths masturbating at me.


Crocodile Soup by Julia Darling

The themes of loss, isolation, and desperation are ripe with possibility, and yet Darling's treatment of these topics often leaves the reader cold.


Wednesday, August 28 2002

Shed: Poems 1980-2001 by Ken Smith

Smith is a poet of voices, a ventriloquist in writing, drawing on the ancient traditions of balladeers, troubadors, and wandering poets.


Step to the Graveyard Easy by Bill Pronzini

Written with ironic, hard-boiled prose, 'Step to the Graveyard Easy' hearkens back to the soiled elegance of Chandler and Cain.


Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years 1960-1975 by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

I thought of myself as a revolutionary...I wanted to see women liberated, thinking for ourselves, not just organized into a political constituency....


The Courage of Strangers: Coming of Age with the Human Rights Movement by Jeri Laber

In chronicling her life as a human rights activist, Laber reveals how human rights theory and practice can be wedded in such a way that both fields are enriched.


Wednesday, August 21 2002

Snobbery: The American Version by Joseph Epstein

Snobbery can be mocked, but at its core, it is a weak, malicious vice that shows our worst.


The Russian Debutante’s Handbook by Gary Shteyngart

To answer the question of 'What is America?' It could be a hamburger, a hot dog, a shiny Cadillac, and a pretty young woman underneath a palm tree, or all of these.


Nigger by Randall Kennedy

If hip-hop is as American as apple pie, then the language it uses, a language that some call coarse and others call authentic has become the currency of hipness and modernity.


High Life by Matthew Stokoe

Explores the lengths one man will go to for a shot at stardom, and to say those lengths are extreme would be an understatement.


Wednesday, August 14 2002

. . . a divide exists, between low and high art: genre novelists sell books while literary writers thrill critics. It is rare for an author to successfully straddle both worlds.


... this is devastating to Goldstein and Beloff, who really want to get their ass kicked in order to prove their southern bigotry theory.


eBay's business model has always been deceptively simple: low overhead, narrow focus, top-to-bottom accountability, and most of all, paying attention to its customers. In other words, conservatism. Radical.


Chopper's simple message rests in the fact that we shouldn't discriminate against people, even if they are they freakish son of the town whore.


Not only does he dig into a fine array of the social, cultural, economic, racial, and obviously athletic issues of those 12 years, giving us an often hilarious, occasionally heartbreaking, and almost always vigorous narrative of baseball and the lives of baseball players, but this narrative also establishes an accessible and important doorway for modern baseball folks to walk through.


Wednesday, August 7 2002

The Atlanta Review

Dan Veach, review by Gideon Kennedy -- Otherwise, unlike many literary magazines in which readers are more likely to flip through stopping at titles of interest, Atlanta Review print edition can be read comfortably from cover to cover. Because whatever land it happens to be selling, it knows the value of its real estate.


What Lamb manages brilliantly is to show us what happened to Vietnam after the American War (as it is referred to by the Vietnamese).


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