Tag Archives: spring 2002

The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition

James Howard Kunstler The Free Press ($25) by N. N. Hooker It is doubtful Kunstler enjoys being lost in Tokyo or Mumbai. His aesthetic is Old European rationality. Kunstler is an entertaining and lucid historian who balances detail and the sweeping statement. He deftly relates how Louis-Napoleon and his architect Haussmann transformed a Medieval shanty […]

Looking for a Fight

Lynn Snowden Picket Dell ($23.95) by Tricia Cornell Boxing is, as I once heard an upscale clothing store buyer say, "trending." An upper-class, cleaned-up version of the sport can be found in nearly every health club: women learn balance, control and strength, tone their arms with air punches and tone their calves bouncing around on […]

Amped: Notes from a Go-Nowhere Punk Band

Jon Resh Viper Press ($4.50) by Kevin Carollo With extended similes to rival Raymond Chandler—for example, "slobber over 'good' amps like a cheap salesman ogles middle-aged lap dancers after a few stiff drinks" and self-deprecating refrains along the lines of "in those first few weeks, we had zero chemistry . . . lacking any sense […]

Eldorado: Adventures in the Path of Empire

Bayard Taylor Heyday Books ($18.95) by Mark Terrill Travel writing is as old as writing itself. Back in the days when travel was still seen as an adventure and not as a consumer product, it was ship's logbooks, explorer's journals, and the tales of traveling merchants that served as the eyes and ears for a […]

Star Trek: The Human Frontier

Michèle Barrett and Duncan Barrett Routledge ($18.95) by Rudi Dornemann After thirty plus years, Star Trek has accumulated quite a body of material: multiple TV series and movies created by shifting teams of producers and writers, actors and crew. In spite of this behind-the-scenes change, the franchise has its ongoing organizing principles: persistent touchstone ideas, […]

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism

Gary Gach Alpha ($18.95) by Charisse Gendron In the introduction to this do-it-yourself manual on the history, teachings, practices, and applications of Buddhism, author Gary Gach feints, "A few people may scoff that this is sacrilegious, or something." Yes, reading about suchness (the "unrepeatable interpenetration of impermanences") in the standardized format of a Complete Idiot's […]

Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk Rock in the Nation's Capital

Mark Andersen and Mark Jenkins Soft Skull Press ($20) by Steve Burt Between 1979 and 1995, the kids, bands and record labels of greater Washington DC invented—mostly with help, on occasion single-handedly—the following developments in rock music and culture: (1) the early-80s sound of American hardcore (very young, very fast, very loud); (2) the lifestyle […]

War of the Words: 20 Years of Writing on Contemporary Literature

Edited by Joy Press Three Rivers Press ($14) by Laird Hunt Once upon a time, the Voice Literary Supplement was capable of busting balls and warping minds. Writers like Dorothy Allison, Gary Indiana, Kathy Acker and Lynne Tillman inhabited its gritty anti-uptown trenches, and explosions of definitely downtown trend-setting brilliance were rife. So, at any […]

Before and After: Stories from New York

edited by Thomas Beller Mr. Beller's Neighborhood ($13) by Thomas Haley Novelist and essay-writer Thomas Beller had for a couple of years been asking people to write to his website (mrbellersneighborhood.com) and express themselves on New York events, locations, and people of personal importance to them. Beller was just preparing to compile his favorites from […]


Kenneth Goldsmith Granary Books ($18) by Doug Nufer Kenneth Goldsmith has a novel approach to poetry: He records chunks of experience and releases the transcriptions as books. The books resemble fiction, as his observations take prose form, but his focus on the bits and pieces of language (to the exclusion of fiction's standard preoccupation with […]