Reviews > Books
Rethinking the Closure of the Asylums in the Age of Community Care

Barbara Taylor's "bin memoir", as she terms it, tells a story of neglect, dysfunction, and failed expectations. She recovered; the mental health care system didn't.

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Marguerite Duras: A Sublime Passion

An intimate interview with France’s acclaimed woman of letters reveals the power of silence.

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‘Frankenstein’: An Indictment of Divine Indifference

By examining the perils of creation, Frankenstein is a parable of the inscrutable nature of man's relationship with God.

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Villette Is the Quiet, Genius Child Left Alone in the Room, Nurturing Itself

Brontë’s expedition traverses the darkest shadows away from the slightest sliver of light.

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‘Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ All-Time Greatest Hits’ Is a Fun, But at Times Frustrating Read

Binelli has his finger on the pulse of pop culture in this era, but Jay himself, as presented here, lacks a pulse.

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‘Masterpieces of Soviet Painting and Sculpture’ Can Hardly Be Bettered

It is to the credit of the editors that they cover as much ground as they do, and in such style.

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Prepare to Be Logofascinated by Paul Anthony Jones’ ‘Word Drops’

What conversation wouldn’t be improved by the inclusion of the word kummerspeck, which is defined as “excess weight gained through comfort eating” but literally means “bacon-grief”?

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‘Cyberspies’: Our Chapter Is Still Being Written

Cyberspies traces the history of computers and their relationship to espionage beginning with World War II code breaking to the present day's bulk data collection.

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Press ‘A’ for Characterization: Video Games, Fiction and Drew Magary’s ‘The Hike’

The story in Drew Magary's The Hike is a sequence of separate, cool ideas strung together tenuously with flimsy video game logic.

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Nils Büttner’s Examination of Hieronymus Bosch Pales in the Light of Its Subject

Hieronymus Bosch was a fantastic painter whose weird conception of the world stirs strong emotions. This new translation of Nils Büttner's analysis of the artist, alas, doesn't.

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Alex Marwood’s The Darkest Secret’ Is Tightly Woven and Precisely Detailed

The Darkest Secret is exactly what a mystery novel should be: suspenseful, comprehensive, fast-paced, upsetting, and fulfilling.

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Eviction Has Become Increasingly Prevalent and Increasing Damning

Matthew Desmond sees poverty and housing as questions of morality in Evicted.

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‘Florence! Foster!! Jenkins!!!’ Fails to Fall Into Tune

Florence Foster Jenkins' music transports one to a realm of bizarre delights. Darryl W. Bullock's book on the singer remains firmly in the mundane.

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Observing the World at Escape Velocity With Russell Banks

Russell Banks latest is a throw-back to a bygone style of literary travel writing.

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‘Track Changes’: History Written on Glass

A dense, scholarly history of machine-made literary magic: effortless revisions, swappable files, perfect printouts, and what authors did with them.

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The Dark Side of Obsession in ‘The Osamu Tezuka Story’

Tezuka may be a god of manga, but his story is apocryphal.

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A Society With Its Hand on the Trigger: Vicki Baum’s ‘Grand Hotel’

Vicki Baum writes of a stir-crazy people living in a world that is both swiftly and slowly emptying of its meaning.

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Richard Russo’s ‘Everybody’s Fool’ Reminds Us That Fortune Comes in Gradations

Only in Russo’s world could we hang as tightly as we do on a belief that misguided fortunes might correct themselves and turn life’s cruelties around.

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What Would Animals Say If We Asked the Right Questions?

Vinciane Despret blends science with story to give readers new ways to think about animals and our relationships with them.

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‘Into the Maelstrom’ Provides a Fascinating View of 20th Century Underground Movements

Free music performer and writer David Toop spends much of his latest effort exploring the philosophical and artistic movements from which pre-1970 performers drew inspiration.

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//Mixed media

Indie Horror Month 2016: Executing 'The Deed'

// Moving Pixels

"It's just so easy to kill someone in a video game that it's surprising when a game makes murder difficult.

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