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42 posts tagged with BookReview.
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Do you ever dream of starting again in a new skin?

Uncomfortable in His Own Skin ‘Your Face in Mine,’ by Jess Row, a Novel About Changing Race: [New York Times]
"When literary fiction dares examine the issue of race at all, it is usually done in an exceedingly tone-deaf way (think William Styron’s Confessions Of Nat Turner or Kathryn Stockett’s The Help) or from a somewhat safe remove (think Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue). It always seems as if the story is accompanied by a blaring announcement that it’s time for this (white) protagonist to learn something. Sometimes the pedantic drum-banging can get so excessive it drowns out everything else, including the inclination to tell a good story. If nothing else, the debut novel from Jess Row, Your Face In Mine, is a refreshing plunge into the deep end of the race conversation." [A.V. Club]
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on Aug 31, 2014 - 6 comments

Like taking a cold bath with someone you dislike

Reviews of classic books, culled from the internet's think tank.
posted by Too-Ticky on Aug 22, 2014 - 64 comments

"This is a book for both the new and experienced reader."

Deep Chords: Haruki Murakami’s ‘Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage’ [New York Times] Patti Smith reviews Haruki Murakami's latest novel. Book Trailer
posted by Fizz on Aug 12, 2014 - 40 comments

For them, every valley and desert was home.

Travel was always desirable to them / And they visited every continent … They considered travel and homeland synonymous / For them, every valley and desert was home. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 8, 2014 - 7 comments

I’m pretty sure I’ve read this book before, but with vampires in it

"Ana gets super embarrassed when it’s time to get to the main event, because he’s going to “kiss me there!” By all means, let’s continue with the coy use of “there” to indicate your fully adult woman parts, because childish prudery is absolutely not squicky at all when you’re already wearing pigtails and constantly referring to aspects of your sexuality as childlike. " -- Jenny Trout reads the world's best known Twilight fan fiction, Fifty Shades of Grey and doesn't like it. (language, nsfw strangely enough)
posted by MartinWisse on Aug 8, 2013 - 64 comments

The Silence of Animals

The Silence of Animals: On Progress and Other Modern Myths. Simon Critchley gives both an overview of philosopher John Gray's thought and reviews Gray's new book.
posted by TrolleyOffTheTracks on Jun 13, 2013 - 36 comments

“Don’t go around asking the question, ‘Is this character likeable?’

Claire Messud: “A woman’s rant” [National Post] "Over the last week, discussion surrounding Claire Messud’s new novel, The Woman Upstairs, has shifted from the book to an interview its author recently gave to Publishers Weekly, in which Messud took issue with the following question: “I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you? Her outlook is almost unbearably grim.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on May 10, 2013 - 23 comments

The shocking news that Goldman Sachs is greedy

"Twenty five years ago I quit a job on Wall Street to write a book about Wall Street. Since then, every year or so, UPS has delivered to me a book more or less like my own, written by some Wall Street insider and promising to blow the lid off the place, and reveal its inner workings, and so on. By now, you might think, this game should be over. The reading public would know all it needed to know about Wall Street, and the publishing industry would be forced to look to some other industry for shocking confessions from insiders. Somehow this isn't the case."
posted by vidur on Feb 5, 2013 - 47 comments

Hari Krugman

"There are certain novels that can shape a teenage boy's life. For some, it's Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged; for others it's Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. As a widely quoted internet meme says, the unrealistic fantasy world portrayed in one of those books can warp a young man's character forever; the other book is about orcs. But for me, of course, it was neither. My Book – the one that has stayed with me for four-and-a-half decades – is Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, written when Asimov was barely out of his teens himself. I didn't grow up wanting to be a square-jawed individualist or join a heroic quest; I grew up wanting to be Hari Seldon, using my understanding of the mathematics of human behaviour to save civilisation." [Paul Krugman: Asimov's Foundation novels grounded my economics]
posted by vidur on Dec 9, 2012 - 79 comments

"The first is that it is dull, dull, dull in a pretentious, florid and archly fatuous fashion"

Fifteen Scathing Early Reviews Of Classic Novels
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 17, 2012 - 69 comments

"The bookful blockhead ignorantly read" - Alexander Pope

A Short History Of Book Reviewing's Long Decline: 'By the time of the first quote “book-review,” criticism had been in circulation for centuries—long enough for writers to know how it can sting. Understandably, then, the critic’s skepticism of an artist's genius has invariably existed alongside the artist's doubt over the critic's judgment.' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 22, 2012 - 11 comments

School of Hard Knocks

"... [T]he character hypothesis: the notion that noncognitive skills, like persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence, are more crucial than sheer brainpower to achieving success .... Character is created by encountering and overcoming failure .... The offspring of affluent parents are insulated from adversity ... while poor children face no end of challenges ... there is often little support to help them turn these omnipresent obstacles into character-enhancing triumphs." A review of 'How Children Succeed,' by Paul Tough.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Aug 26, 2012 - 55 comments

Florence Williams - Breasts: A Natural & Unnatural History

Your Breasts Are Trying To Kill You: Slate reviews Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History by Florence WIlliams (an edited excerpt from the book re: breast milk in The Guardian - includes breastfeeding photo). NPR interview with Williams (41 min. audio and text highlights); a brief interview with Williams in The Star and a long interview in Maclean's. A recent piece by Williams in Slate: A new set of reports shows that federal policy on chemicals testing neglects breast health. Subject found via a post on IBTP discussing the ban, and then partial retraction of that ban, on allowing breast cancer survivor Jodi Jaecks to swim topless at a Seattle public pool - includes topless photo. Some may consider the photos noted NSFW.
posted by flex on Jul 10, 2012 - 19 comments

"Leviathan is not a flotation device"

"An English project I did that people at my school really thought was funny." Max Sánchez-Kollegger (Waluiginumberone) hams it up, reviewing Scott Westerfield's Leviathan and it's sequel Behemoth on youtube.
posted by Omnomnom on Jul 4, 2012 - 7 comments

This country will self-destruct in 3 .. 2 ..

"McPhee describes two things: how Switzerland requires military service from every able-bodied male Swiss citizen—a model later emulated and expanded by Israel—and how the Swiss military has, in effect, wired the entire country to blow in the event of foreign invasion. To keep enemy armies out, bridges will be dynamited and, whenever possible, deliberately collapsed onto other roads and bridges below; hills have been weaponized to be activated as valley-sweeping artificial landslides; mountain tunnels will be sealed from within to act as nuclear-proof air raid shelters; and much more." (via)
posted by vidur on Jun 20, 2012 - 100 comments

The Curse of Knowledge

Isaac Chotiner reviews Jonah Lehrer's Imagine: How Creativity Works. Imagine is really a pop-science book, which these days usually means that it is an exercise in laboratory-approved self-help. Like Malcolm Gladwell and David Brooks, Lehrer writes self-help for people who would be embarrassed to be seen reading it. For this reason, their chestnuts must be roasted in “studies” and given a scientific gloss. The surrender to brain science is particularly zeitgeisty.
posted by shivohum on Jun 13, 2012 - 29 comments

Take up the White Man's burden— And reap his old reward: The blame of those ye better, The hate of those ye guard—

Indian author Pankaj Mishra writes a brutal takedown of Niall Ferguson's latest book, Civilisation: The West and the Rest in the London Review of Books. Ferguson responds to the critical book review with a lawsuit. [more inside]
posted by bodywithoutorgans on Dec 5, 2011 - 107 comments

We are all a bunch of Winnie the Poohs

Jed Perl reviews "Thomas Kinkade: The Artist in the Mall"
posted by vidur on Jul 18, 2011 - 67 comments

Every metaphor starts out as a wild beast

"Writing about metaphor is dancing with your conceptual clothes off, the innards of your language exposed by equipment more powerful than anything operated by the TSA. Still, one would be a rabbit not to do it in a world where metaphor is now top dog, at least among revived rhetorical devices with philosophical appeal." [What's a Metaphor For?]
posted by vidur on Jul 12, 2011 - 20 comments

Fine Feynman Fare

Physicist Freeman Dyson reviews two new books about Richard Feynman, one about the science and one in graphic novel form.

He never showed the slightest resentment when I published some of his ideas before he did. He told me that he avoided disputes about priority in science by following a simple rule: "Always give the bastards more credit than they deserve." I have followed this rule myself. I find it remarkably effective for avoiding quarrels and making friends. A generous sharing of credit is the quickest way to build a healthy scientific community.

(previously, previously, and probably in the future, but not predictably so.
posted by cogneuro on Jul 12, 2011 - 20 comments

You all need to have your heads examined

The epidemic of mental illness plaguing the Americans and the overmedication of psychiatric patients are in part artifacts of the diagnostic method. [more inside]
posted by hat_eater on Jun 22, 2011 - 50 comments

Book Review Commentary Goes Awry (read: Entertaining)

An author takes exception to a review of her book & comments on the reviewer's site. What could possibly go wrong?
posted by PepperMax on Mar 29, 2011 - 195 comments

Mr. Funny Reviewer

Mr. Hargreaves takes us on a Jungian journey to the integrated self. A series of entertaining Amazon reviews written by Hamilton Richardson for the Mr. Men classic library.
posted by Fizz on Mar 10, 2011 - 16 comments

A strange social fact that stands in need of explanation

The death penalty in America is “a strange social fact that stands in need of explanation.” John Paul Stevens served as Associate Supreme Court Justice from 1975 to 2010 and became a beacon for progressive and liberals. Here he writes on the death penalty, reviewing David Garland’s new book Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition.
posted by JL Sadstone on Dec 15, 2010 - 55 comments

Why We Say Yes to Drugs

"It takes about seven years," Grim writes, "for folks to realize what's wrong with any given drug. It slips away, only to return again as if it were new."
Why We Say Yes To Drugs -- an interesting review of This Is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High In America. [more inside]
posted by empath on Jul 21, 2009 - 114 comments

Shakespeare and philosophy

Martha Nussbaum reviews three recent books on Shakespeare and philosophy. The essay offers an excellent analysis of love in Antony and Cleopatra and Othello, and an excellent discussion of the interaction between philosophy and literature. [more inside]
posted by painquale on May 5, 2008 - 17 comments

Bookmarks Magazine: book reviews periodical

Bookmarks Magazine has long been one of my favorite book review periodicals because it aggregates and summarizes reviews from many sources, for example: The Children of Húrin. Recently they have opened up the back-issue archive to non-subscribers. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Apr 20, 2008 - 6 comments

How well do you know your own thoughts?

"A few years ago a psychologist and a philosopher got into an argument over whether we can accurately describe our thoughts. "Yes," said the psychologist; with training and the help of my special technique, we can accurately describe our thoughts. The philosopher doubted it. To resolve their argument, they recruited a young woman who agreed tell them her thoughts, so that they could argue over whether she was credible." Eric Schwitzgebel and Russ Hurlbert debate the transparency of inner experience. See also Schwitzgebel's extremely interesting blog.
posted by painquale on Jan 13, 2008 - 34 comments

fewer books, more forum

The bookforum site deserves to be brought to the attention of right thinking MeFis everywhere. It like a collection of really good front page posts: annotated collections of 10 or so links from disparate sources on a common theme. [more inside]
posted by shothotbot on Dec 22, 2007 - 9 comments

Harriet Klausner, Amazon reviewer #1

Harriet Klausner, 55, is Amazon's #1 book reviewer, with almost 15,000 book reviews in the past 8 years or slightly over 5 per day. Her coveted position in the highly competitive world of Amazon review rankings has earned her accolades from Time Magazine, a write-up in Wired Magazine, and more than a little snarky skepticism from other reviewers. If you like her taste in books, she keeps an archive of reviews.
posted by stbalbach on Nov 3, 2007 - 47 comments

Are You There God? It's Me, Monica

Are You There God? It's Me, Monica In equal parts a book review, investigative journalism and an autobiographical account; the author of this article takes on the topic of teenage oral-sex in the US today. There are no easy answers for the reader at the end, but it makes for fairly compelling reading. (Apart from some sexual terminology, the article is SFW) [via]
posted by your mildly obsessive average geek on Mar 16, 2007 - 71 comments

So...you're saying it's shite?

Oh God, please never let the NYT review of my latest novel never start like this: Every few years, as a reviewer, one encounters a novel whose ineptitudes are so many in number, and so thoroughgoing, that to explain them fully would produce a text that exceeded the novel itself in both length and interest. Lately it seems the book reviewers at the NYT--including Michiko Kakutani, on Jonathan Franzen's latest ("Just why anyone would be interested in pages and pages about this unhappy relationship or the self-important and self-promoting contents of Mr. Franzen’s mind remains something of a mystery")--have been pulling out all the stops. Poor Irvine Welsh (?).
posted by gottabefunky on Aug 29, 2006 - 61 comments

Extreme Makeover: America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism

For more than two centuries, nationalism in all its various forms—from the high-minded chauvinism of the British Empire to the virulent poison of Nazism—has been a familiar, and often negative, phenomenon. Emerging first in Europe, which it nearly destroyed and which has now apparently learned to control it, extreme nationalism still erupts from time to time in other parts of the world. The word "nationalism" never quite seemed to fit the United States, where continental vastness and enormous power have hitherto been tempered by an often-expressed distaste for empire and by the notion of world leadership by example. In the first years of the twenty-first century, however, in a dramatic departure from traditional policy, the spirit of unilateralism and militant nationalism began to dominate Washington's policies and attitudes toward the outside world.

Extreme Makeover - Brian Urquhart reviews America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism. And here is Gerald Rellick's take on the book. From Asia Source, a long and informative interview with Anatol Lievin. From the Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley's Conversations with History, A Conversation With Anatol Lieven. Also by Anatol Lieven, A Trap Of Their Own Making.
posted by y2karl on Feb 14, 2005 - 10 comments

Nous sommes toutes ...quoi?

America... through Europe's eyes Yes, there have been countless books and articles on this, but this is by far the best I've ever read. Part a review of the literature, part historical research, part personal reflection. it's a bit long though, so set some time aside. Hudson Review, via A&L Daily
posted by leotrotsky on Jul 23, 2004 - 39 comments

Extremist Makeover

Matt Taibbi checks in with 'Excerpt from The Rise and Fall of the United States (Putnam, 2037), William Shirer IV. From the chapter entitled, "The Anschluss Begins."' Typically clever stuff, especially the Franzen bit.
posted by GriffX on Oct 21, 2003 - 5 comments

Iraq: What Went Wrong

Iraq: What Went Wrong By General Wesley K. Clark. I appreciate this article. It is simple, easy to read, and represents what I've been feeling for quite some time now. (NY Review of Books)
posted by y2karl on Oct 1, 2003 - 21 comments

The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society Reviewed

David Garland's disturbing new book addresses the question why there are so many more people in jail in America and Britain than anywhere else... Its broader concern is with "cultures of control," how societies treat deviance and violence and whom they single out for what treatment. Here are some facts about skyrocketing imprisonment... There are approximately two million people in jail in America today, 2,166,260 at last count: more than four times as many people as thirty years ago. It is the largest number in our history... [and] between four and ten times the incarceration rate of any civilized country in the world... Twelve percent of African-American men between twenty and thirty-four are currently behind bars (the highest figure ever recorded by the Justice Department) compared to 1.6 percent of white men of comparable ages. And according to the same source, 28 percent of black men will be sent to jail in their lifetime... It was not until crime rates had already leveled off that incarceration rates began their steady, year-by-year climb. Between 1972 and 1992, while the population of America's prisons grew and grew, the crime rate as a whole continued at the same level, unchanged. Jerome S. Bruner reviews The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society for The New York Review of Books, as does Austin Sarat in the American Prospect.
posted by y2karl on Sep 18, 2003 - 9 comments

The V.

Waxing lyrical or something Never mind Doonesbury. Have a crack at this review.What a read that promises to be.Via popfactor.
posted by johnny7 on Sep 8, 2003 - 12 comments

Lite Bright

Does atheism sound too gloomy? Has the word 'freethinker' been co-opted by too many organizations? Some think so and now the world has a new social group: the "Brights." Also of interest is Daniel Dennett's "The Bright Stuff." The official brights website is here.
posted by skallas on Jul 14, 2003 - 109 comments

Michiko's Gone Maaaaaaaaaaad!

Michiko Kukatani goes whacky! (NYT Reg Required) Maybe all the craziness at the NYT is taking its toll, but everyone's favorite high-brow book bully reviews Candace Bushnell's (Sex and The City chick's) new book as a letter from...Elle Woods?!
posted by adrober on Jun 19, 2003 - 13 comments

On October 4, 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man-made object ever sent into space...

On October 4, 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man-made object ever sent into space... Sputnik: The Shock of the Century, a book by Paul Dickson released today, is a fascinating look into the historical, political, social and technological ramifications of the Russian sattellite that launched the Space Race, and changed the course of how information traveled. (Today is my birthday, as well—which should explain my interest in the subject.)
posted by Down10 on Oct 4, 2001 - 7 comments

Perhaps Chris Ware is not only the most interesting sequential artist working today, but the most interesting graphic artist as well. Not familiar with his stuff? Like ACME Novelty Library or Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth? Pick up today's New York Times Book Review; Ware illustrates a number of the reviews, and the illustrations form something of a narrative.
posted by tranquileye on Jun 3, 2001 - 25 comments

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