Reviews > Books
Recipients of the Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers, Anthologized

The common thread in Pen America Best Debut Stories 2017 is a simple and succinct style and a desire to tell a good story free from the bells and whistles that sometimes scream “MFA”.

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Professor Randall E. Auxier Is My Bass Player—and Philosopher

Metaphysical Graffiti is a greatest hits rock/philosophy compilation that showcases the coolest professor around.

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On Lynda Barry’s Exercise in Autobiofictionalography, ‘One! Hundred! Demons!’

“Is it autobiography if parts of it are not true? Is it fiction if parts of it are?”

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Stendhal’s ‘Italian Chronicles’ Is a Sordid, Steamy Saga of Sin and Death

In the papal lands and amid the Vatican's power plays, brigands, seducers, nobles, and nuns battle it out.

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‘Heretics!’ Illustrates the Contentiousness Surrounding Philosophy

Heretics! is an original and thoughtful book, sliding somewhere between academic text, layperson’s introduction, and popular philosophy, with a unique, illustrated, twist.

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Dave Chisholm’s Wildly Imaginative Audio/visual Experience, ‘Instrumental’

An allegorical exploration of the idea of just how far some musicians will go to “make it”, Instrumental takes things to the extreme.

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Laughter, Tears, Curtain: Nicholas Hytner Recalls His Time Running the National Theatre

Hytner’s account of his time as Artistic Director of the National Theatre, Balancing Act, offers scattered insights but lacks purpose and precision.

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‘Things to Do When You’re Goth in the Country…’ Will Pull Some Clever Twists on You

Chavisa Woods' characters lean on observation but shy away from judgment, leaving her readers to apply their own values to the happenings in the stories.

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‘The Bonjour Effect’ Bids Au Revoir to French Language and Mores

The Bonjour Effect is too closely tailored to North American sensitivities to properly connect with French conversation culture.

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Pulitzer Prize Winner Jorie Graham’s Collection of Poetry, ‘Fast’, Will Haunt You, Beautifully

These poems are replete with thoughts and images that haunt me, that shake the tendrils of my nervous system and appear to me in unbidden moments.

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Thin Lizzy / Philip Lynott Bio ‘Cowboy Song’ Is Like Reading the Best Liner Notes, Ever

Cowboy Song is not the first biography of Thin Lizzy and/or Lynott, but it is profoundly well-researched and may be the best.

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When American Women’s Dreams of Equality Carried Them to Russia

By uncovering lost stories of women living abroad, Julia Mickenberg revives rich histories of adventure.

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What’s Wrong With Education Today? It’s Missing the Monsters

College should include courses on zombie apocalypses. Monsters in the Classroom: Essays on Teaching What Scares Us explains why.

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‘Devil’s Music, Holy Rollers and Hillbillies’ Joins the Debate on the Origins of Rock ‘n’ Roll

Devil’s Music delves into the murky world of rock 'n' roll history and the genre’s convoluted origins, resulting in a concise analysis of how the music came to be.

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The Guinness-drinking Folks at ‘The Forensic Records Society’ Sure Know Their Music

Magnus Mills tackles religious disintegration with a precision which is almost excessive in The Forensic Records Society.

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‘Threads’ Is a Cartoon Sojourn in a Metaphorical Jungle of Real-world Refugees

A comics journalist interprets the plight of would-be immigrants trapped in French refugee camps just miles from their UK destination.

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A Weak Case for the Important Issue of ‘Muslims and the Making of America’

A book like Muslims and the Making of America is necessary in these times, and it's for that very reason that Hussain's effort is so disappointing.

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Goran Therborn’s Scholary Study, ‘Cities of Power’ and the Global Moment

"Capital cities are by definition sites of political power... they are open also sites of resistance, of political counter-power, of protest rallies and headquarters of opposition movements, parties and trade unions."

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The Premise of ‘Imagine Wanting Only This’ Is Artful In a Way More Typical of Fiction

A paradoxically impersonal memoir of not-quite coming-of-age in an age of isolation.

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‘Sand + Bone’ Confronts What War Does to a Man

Sand + Bone doesn't take a position so much as it illustrates a problem.

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"No Dollars in Duende": On Making Uncompromising, Spirited Music

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"On the elusive yet clearly existential sadness that adds layers and textures to music.

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