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Reviews

Tuesday, February 17 2015

The Year That Changed Chaucer From Court Insider to Ambitious Author

Paul Strohm's Chaucer's Tale tells how Chaucer's fall from political favor in London elevated his literary ambitions in rural retreat.


Monday, February 16 2015

Who Made the Machines That Remade the World?

Walter Isaacson's The Innovators explores the history of the digital age as told through the intertwined lives of the men and women who created it.


Thursday, February 12 2015

Marginalia, Errata, Secrets, Inscriptions, and Other Ephemera Found in Libraries

Letter to a Future Lover tries to make sense of the world through the flotsam and jetsam of things left in books.


Wednesday, February 11 2015

Matthew Thomas Tackles Dementia in His Ambitious First Novel, ‘We Are Not Ourselves’

At one point, Thomas gave up his teaching job because the desire to finish his writing had outweighed the desire to achieve financial security. Such passion is evident in the pages of his novel.


Tuesday, February 10 2015

‘The Warren Commission Report’ Reveals How Much the JFK Assassination Remains a Mystery

There's a lot to admire about this graphic-fiction account of the complicated and controversial evidence surrounding the Kennedy assassination


Thursday, February 5 2015

‘The Never-Open Desert Diner’ Is Beautifully Written With a Delicate Sense of Humor

A book with this kind of subtly, lyricism, and quiet intensity isn’t just appreciated—it’s restorative.


Wednesday, February 4 2015

The Programmer as Author in ‘If Hemingway Wrote JavaScript’

This inventive and engaging book imagines what JavaScript might look like in the hands of 25 writers, including William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Tupac Shakur, and J.K. Rowling.


The Characters in ‘The Half Brother’ Are Formulaic, at Times Startlingly So

Charles Spooner Garrett, Harvard English degree in hand, has no particular talents, ambitions, or goals when he lands a teaching position at the Abbott School, in Abbottsford, Massachusetts.


Tuesday, February 3 2015

‘Scarcity’ Suffers From Trying to Cram Too Much Into One Box

Although the interesting model of Scarcity makes it worth a read, like too many behavioral economics texts, it tries to cram too many global phenomena under its framework.


Monday, February 2 2015

‘The Struggle for Pakistan’ Masterfully Summarizes a Country’s Troubled History

Dr. Ayesha Jalal's thorough survey will remain the definitive history of Pakistan for decades to come.


Friday, January 30 2015

These Protestant Communities Understood Persecution Firsthand, and the Nazi Agenda Horrified Them

The remote mountain villages of le Chambon and the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon were Protestant havens that opened their homes to shelter countless Jewish children during WWII.


Thursday, January 29 2015

What Does a Mexican Comic Hero and a Citizens’ War Crimes Tribunal Have to Do With Each Other?

Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires is a blend of narrative genius with deep political philosophical significance, couched in a surreal blend of comic and prose.


John Carpenter and His Works, in Still Life

Gazing upon this vast collection of images with an abundance of rare and previously unseen stills, one cannot help but feel that Gottlieb-Walker captures the films' ontological identity.


Wednesday, January 28 2015

Reality, One Grain at a Time

There’s more of value in one Calvino essay about Roman pig sties than there is in a week’s worth of slop from the Huffington Post.


Having Trouble Sleeping? Relax, It’s All in Your Mind

Funny and direct, as well as useful and nurturing, Sane New World is a must read for anyone who has been up at night worrying about the future or regretting the past.


Tuesday, January 27 2015

A Convent Goes Psycho-Sexual in ‘The Nuns of Sant’Ambrogio’

Based on the detailed notes from the original Roman Inquisition investigation long buried in a Vatican archive, Wolf unravels a tale of religious madness and power trips.


Monday, January 26 2015

‘All the Light We Cannot See’: People in the Dark, Hunting the Right Frequency

In Anthony Doerr's richly romantic jewel quest of a war novel, a blind girl and an engineering prodigy pulse ever closer to each other across a ravaged Europe.


This Collection of the Band’s Memories Makes Led Zeppelin Actually Likeable

No matter how grandiose the Led Zeppelin legend gets, hearing the golden gods tell their tale is both astounding and more real than anything anyone could ever make up.


Friday, January 23 2015

This ‘Vanity Fair’ Retrospective Reveals the Spirit of the Early Decades of 20th Century America

Bohemians, Bootleggers, Flappers and Swells is a celebration of progress, of progressives, prophecy, and prescience.


Thursday, January 22 2015

‘Naked Cinema: Working With Actors’ Resonates

In this absorbing volume, Sally Potter provides an exploration of the director/actor relationship that teems with insight and intelligence, offering inspiration whatever your creative pursuits.


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