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December 20, 2014
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Sin and Sustenance

Lauren B. Davis’ thrilling, polyphonic new novel, “Our Daily Bread,” takes us into a backwoods clan rife with child abuse and incest, and asks the question: “When does another person’s suffering become my responsibility?”

Posted on Jan 6, 2012 READ MORE


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Doubts About Eloquence

“The desire to be inspired,” William F. Gavin writes in “Speechwright,” “to be uplifted, to be made to feel deeply, to be swept away, and thrilled is the mark of jaded citizens who have forgotten that the major goal of political rhetoric should be to make good arguments, clearly and honestly.”

Posted on Dec 30, 2011 READ MORE



Jesus Was Lynched

According to James H. Cone’s “The Cross and the Lynching Tree,” Jesus was crucified by the same principalities and powers that lynched almost 5,000 black people in this country. The lynching tree is the cross in America.

Posted on Dec 23, 2011 READ MORE



So, About That Severed Ear …

A marvelous new biography of Vincent Van Gogh asks what if it was untreatable epilepsy that drove him mad, he didn’t cut off his lobe for a woman and he was killed by delinquents rather than committing suicide?

Posted on Dec 16, 2011 READ MORE



The Evolution of Feminism

Jennifer Baumgardner’s new book of essays and interviews, “F ’em! Goo Goo, Gaga, and Some Thoughts on Balls,” connects generations of women thinking about women, from the suffragettes to women’s libbers, from riot grrrls to Lady Bloggers.

Posted on Dec 9, 2011 READ MORE



Corporate Wolf Eats Grandmother Alive

Ellen E. Schultz’s “Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit From the Nest Eggs of American Workers” reveals how fleecing the elderly is just business as usual for corporations. If the retirement industry isn’t reined in, she concludes, we’ll be right back where we were in the 1930s.

Posted on Dec 2, 2011 READ MORE



Operation Ceasefire

David M. Kennedy’s “Don’t Shoot: One Man, a Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America” is part memoir, part police thriller, taking us through the genesis and evolution of one of the most promising responses to urban violence and drug markets in the last two decades.

Posted on Nov 25, 2011 READ MORE



Ha Ha, Another Midlife Crisis

Howard Jacobson’s novel “No More Mr. Nice Guy” travels well-worn territory: the male midlife crisis in search of laughs.

Posted on Nov 17, 2011 READ MORE



Mea Culpa, That’s My Gun

In “The Shadow World,” Andrew Feinstein gives us perhaps the most comprehensive account of the global arms trade ever written, an industry in which the supreme ideology is greed.

Posted on Nov 11, 2011 READ MORE



In Sickness and in Health

Pulitzer Prize winner Jeffrey Eugenides’ third novel, “The Marriage Plot,” set in 1982 at Brown University, is his attempt to “traffic in the same ideas” as Jane Austen and Henry James, with some social satire and meta-fiction mixed in.

Posted on Nov 4, 2011 READ MORE


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