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By the Book

Jack Halberstam's 'Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire' (excerpt)

Enjoy this excerpt of Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire, wherein Jack Halberstam offers an alternative history of sexuality by tracing the ways in which wildness has been associated with queerness and queer bodies throughout the 20th century.

Jack Halberstam
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Books

'Run-Out Groove' Shows the Dark Side of Capitol Records

Music promoter Dave Morrell's memoir, Run Out Groove, recalls the underbelly of the mainstream music industry.

Reading Pandemics

Poe, Pandemic, and Underlying Conditions

To read Edgar Allan Poe in the time of pandemic, we need to appreciate a very different aspect of his perspective—not that of a mimetic artist but of the political economist.

Books

Home Computers: 100 Icons that Defined a Digital Generation (excerpt)

Whether you remember waiting for dial-up access, tiny screens, and green lines of text or not, you'll get a kick out of Alex Wiltshire's travel back in time to when computers came with wires. Enjoy this excerpt of Home Computers, courtesy of MIT press, with nostalgia photography by John Short.

Alex Wiltshire
Books

Mieko Kawakami's 'Breasts and Eggs' Is a Feminist Masterpiece

Fearless in its demand for accountability, transcendent in its honesty, Mieko Kawakami's Breasts and Eggs breathes life into feminist literature and throws down a gauntlet for other writers to aspire toward.

Books

'Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over (A Companion to the Film by Beth B)' (excerpt)

An accompaniment to Beth B's documentary of the same name, Nick Soulsby's book is the first comprehensive overview of Lunch's creative campaign of resistance, a celebration of pleasure as the ultimate act of rebellion. Enjoy this excerpt courtesy of Jawbone Press.

Books

What Has a Real Critic Got to Offer? On Stephanie Ross' 'Two Thumbs Up'

Stephanie Ross' book on aesthetic philosophy, Two Thumbs Up, can be used as a dissertation template. Just expect -- like a critic -- to argue with it, at times.

Books

Comedy, Pathos, and Bibliophilia Merge in Jean Giono's Wartime Journal

In addition to its literary significance, Jean Giono's newly translated Occupation Journal is also an important reminder of the value of pacifism in a world where over-eager partisanship is once more merging with the enthusiastic violence of political dogma.

Books

Graphic Novel 'Big Black' Is a Stunning Depiction of the Attica Prison Uprising

Fifty years ago Attica prisoners rose up for justice -- and were slaughtered. Graphic novel Big Black: Stand at Attica is a powerful story from a survivor's point of view.

Books

'Trans Power' Is a Celebration of Radical Power and Beauty

Juno Roche's Trans Power discusses trans identity not as a passageway between one of two linear destinations, but as a destination of its own.

Books

Does Inclusivity Mean That Everyone Does the Same Thing?

What is the meaning of diversity in today's world? Russell Jacoby raises and addresses some pertinent questions in his latest work, On Diversity.

Books

The American Robot: A Cultural History [By the Book]

In The American Robot, Dustin A. Abnet explores how robots have not only conceptually connected but literally embodied some of the most critical questions in modern culture, as seen in this excerpt from chapter 5 "Building the Slaves of Tomorrow", courtesy of University of Chicago Press.

Dustin A. Abnet
Books

When You Discover Your Father Had an Affair with Frida Kahlo...

The story of one of Frida Kahlo's short affairs, captured in Marc Petitjean's excellent book, The Heart, offers an inspired glimpse into the surreal Parisian art scene of 1939.

Books

'Miss Iceland' Is a Brilliant Novel of Sexism, Homophobia, and the Writing Life

Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir's Miss Iceland Is at once a poetic, light-hearted narrative and a sharply edged social critique that is caustic and righteous in its portrayal of the enduring nature of sexism, misogyny and homophobia.

Books

'Going Stealth': Trans Politics and Surveillance Practices

When activists cooperate with a repressive state, who gets left behind?

Books

'Year of the Rabbit': How Quickly Cruelty and Genocide Can Become the Norm

Tian Veasna's superb yet harrowing graphic portrayal of the Khmer Rouge regime, Year of the Rabbit, conveys what damage a living nightmare can do to a country and its people in a mere four years.

Books

Why Everyone Should Read Samra Habib's Queer Muslim Memoir

Matter of fact in its presentation of difficult material -- sexism, child marriage, emotional and sexual abuse -- what's most striking about Samra Habib's memoir, We Have Always Been Here, is the sense of compassion with which she writes.

Books

The New World Will Be Built by Refugees: On Two New Japanese Novellas

The latest two Red Circle Minis, by Takuji Ichikawak and Kanji Hanawa, deal in archetypes; one set in the distant past, the other in the all too near future.

Books

For All Governments: Gendry-Kim's Graphic Novel, 'Grass'

The powerful graphic novel Grass documents the atrocities against WWII "comfort women" through the recollections of a survivor. This is an incredibly powerful and urgent work that, frankly, should be read by the governments of all nations that must face, admit to, and begin real reparations for their country's atrocities.

Books

Journalist Desmond Cole Confronts Canada's Anti-Black Racism

In The Skin We're In, Canadian journalist Desmond Cole reveals the shocking scale of racism in a country that prefers to look the other way.

Books

Annie, Get Your Gun

Women gunslingers engender justice in new fantasy Westerns from Charlaine Harris and Lyndsay Ely.

Books

Sam Wasson's 'The Big Goodbye' Puts Roman Polanski's 'Chinatown' in Its Place

Social historian Sam Wasson's The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood, is a graceful and compelling elegy to both Roman Polanski's landmark film, and the end times of old Hollywood.

Books

The Rolling Stones' Charlie Watts Matters, Dammit! An Interview with Biographer Mike Edison

Mike Edison's biography on the Rolling Stones' Charlie Watts, Sympathy for the Drummer is a full-throated assault on the notion that, in music, more is better, and that perfection is a friggin' virtue.

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'Shapeshifters' and Other Trans-forming Humans

Supernatural Historian John Kachuba deftly demonstrates in Shapeshifters: A History that change is the only constant in life.

Books

Abjection Incorporated: Mediating the Politics of Pleasure and Violence (By the Book)

Escaping abjection's usual confines of psychoanalysis and aesthetic modernism, the contributors to Abjection Incorporated examine a range of media, including literature, photography, film, television, talking dolls, comics, and manga. Enjoy this generous excerpt, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maggie Hennefeld and Nicholas Sammond
Books

'Morning Glory on the Vine' and Joni Mitchell's Amalgam of Craft

Joni Mitchell's latest book denotes the next step in the Joni evolution, and indicates that perhaps those different languages for her—of visual art, poetry, and music—will finally be held in equal regard.

Books

Irving Berlin: New York Genius (By the Book)

Exploring the interplay of Irving Berlin's life with the life of New York City, noted biographer James Kaplan offers a visceral narrative of Berlin as self-made man and witty, wily, tough Jewish immigrant. Enjoy this excerpt of Kaplan's book, Irving Berlin: New York Genius.

James Kaplan
Books

On André Aciman's Psychodrama of Flirting with New Beaus While Brooding over Old Flames, 'Find Me'

André Aciman's long-awaited sequel to Call Me By Your Name, Find Me, isn't so much an extension of the previous book's queries about romance and sexuality as it is a work of convenient revisionism.

Books

'In the Dream House' Nothing Will Change -- Until Something Erupts

Folk tales, fantasy, pop culture and family weave gracefully throughout Carmen Maria Machado's harrowing yet graceful memoir of domestic abuse, In the Dream House.

Books

On Making Sense of the World at Jack Kerouac's Directive

Reading Kerouac, I saw in living flesh all of the Cody Pomerays, Dean Moriartys, Sal Paradises, and Alvah Goldbooks in each and every sailor I bunked with, each and all from every corner of America, revealing all and true as only comrades can do in the cocoon of shared experience.

Books

On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey (By the Book)

Paul Theroux is among PopMatters' favorite travel writers. In this excerpt of On the Plain of Snakes, wherein he traverses the Mexico/US border, Theroux takes us to the ancient city of Oaxaca, bringing forth the dignity of its Zapotec and Mixtec people.

Books

By the Book: Soviet Metro Stations

Underground palaces in communist spaces provide not only transport but also refuge in the former USSR. Enjoy this excerpt of photographer Christopher Herwig and author Owen Hatherley's Soviet Metro Stations, from FUEL Publishing.

Christopher Herwig and Owen Hatherley
Books

Does Amber Tamblyn's 'Era of Ignition' Ignite Your Flame?

Actor Amber Tamblyn is aspiring to something deeper than just the chronicle of herself as a young ingénue who came of age as a TV star in her memoir, Era of Ignition. In our politically tumultuous times, does she succeed?

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Joy Division and Jon Savage's Latest, 'This Searing Light, the Sun and Everything Else'

Jon Savage's This Searing Light, The Sun and Everything Else, marks a time for considering how Joy Division became, and continues to be, so popular.

Books

By the Book: Pick up the Pieces: Excursions in Seventies Music

In this excerpt of '70s music, Pick up the Pieces, John Corbett puts his critique of Kraftwerk's Autobahn to poetry and pogos with his conflict for the Clash and their album, The Clash.

Books

Complicit Christianity vs. Courages Christianity: 'The Color of Compromise'

Jemar Tisby's historical overview of the American church's complicity in racism, The Color of Compromise, will help provoke dialogue, but we face significant challenges, still.

Justin Cober-Lake
Books

'Sleeping with Strangers' May Be More Prurient Than Its Hollywood Subjects

In an apparent attempt to generate understanding and contextuality in film history, David Thomson only ends up perpetuating myths and stigmas against homosexuals in his latest, Sleeping with Strangers.


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