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Tuesday, July 8 2003

The Bloodaxe Book of Modern Welsh Poetry: 20th Century Welsh Poetry in Translation by Menna Elfyn &

A survey of modern Welsh-language poetry that is variable in quality but consistently interesting in the political histories it maps out in potted biographies and in the introductory essay, which announces the book as 'the first definitive anthology of 20th century Welsh-language poetry in English translation'.


Wednesday, July 2 2003

Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath by Kate Moses

See, in the end, Sylvia Plath did kill herself. Moses comes off as Plath's posthumous ally, augmenting Plath's feminist prowess to incredulous heights.


Plant Life by Pamela Duncan

Through the lives of her characters and the conversations they have, she reinforces the strength and resiliency of the human spirit, and offers up a sober antidote to the pervasive shrillness of 'reality television'.


A Consumer’s Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America by Lizabeth Cohen

Where Cohen really excels is showing how social, economic and political forces came together in the Consumers' Republic. After the Second World War, converting back to the peacetime economy meant also reestablishing the dominance of the mostly white men coming home from service.


The Crash of Hennington by Patrick Ness

For a novel that reads like a satirical modern day soap opera veering on the edge of science fiction, The Crash of Hennington is in a genre of its own.


Thursday, June 26 2003

The Teammates by David Halberstam

It is a perverse, almost masochistic mode of operation, but it is how American popular culture works. The more the stars stay away, the more we try to pull them closer.


Something for Nothing: Luck in America by Jackson Lears

With a legacy son in the White House and the rewards of hard work a crapshoot (thanks to corporate grifters like Enron), these days more attention is turning to the place of luck in American culture.


Sewing Circles of Herat: A Personal Voyage Through Afghanistan by Christina Lamb

Though heartbreaking, Lamb's book is a beautiful gift to Afghanistan and essential to understanding a people beyond news clips.


Stasiland: True Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder

Funder presents what is essentially a journalistic narrative in the style of a fictional one, so that characters and thematic threads link up to elaborate deeper symbolic significances.


Surviving the Death of a Sibling: Living Through Grief When an Adult Brother or Sister Dies by TJ Wr

The Surviving Siblings -- a pointedly misunderstood and heartbroken group with no clubhouse.


Thursday, June 19 2003

PopMatters Literary Journal Review: One Story

Where the standard literary journal packs a barrage of punches by amassing a collection of pieces (short stories, poems, art, nonfiction, detritus), One Story strikes quick and hard with its one forceful fist.


Villa Incognito by Tom Robbins

The world needs Tom Robbins to offer fresh and glorious insight -- with no reservations whatsoever -- about those little pieces of humanity and society that flummox us most.


Sitting Shiva by Elliot Feldman

Alexander Portnoy meets Don Corleone? Philip Roth teams up with Mario Puzo? Well, not exactly, but Feldman lends the somewhat cliched mob themes a slightly different flavor, at least.


The Best Short Stories of Leslea Newman by Leslea Newman

The act of family building is central in this book, whether it involves one's relationship with parents or trying to conceive a child with a turkey baster.


Tuesday, June 10 2003

Strongly Spent: 50 Years of Poetry

This is a consummately chosen selection of powerful poems, rewarding to read, and remaining in the reader's mind long after the book has been put down.


Vampire Thrall by Michael Schiefelbein

Schiefelbein does not overdraw the story, keeping the narrative short, not over-dealing the fantastic elements or giving us pat and simplistic answers to the questions it poses.


The Sinister Pig by Tony Hillerman

If the way things work in Washington are truly as Mr. Hillerman describes them, the book, although fiction, will surely make many readers want to just vote out the whole group of politicians and bureaucrats and start over.


The Man with the Dancing Eyes by Sophie Dahl

A charming little fairytale about love in the modern world, told with a poetic, old-fashioned voice, which manages to capture and allure throughout its sparsely filled 74 pages.


Due Preparations for the Plague by Janette Turner Hospital

It's a rippling current through a sordid world encased by fear, politics and familial bonds.


Call Me Crazy by Anne Heche

Readers will be hard-pressed to find any sort of narrative, character development, or style in Heche's muddle of self-discovery.


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