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An Unparalleled Celebration of a Dying Breed: the Luxury Hotel
By lisa ryers (Jan 21, 2006)
In 1921 Leonard Shultze left the New York architectural firm of Warren and Wetmore, a firm for which he had been employed for twenty years, and teamed with S. Fullerton Weaver, a real estate developer and engineer, to create a new architectural firm. This new duo became one of the most successful partnerships in the post-war era because they had mastered the design of what was then the seventh largest industry in the country: the luxury hotel. More
A Historical Account of the One That Got Away
By Tanya Khiatani (Jan 6, 2006)
Steady interest in the life of historical heartthrob Giacomo Casanova has sparked a series of films as well as a collection of novels based on the life presented in his famous memoirs. Common to all of these accounts is an attempt to delve into the icon's psyche in order to reveal the motivation for his distinct amorous ways. As told through the eyes of Lucy Jamieson, In Lucia's Eyes is a historical novel about Cassanova's first love, the one believed to have set his heart ablaze. More
Recent Releases and Older Finds
By SFS Staff (Dec 30, 2005)
Before you go to the bookstore or the library, check out what our critics have deemed to be the best books they have read this year. You'll find both recent releases and older finds ranging from short stories, novels, fiction, non-fiction and art. With these selections, the first part of 2006 will sure to be occupied! More
Ten Essays About the Same Thing
By Scott Esposito (Dec 23, 2005)
Although David Foster Wallace has been lauded as one of the greatest fiction writers of his generation, the most interesting character he has ever created may in fact be himself. To be sure, his voluminous fiction -- which includes the 1079-page masterpiece Infinite Jest and scores of stories and novellas -- features many compelling individuals. However, Wallace is also a prolific essay writer, and his essays are indelibly stamped with his presence. When reading Wallace's essays, the main character is always: Wallace. More
Behind the Scenes of One of America's Biggest Natural Disastersl
By lisa ryers (Dec 13, 2005)
The countdown begins. In about four months, the city will be awash in PR beckoning out-of-towners to come "celebrate" the centennial anniversary of the notorious 6.9 magnitude quake which killed a reported 63 people, injured thousands, and destroyed 490 city blocks. The question is, when a curious tourist shambles up to you, will you be ready to field the questions? Lucky for us, Simon Winchester's new book is a great read for geologist/non-geologist and Left or Right Coaster alike. The book is part armchair travel, part history primer, part geologic survey, and part polemic. More
A Lesson in Scottish
By matt munday (Nov 25, 2005)
A few years ago, there arose a point of controversy within British TV broadcasting concerning regional accents. At the time, newsreaders were mostly Oxbridge graduates, or at least educated at "public school" (an Orwellian term which the British use to denote its exact opposite: "private school"). As a result of their education, these newsreaders sounded nothing like the millions of working- and middle-class people who tuned in each day -- most of whom only expected such dialectal purity from the Queen during her annual Christmas speech. More
Taking over the World
By lisa ryers (Nov 11, 2005)
On November 13th, Robert Greenwald's film The High Cost of Low Price will premiere in wide release on 3000 screens. This film about Wal-Mart's beleaguering effect on communities has been seducing people via the Internet to act as "field producers" and organize screenings and parties based on the film's intent. More
Prose Poetry
By matt munday (Nov 4, 2005)
Mary Gaitskill's novel Veronica tells the story of the hepatitis-riddled narrator, Alison, who, in middle age, looks back on her experiences as a child runaway and fashion model. The novel spans one day of Alison's present life as a cleaner in San Rafael. Debilitated by a car accident and anchored to the past by her vivid memories, Alison relives the defining moments of her life through a patchwork of grim recollections. She recounts everything -- her parents' separation, cynical sex with model scouts, her friend Veronica's death from AIDS -- with the same detached but penetrating tone. More
An Empirical Look at the Spirit World
By Tanya Khiatani (Oct 28, 2005)
Less than two years after releasing bestseller Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers, Mary Roach presents readers with a thorough investigation of a more eerie topic surrounding death: the afterlife. In Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife Roach chronicles her search for a definitive description -- supported with empirical data, no less -- of the soul's journey after death. More
Diagnosis: Undecided
By matt munday (Oct 21, 2005)
Benjamin Kunkel's debut novel, Indecision, is the fictional memoir of Dwight Wilmerding, an intellectually humble (but not unintelligent) young man from New York City. Set in New York pre-, during and post- 9/11, while also having a large section set in South American, Indecision is primarily a story of a man in search of meaning and resolution. Sadly, the disparate bunch of idealologues that constitute his friends and family provide neither. More
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