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Books

Literary Scholar Andrew H. Miller On Solitude As a Common Bond

Andrew H. Miller's On Not Being Someone Else considers how contemplating other possibilities for one's life is a way of creating meaning in the life one leads.

Books

Manual for Survival's History of Chernobyl Resonates in Our Time of COVID-19

Shortly after the reactor explosion in Chernobyl in 1986, officials in Belarus offered up an argument that will be hauntingly familiar to those tracking the spread of COVID-19.

Books

Kent Russell Seeks the Soul of Florida on Epic Road Trip, on Foot

In a bit of drunken revelry, Kent Russell and his buddies decide it is their destiny to tell the gonzo story of Florida in the time when Trump is campaigning for president.

Books

It's Not Just Fashion, It's Visual Activism

Fashion is a verb for the LGBTQ+ community, and Closet Cases shows how people use style and artifacts to build a self-image that is both a statement and a truth.

Books

When British Advertising Became Ubiquitous and Beautiful

Lambert tracks British social history through posters, cards, and other ephemera in the vividly illustrated The Art of Advertising.

Books

The Rules Don't Apply to These Nonconformist Novelists

Ian Haydn Smith's succinct biographies in Cult Writers: 50 Nonconformist Novelists You Need to Know entice even seasoned bibliophiles.

Books

In 'Wandering Dixie', Discovering the Jewish South Is Part of Discovering Self

Sue Eisenfeld's Wandering Dixie is not only a collection of dispatches from the lost Jewish South but also a journey of self-discovery.

Books

Television and Women's History through the Lens of Soap Operas

Media critic Elana Levine's Her Stories explores television history and the conflicts of generation, gender, and race in the heyday of "women's" soap operas.

Books

Reader Beware: Eve Babitz Is Still Utterly Charming

Eve Babitz is more than a child of the 1960s. She is also '50s glamour and '70s glam. In I Used to Be Charming, she reflects on those decades with her sharp eye on cultural trends and transformations.

Books

Sharon Marcus Challenges Current Cultural Theories in 'The Drama of Celebrity'

Who decides who gets to be famous? What does it mean to be famous? Sharon Marcus offers insight.

Books

Thurm's 'Board Games' Winningly Merges Memoir and Cultural Criticism

Thurm's Board Games illustrates one of the charms of Avidly Reads, where a nonfiction author who is enthusiastic about their subject matter strives to maintain an even tone, here, their devotion for board games shines through.

Books

Pico Iyer's A Beginner's Guide to Japan

There is always a degree of uncertainty for outsiders in Japan. Pico Iyer revels in the enigma of Japanese culture in A Beginner's Guide to Japan.

Books

'The Power of Cute' Explores the Complex Binaries in the Things We Adore

In Simon May's The Power of Cute, the uncanny nature of Cute is exemplified by both Hello Kitty and Kim Jong-il.

Books

William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock 'n' Roll

Critic Casey Rae depicts William S. Burroughs as a wise sage whom the wild creatives seek out for his wisdom... well, almost.

Books

'Being and Neonness', Capitalism and Creativity

If neon was an icon of mid-century capitalism as Luis de Miranda puts forth in Being and Neonness, what does it represent in our period of late capitalism?

Books

When Chicago Became a Shoppers' Paradise for Women, Men Had to Step Aside

Creating a culture of consumption in 20th century Chicago meant making space for shoppers, which meant integrating women into public life, in a downtown dominated by men. Historian Emily Remus revels in the ramifications of that cultural shift in A Shoppers' Paradise.

Books

Does Social Media Mark the End of the End of Childhood?

Culture and media critic Kate Eichhorn's The End of Forgetting explores how relentlessly documenting young lives allows little room for the unfettered joys of imaginative freedom and perpetuates a seemingly endless state of childhood.

Books

'The Ultimate History of the '80s Teen Movie': It's More Than Just the Brat Pack

A quiet revolution of women in the film industry, the rise of home video -- The Ultimate History of the '80s Teen Movie is about more than just Saturday Night Fever and The Breakfast Club.

Books

'Pick Up the Pieces' Is a Primer in Music as Cultural Memory

John Corbett's writing is often poetic in Pick Up the Pieces: Excursions in Seventies Music, with each essay being a resonant reflection on the music, artists, scenes, and memories seemingly etched deeply in his being.

Books

Scholar Mel Stanfill's 'Exploiting Fandom' Takes on Big Business and Media Manipulation

Exploiting Fandom brings together mainstream sports fandoms and speculative media fandoms, often finding strong correlations between the two.

Books

'Ashes to Ashes' Is the Second Half of Chris O’Leary’s Deep Dive into All Things Bowie

What began as a blog becomes Ashes to Ashes: The Songs of David Bowie, 1976-2016, a tome for fans and critics.

Film

'Social Animals' Focuses on the Highs and Lows of Instagram-Famous Teens

To say young people's identities are tied up in social media would be a failure to recognize that the digital is now intrinsically part of the real, as evidenced in the documentary, Social Animals.

Books

'Half a Million Strong' Studies the Intersection of Crowds and Power at Rock Festivals

Gina Arnold's research into rock festivals in the US, Half a Million Strong, reveals that it's about the music, yes, but it's also very much about you.

Books

Edward Gorey, Agent of Chaos

Two recent books on screenwriter, illustrator and author Edward Gorey, Born to Be Posthumous and Gorey's Worlds, are engaging works that show that Gorey's mystique remains safely impenetrable.


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