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Books

The Romantic Nightmare in Alfred Döblin's 'Bright Magic'

The stories in this collection are circular, puzzling; they often end as cruelly as they do quietly, the characters and their journeys extinguished with poisonous calm.

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Books

Maurice Sendak: A Fable-Maker for Our Times

The 20th century did its best to dismantle innocence and inflict ideologically based suffering on children so as to darken human psychology for generations to come. Sendak dealt in honesty to make sense of bleak legacies.

Books

Leonard Mlodinow Makes His Message Perfectly Clear

His success as a solo author has also led to some impressive partnerships in recent years. Mlodinow’s the guy who made scientific visionary Stephen Hawking more accessible — after Hawking read “Euclid’s Window,” he wanted to work with Mlodinow.

Nick Owchar - Los Angeles Times (MCT)
Books

T.C. Boyle's Notes Join Mailer's and DeLillo's

T.C. Boyle has an uncommon three-sided gift: He makes bestseller lists, publishes esteemed literary fiction, and is a consistently prolific author.

Carolyn Kellogg - Los Angeles Times (MCT)
Books

'Charles Dickens: A Life' Brings Dickens Down to Earth

Clare Tomalin's timely biography focuses on how the man who wrote both heroes and villains so well found elements of both in himself.

Books

Sui Generis on the Rocks: An Appreciation of Christopher Hitchens

The best way to compliment a writer, as a writer, is to recognize, with neither regret nor resignation, that on your best day you will always stand in awe of what they achieved.

Books

Murder, She Wrote, and Deliciously Well

Agatha Christie believed in storytelling and did not confuse it with decanting the contents of her interior life and stretching it out along a contrived plot tarted up with simile, symbolism and encyclopedic information about secret societies.

Mary McNamara - Los Angeles Times (MCT)
Music

Decemberists’ Colin Meloy Tunes into Book World with ‘Wildwood’

“The Decemberists will be pretty quiet for a bit,” said Colin Meloy, adding that it will be a few years before fans see another record. In the meantime, Meloy plans to give this series of at least three books, which begins with Wildwood, his full attention.

Susan Carpenter - Los Angeles Times (MCT)
Books

Africa's Crime Writers Are Coming to the Fore, Inspired by Violence

In the second decade of the 21st century, some of the most compelling contemporary crime-fiction novels are either set in or coming from Africa.

Cary Darling - McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)
Books

The Red Hair Factor in 'Anne of Green Gables' and 'Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm'

Classic children's heroines Anne of Green Gables and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm share nearly the same story, but from two different points of view -- and it's those differences that turn out to be most interesting.

Books

Eve Ensler's 'I Am an Emotional Creature' Is All About Eve

From genital mutilation in the Congo to anorexia in Beverly Hills, the battleground is always a woman's body. In this case, though, the focus is too much on Eve herself.

Books

Michael Palin: Nice Guy Finishes in Hollywood

The Nice One from Monty Python sketches a consistent portrait of himself as a decent, ordinary bloke who just happens to be trapped in the role of light-comedy hero -- Hugh Grant comes inevitably to mind -- playing exasperated straight man to his whacky buddies, who in turn are forever dragging him into Situations.

Books

Diana Peterfreund Talks with PopMatters About Bitch Media's Top 100 Feminist YA List Debacle

" [Elizabeth] Scott's book is an intense read, but it reflects the horrifying reality that abducted women face... I remember thinking when I first saw [these titles on the list] that they must have been included because the issues they dealt with were important women's issues and thus of particular interest to the feminist reader."

Books

Scott Westerfeld Talks with PopMatters About Bitch Media's Top 100 Feminist YA List Debacle

Is a book removed from a list comparable to a book removed from a library shelf? This and other concerns are raised in this discussion about Bitch Media's removal of three YA novels from its published 'Best of' list.

Books

Something Rare: Ernest Hemingway's Mystic Communion

The lure of mystery and dread in Catholicism that attracted the fatalistic author.

Politics

Life During Wartime: Carl Sandburg's Poetry of the Macabre

For every moment of brief tedium in Sandburg’s masterpiece, the master suddenly hits the reader with a scene or a moment that is breathtaking in its prose and cold, dispassionate observation of life during wartime.

Books

Seasoned Playwright Brooke Berman Finds Home in a New Genre

Playwright Brooke Berman talks to PopMatters about the experience of writing and publishing her first prose work, No Place Like Home: A Memoir in 39 Apartments.

Books

Ben Tanzer’s Fiction: A Tragicomic Exploration of Life and Pop Culture

Ben Tanzer is a writer with enough heart to pump life into nearly any literary scene. He encourages the reader to use their empathy for his characters to explore their own relationships, decisions, and identity.

David Masciotra
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