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Dissecting the Presidency
By Scott Esposito (Jun 23, 2006)
Debuting at number 11 on The New York Times bestseller list on June 11th, How Would A Patriot Act was an internet-made bestseller. It had to be this way; with no mainstream press coverage and a tiny marketing budget, viral internet marketing was HWAPA?'s only hope for breaking out of the pack. The book details Bush's abuses of power, but since we aren't exactly starved for anti-Bush books these days, how was it that this anti-Bush book became the one so many are now reading? More
Do You Know Where Your Food Has Been?
By lisa ryers (Jun 9, 2006)
The Omnivore’s Dilemma is one of those books that you thumb through at the bookstore hesitantly, wondering if once you start reading, you won’t be able to look at your food the same way again. This is a reasonable concern. Food is both nutrition and pleasure. After reading the book, you will be able to look at your food, but you will probably start asking it questions such as, “Have you been lying to me?” So this book might do the most damage to your sociological well being above all else. More
Beauty On Every Page
By Mario Bruzzone (May 25, 2006)
Peter Orner, from a Jewish family in Chicago, has written a novel about Namibia. And it's good -- so very good. Let me explain: too often, novels by American writers set in foreign countries either romanticize them or misunderstand those countries completely, or both. In these kind of works, the narrative feels off. Something is wrong, even if it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is. More
The Tales Behind Who Lives Where and Why
By lisa ryers (Apr 23, 2006)
It takes a special kind of person to enable someone to feel comfortable enough to answer a question like: "How long have you had the top of an Algerian tent tied to a sprinkler pipe in the middle of your loft?" Toni Schlesinger is that person. Schlesinger, a Village Voice columnist since 1997, has compiled an anthology of her best "Shelter" columns. More
Swimming Through the Omniverse
By Scott Esposito (Apr 13, 2006)
In Sesshu Foster's explosive new novel Atomik Aztex, we get two narratives for the price of one. In the first (or maybe it's the second, part of the delight of Foster's book is that it's impossible to tell), the Aztecs not only beat back the Spanish conquistadors, but then went so far as to colonize Europe itself (using Nazi aggression in World War II as a rationale). In this narrative, we follow the first person adventures of Zenzontli, a Schwarzeneggeresque Aztec commando, as he kicks some ass at Stalingrad. More
Impressionists vs. the Academie
By Scott Esposito (Mar 24, 2006)
Historian and critic Ross King first tacked the Renaissance with Brunelleschi's Dome in 2001 and then again with Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling in 2003. These books, both of which ended up on the New York Times bestseller list, were character-driven accounts of momentous artistic works and periods. King once again delves into art history in his newest book, The Judgment of Paris, but instead of sticking with the Renaissance he strays a few hundred years and a few thousand miles to 19th-century France and has a look at the budding of French Impressionism. More
The Book of Human Folly
By lisa ryers (Mar 17, 2006)
In his twelfth novel, Paul Auster tackles familiar terrain both psychologically and topographically: the lonely man starting over in New York City. In this episode, our introvert is Nathan Glass, a man who must confront his alienation through a project, in this case, something he calls "The Book of Human Folly". In this opus, he plans to record the errors, or follies of his life. Time is nigh for Nathan, he has retired from his job as an insurance agent, he is divorced, his daughter still hates him for his adulterous indiscretions during his marriage to her mother and he h More
Inventing America
By erin Jourdan (Mar 2, 2006)
If you had a metaphorical paintbrush and a blank canvas and you were able to completely rewrite the past/present and future of America what would you do? In Zanesville, author Kris Saknussemm invents an America that is part comic book and part post-apocalyptic rollercoaster ride. Our hero is Elijah Clearfather, an amnesiac with a convoluted and colorful past, attempting to put together his life -- jigsaw piece by jigsaw piece. More
Literary Violence
By Ryan Wiederkehr (Feb 17, 2006)
A man hunting gazelle comes across a stack of dead Mexican drug runners and a pile of money. A cold-blooded bounty hunter chases the man across Texas, killing all who stand in his way. An aging sheriff hunts both of them. These elements could belong in any thriller about the early days of drug trafficking along the Texas-Mexico border. The difference? This thriller was written by Cormac McCarthy, so the scenes and prose are a bit different from what you'd read in any old thriller. More
Answering the Question of "What If?"
By lisa ryers (Feb 3, 2006)
If the aim of fiction is to start with the question of "what if" and run with it, this second installment of politically inspired fiction, Stumbling and Raging, certainly puts the phrase to task. The book is subdivided into five organizational principles: the politics of children, culture, desire, fear, and war. Under these umbrellas you will find questions such as what if you were one of the grammar school students sitting in a Florida classroom on September 11th while President Bush read you the story "The Pet Goat"? More
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