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26 october 2014

Black Seconds, like Karin Fossum's earlier crime novel Don't Look Back, begins with the abduction of a child. Based on all of two novels (and I've read only three-and-a-half of Fossum's books altogether), I think I can identify a Theme in her work. "Something like that brands people for generations," one of her characters observes (38); and Black Seconds is a study of how such branding happens.     read more


21 october 2014

Give the Boys a Great Big Hand is one of the all-time "seriously?" titles.     read more


13 october 2014

Steve Almond devotes a lot of attention to ethos in Against Football. I mean that in the rhetorical sense: he tells us who he is, what his history as a fan has meant to him, why we should listen to him on the subject. He's a Raiders fan, beyond die-hard, and he admits to spending way more time thinking about football than might be good for him. He's open, and intensely personal – as far as any rhetoric can be or seem, and in rhetoric, seeming is being. He charts an evolving dynamic between fascination and repulsion, beauty and horror, that continues to inform his views on American football. And he's written a brisk, thought-provoking book that is also literate: quoting Don DeLillo, Frederick Exley, and James Wright as often as any other authorities.     read more


12 october 2014

Mary Woods says that her book Beyond the Architect's Eye was provoked by a discrepancy between the content of a book on architectural images and its cover illustration. Even alternative histories of architectural imagery, Woods says, tend to clothe themselves in canonical photographs of masterworks. This put University of Pennsylvania Press on the spot to choose an appropriate cover picture for Beyond the Architect's Eye. Woods and her editors ended up choosing a photograph by Marion Post Wolcott, of a Depression-era juke joint in the farm country of South Florida. It fits her themes well.     read more

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