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Sunday, January 1 1995

The Twentieth Wife: A Novel by Indu Sundaresan

Islam is the backdrop of this story. But, while it is ever present, it is never 'more' than a backdrop which is something of a disappointment since in this day, anything that would offer us a clearer view of Islam would be welcomed.


Ten Years of Terror. British Horror Films of the 1970s by Harvey Fenton and David Flint

The contributors examine the 133 pictures produced during the course of this decade with neither a jaundiced eye nor the kind of slavish affection for the gruesome that makes much of the writing on horror films juvenile in the extreme.


Twentieth Century America:  A Brief History by Thomas C. Reeves

Living in a contemporary world and writing about its complex history is a little like operating a weapon of sorts. Whichever way you hold it, you're aiming.


The Televisionary Oracle by Rob Brezsny

By the time 'The Televisionary Oracle' comes to an inevitable end, the reader is hooked into the un-sanity of our own world and the comparable sanity of kookdom.


To Repel Ghosts by Kevin Young

Kevin Young has produced something important here, an evocative and provocative examination of art, music, pop culture, and what it means to be -- to use the overworked but inescapable phrase -- young, gifted, and black.


Torching the Fink Books & Other Essays on Vernacular Culture by Archie Green

[Archie Green] embodies the best kind of common sense; reading him, we are alerted, as if from deep slumber, to how labor and culture, the active and the contemplative life, are not divisible territories but part of a complex environment in which thought and action form an indissoluble whole. Archie is, if anything, a agitator of the human spirit.


Tomorrow Never Knows: Rock and Psychedelics in the 1960s by Nick Bromell

Listening to the music of the times permits one to remember, Bromell believes, the loneliness, the breakthroughs, the vertigo of radicalization, and the awareness of a fundamental instability that looked like ecstasy at one moment, like evil the next.


This Is Not a Novel by David Markson

The book presents an interesting collage of the history of art and literature, peppered with artistic and literary obituaries like 'Tennessee Williams choked to death on the plastic cap of a nasal spray'.


Time Traveler and In Search of Life

One way to value nature is to examine what it would cost to replace the free goods it gives us with manufactured goods. For example, in the South 'maw nature' gave us lots of free water. With urbanization, water is no longer free.


Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage by Albert Glinsky

To most Americans, the name of Leon Theremin brings to mind the musical instrument bearing his name. To his native Russia, though, Lev Sergeyevich Termen was literally a character who spanned the history of the Soviet Union, from the original Bolshevik Revolution to the collapse of the USSR.


Too Close To Call: The Thirty-Six-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election by Jeffrey Toobin

The media saturation that surrounded the disputed election makes it easy for people to assume they know everything about it or to know for certain that they are sick of it. That's a shame because Jeffrey Toobin's new book 'Too Close to Call: The Thirty-Six-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election' deserves to find a wide audience.


A Stone Bridge North by Kate Maloy

On a stress rating chart, you'd think Maloy would top out at massive nervous breakdown level. Instead, she thrives on the challenges her radical choices bring her and delights in sharing the exhilarating experience of reinventing yourself.


The Song of the Earth by Hugh Nissenson

How much knowledge is too much, and if we've already tasted the forbidden fruit, what's to stop us from planting an entire apple orchard? 'The Song of the Earth' stretches our present-day dilemmas into a highly imaginative and yet unnervingly plausible future.


Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age 1971 - 1984 by Van Burnham

Besides sheer nostalgia value, 'Supercade' also points out the impact videogames have made on our culture as a whole.


Swing Shift: All Girl Bands of the 1940s by Sherrie Tucker

Before this book is through, I think you'll completely disagree with George T. Simon's quote that opens the book: 'Only God can make a tree . . . and only men can play jazz.' Women, it seems, can match men, note for note.


Synners by Pat Cadigan

A very intricate and well-plotted work that should appeal to fans of cyberpunk, sci fi and even mystery/suspense.


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