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Edward St. Aubyn Is Compulsively Readable

'The Complete Patrick Melrose Novels' is a bitter comedy of manners that takes readers on a sordid, stylish, disturbing, funny and profound moral journey.

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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.

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Soul Murder and Dreams in 'Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage'

Like the cobwebs and spider webs that colonize a neglected basement, Haruki Murakami’s filamentous plot threads trail uncannily across our psyches.

Reviews

Which Is Better, Gorgeous Writing or a Gorgeous Blonde?

In The Black-Eyed Blond, Benjamin Black provides such a satisfying incarnation of Raymond Chandler's sensibility, it's almost possible to pretend Chandler is back among the living.

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Henry Holt & Co.

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Walter Mondale's 'Good Fight'

Walter Mondale is remarkably engaged and up-to-date for a man who held the Vice Presidency more than 33 years ago.

Books

On Being Up a Creek with Only a Paddle

Love Is a Canoe is about how people in love will latch onto any floating bit of debris to salvage their sinking relationships.

Books

Re-Rendering in Words What the Artist Rendered in Pigment: 'Always Looking: Essays on Art'

John Updike favored artists who possessed an aesthetic apeal that it was never necessary for viewers to be hectored or intellectually intimidated into admiring. Thus, he explains in hyper-perceptive terms what we already know through our own two eyes.

Reviews

The Book That Will Make the Internet Obsolete: 'The Onion Book of Known Knowledge'

Leave it to the bulbous-headed brainiacs at The Onion to cram more meaningful information about our universe into one 250-page book than Google or Bing or Alta Vista can on their seemingly endless web pages.

Books

Oh, Ineffable Dirty Old Man! Tom Wolfe Is Back in 'Back to Blood'

This astonishing lump of pulp about contemporary Miami, modern art and sex, sex, sex, sex and more sex is luridly entertaining and "uuuunnnngohohohonOGHOHHHH!" (that's an actual quote from the book).

Books

They Use Their Inside Voices in 'The Red House'

This novel, told through the inner thoughts and outer voices of eight intermingled characters, is a "literary tour de force." But is a tour de force really such a good thing?

Books

The Worst Man Who Ever Lived: 'HHhH'

The eccentric title is a reference to the novel's putative subject, the assassinated Nazi Reinhard Heydrich, "the most dangerous man in the Third Reich, the Hangman of Prague, the Butcher, the Blond Beast, the Man with the Iron Heart, the worst creature ever forged in the burning fires of hell."

Books

The Right Side of the Razor: 'The Last Kind Words'

A family of thieves and grifters, all named after dogs, and the prodigal son who tries to save them from the consequences of their crimes.

Reviews

The World Is Your Oyster: '1,000 Places to See Before You Die'

First published in 2003, this updated edition has added 28 additional countries, including Ghana, Qatar, Latvia and Vanuatu, and 200 new entries, for those who might think that Earth, and its attractions, are finite.

Reviews

Eurotrash, with a Treasure Inside: 'Steamy Art House Hits'

The best of the four movies in this box set, Torremolinos 73, is so good, so funny and sexy and touching, that I wouldn’t be surprised if it were in the process at this very moment of being ruined by a Hollywood producer intent on a desexualized remake.

Reviews

'Pale Flower': Living for Death

Into this movie's milieu of prison terms, all-night gambling sessions and literal and figurative back-stabbings arrives a dewy young woman named Saeko (pronounced, more or less, 'psycho') who is very young and very tired of life.

Books

88 Highly Debatable Statements About 'Reality' in 'Reality Hunger'

When I review a book, I like to dog-ear pages that contain interesting passages or noteworthy statements. By the time I was done with Reality Hunger, my paperback was so puffed up by pages that were doubled in width from dog-earing that it looked like I'd dropped it into a hot bath filled with Calgon and then left it to dry on a radiator.

Politics

The Librarians and Barbarians of Laura Bush's Memoir

Laura Bush largely avoided the public slanderings that Nancy Reagan endured and that, to a lesser extent, Michelle Obama is now enduring, even though George W. Bush himself was perhaps the most excoriated President in recent American history. The reasons have something to do with Laura Bush's literary sensibility.

Reviews

The Real McCoy of Rock: 'Graham Parker & The Figgs Live at the FTC'

Graham Parker & The Figgs Live at the FTC may not be an essential performance, but Parker himself is one of the indispensable performers of the rock era.

SAVE / IGNORE: Labels

Primary Wave

SAVE / IGNORE: Labels

Primary Wave Records

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