Tag Archives: summer 2010

AMERICAN IDLE: A Journey Through Our Sedentary Culture

Mary Collins Capital Books ($16.95) by Scott F. Parker The kinds of facts a reader finds in Mary Collins’s American Idle are easy enough to predict (Americans eat badly, don’t exercise enough, and are killing themselves with their lazy lifestyle choices)—but the sheer extremity of the specifics is staggering. “The average American household keeps the television on […]

STUDIO GHIBLI: The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata

Colin Odell and Michelle Le Blanc Kamera Books ($24.95) by Emy Farley Animation is a lively and innovative art form that, when done well, can transport audiences to extraordinary worlds. Studio Ghibli, Japan’s preeminent animation studio, has for decades pushed the boundaries of what is possible and brought animation to new and exciting heights. Even […]

NAMING NATURE: The Clash Between Instinct and Science

Carol Kaesuk Yoon W. W. Norton & Co. ($27.95) by Ryder W. Miller In Naming Nature, science reporter Carol Kaesuk Yoon tells a fascinating story about the history of taxonomy, the biological field that seeks to give names to all living things on the planet. The field has been recently revolutionized by mathematical and chemical techniques, […]


Jean-Luc Nancy translated by Charlotte Mandel Fordham University Press ($16) by Charisse Gendron Best known, with his colleague Maurice Blanchot, for his investigation of the political and of “inoperable” community, Jean-Luc Nancy writes philosophy like a poet, one who has rejected metaphysics but not “the soul,” nature, the dream, or the rhapsody of language. His […]

MY FATHER’S LOVE: Portrait of the Poet as a Young Girl (Volume 1)

Sharon Doubiago Wild Ocean Press ($20) by Dottie Payne “My soul looks back and wonders how I got over.” —James Baldwin Consider how the seminal North American novel, Huckleberry Finn, exalts the commonest among us: a homeless, illiterate orphan and a runaway slave. No wonder, then, that the memoir has emerged as a favored genre in […]

PAINTING BELOW ZERO: Notes on a Life in Art

James Rosenquist with David Dalton Knopf ($50) by Mason Riddle In his autobiography, Painting Below Zero, American artist James Rosenquist offers a darting account of his life, weaving together the personal with the professional from infancy forward with enough detail and texture to satisfy the curious. Rosenquist’s transient musings of the past are often as prescient […]


Mircea Eliade translated by Mac Linscott Ricketts State University of New York Press ($24.95) by Spencer Dew “The blank spaces in a private diary are also revealing,” observed Mircea Eliade, the famed Romanian historian of religion who served as a diplomat in Portugal during World War II. Yet his journal from this era was also […]


Juliet Koss University of Minnesota Press ($29.50) by John Pistelli In 1849, fired by the ideals of the democratic revolutions that erupted across the European continent, composer Richard Wagner devised what history would regard as his signature contribution to aesthetic theory: the Gesamtkunstwerk, or total artwork. Juliet Koss tells us in her new study, Modernism After Wagner, […]

MEMOIR: A History

Ben Yagoda Riverhead Books ($25.95) by Don Messerschmidt A definitive study of the art of autobiography, Ben Yagoda’s Memoirtakes an historical approach to the subject. Its comprehensive and finely tuned analysis begins with the definition of autobiography and memoirs (plural) as “a book understood by its author, its publisher, and its readers to be a factual account […]