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Reviews

Friday, October 24 2014

‘The Affairs of Others’ Is a Testament to the First-Person Narrative

Even when the voice of Amy Grace Loyd's narrator suffocates the reader, her excellent prose and perceptive observations continually bring the reader back into Celia's world.


Thomas Pynchon Is Still Doing What He Has Always Done, With Antic Humor and Utter Seriousnes

Is Pynchon suddenly relevant again? Has the culture's craziness finally just caught up to his penchant for conspiracy, paranoia, and crazy-named characters?


Thursday, October 23 2014

With Feeling: ‘Joss Whedon: The Biography’

The only problem with the sincerely enjoyable Joss Whedon: The Biography is that we learn a heck of a lot more about his creative endeavors than we do about the geek god himself.


‘Books That Cook’ Is for the Literary Foodie Whose Reading Tastes Are of a Scholarly Bent

As food studies enters academia, texts are required to populate the curricula. That doesn't mean lay readers can't enjoy them, too.


Wednesday, October 22 2014

The Power of the Reader in ‘A History of Reading’

Alberto Manguel takes a thematic rather than linear approach to a history of reading, offering an entertaining and impassioned account of reading practices and readers' agency.


‘The Mathematician’s Shiva’ Is Classically Middlebrow

There are secret plots, geopolitical rumblings, high-math technical language, and a parrot of interest, but as often as not these things wanly colorize an otherwise monochromatic narrative.


Tuesday, October 21 2014

A Parable of Faith on a Desert Planet

As in Faber's previous fiction, the situation the protagonist meets in The Book of Strange New Things appears to be more complex than what this idealistic but flawed Everyman can fully comprehend.


‘The World Atlas of Street Photography’ Is a Commanding Overview

Readers familiar with these artists will be happy with this representative selection, while newcomers such as myself will find much to pore over, much to enjoy and much to provoke thought.


Monday, October 20 2014

It’s Back to the Future with William Gibson’s ‘The Peripheral’

When Flynne Fisher witnesses a murder, a contract is taken on her life. The contract holders are from the future.


‘Voyaging in Strange Seas’ Tells of the Deep, Wide Roots of Modern Science

The history of the Scientific Revolution, retold: Clear, detailed, and as overwhelming as drinking from a fire hose.


Friday, October 17 2014

‘Into the War’ Is Introspective, Poignant,  and Moralistic in All the Right Ways

Italo Calvino offers a rarely personal, and deeply insightful, glimpse of the adolescent experience of war.


Thursday, October 16 2014

Soap, Candles, and Even the Humble Ice Cube Make Appearances in ‘How We Got to Now’

From the first selfie to the importance of jazz musicians, Steven Johnson puts a few surprises into How We Got To Now.


‘Surgeon General’s Warning’ Provides a Fascinating History on a Controversial Position

Written in vivid detail and expertly researched, Mike Stobbe's chronicle of the office of the Surgeon General parts the curtains on some surprising heroes and brings us to a surprising conclusion.


Lars Iyers’ ‘Wittgenstein Jr’ Is a Portrait of the Genius as a Tortured Thinker

Lars Iyer's latest novel explores sadness and genius while contemplating the end of philosophy.


Wednesday, October 15 2014

‘The End of Absence’ Is an Argument to Turn Off and Tune In

These days there's so much technodread floating around that you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a thinkpiece about how smartphones are ruining our minds.


‘The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace’ Will Make You Think

This real-world account of an ill-fated Yale student's life will be haunting me for many months.


Tuesday, October 14 2014

Mainstream Economists Are Leading America to Ruin

The challenges for Americans and other countries to grapple with are not economic ones, and they are not narrow, technically ‘scientific’ ones. They are moral and philosophical ones.


Why You Have No Idea What Your Favorite Characters Look Like

Celebrated book designer Peter Mendelsund considers how readers construct (or fail to construct) visual images in their minds in What We See When We Read.


Monday, October 13 2014

The Campus Novel as Gonzo Mayhem

His Ph.D revoked, a man fueled by anger returns to an institution he despises in Primordial: An Abstraction.


In ‘The Beggar and the Hare’, Beggars Can Be Choosers

What really happens when you hit rock bottom?


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