Tag Archives: spring 2010


Julio Cortázar Alfaguara ($21.99) by Jay Miskowiec Published twenty-five years after Julio Cortázar’s death, Papeles inesperados (Unexpected Writings) brings together a vast range of little-known texts by the Argentine author. Though not all technically “unpublished” works, many having previously appeared in newspapers or magazines, this trove varying in style and genre offers Cortázar fans and scholars a […]

DEVI: Volumes 1-4

Shekhar Kapur Virgin Comics ($14.99 each) by Spencer Dew While Hinduism has a multiplicity of specific goddesses, they are all manifestations of a larger notion called Devi, the Sanskrit term for Goddess. Among the most venerated aspects of Devi is Durga, created to battle a demon undefeatable by the gods and thus equipped with more […]


Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, and Philip Tan DC Comics ($24.99) by James Fleming In the 1980s, graphic novels such as Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke offered a radical reformulation of Batman that transformed the character from pop icon into a gothic, existential, disturbed crusader for vengeance, more spiritually and intellectually akin to Shakespeare’s […]

THE EXTENDED WORDS: An Imaginary Dictionary

Sid Gershgoren Red Dragonfly Press ($23) by Jenny Dunning FLUG /fləg´/ n. 1. A substance reputed to wash haze from some, but not all, early mornings. 2. By extension, any act or word or image which clears ambiguous action and verbiage from any given group of co-terminous situations selected by chance or, barring chance, by outright […]


edited by Vanessa Guignery and Ryan Roberts University Press of Mississippi ($22) by Jeff Bursey Throughout the eighteen conversations appearing in Conversations with Julian Barnes, the English author comes across as private, relaxed, mindful of his interviewer, and intelligent; the interviewers come across as dull-minded (Caroline Holland), sharp-witted and challenging (several), and whimsical (Margaret Crick). It says […]

DANCING IN THE DARK: A Cultural History of The Great Depression

Morris Dickstein W.W. Norton ($29.95) by Tim W. Brown Morris Dickstein’s Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression is an extremely timely and fresh study of 1930s literature, film, photography, and music. The book presents a vivid portrait of the era, as illustrated by eyewitness testimony and cultural artifacts. Demonstrating a mastery of […]

WILLIAM T. VOLLMANN: A Critical Study and Seven Interviews

Michael Hemmingson McFarland & Company ($39.95) by Jeff Bursey I’ll begin with the negative. The proofreading of William T. Vollmann: A Critical Study and Seven Interviews is shoddy, with words and parts of words dropped, italicization missing, and names misspelled (Blaise Cendrars is rechristened “Blaise Cendrares,” though you won’t find him in the index anyway). Perhaps the […]

OUR NOISE: The Story of Merge Records, the Indie Label that Got Big and Stayed Small

John Cook, Mac McCaughan, and Laura Ballance Algonquin Books ($18.95) by Kevin Carollo Our antennae were tuned very specifically for like minds, as opposed to sending out a signal to convert people. There are some kinds of art that are trying to find their peers, and there are other kinds that are trying to make peers. […]

A FINE ROMANCE: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs

David Lehman Schocken ($23) by Douglas A. Smith It’s not until the last chapter of David Lehman’s book A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songwriters that the author recounts to a friend, “I’m writing the book in a way that intermingles fact and fantasy even though it is technically a nonfiction book.” It would have been helpful […]