Tag Archives: Summer 2015


Roberto Calasso Translated by Richard Dixon Farrar, Straus, and Giroux ($35) by John Toren Reading Roberto Calasso's Ardor is a little like reading The Lord of the Rings, but from the inside out. Rather than introducing us to a cast of characters whom we accompany through fantastical landscapes full of adventure, mystery, conflict, and occult […]


Caroline Bergvall Nightboat Books ($19.95) by Greg Bem What is the nature of inquiry? What does it mean to “ask the question”? How does the poetic process have an impact on cultural excavation? Caroline Bergvall’s compelling Drift explores these questions and more. A larger project made up of linked components, this book is overwhelmed with […]


Rachel Cusk Farrar, Straus, & Giroux ($26) by Sally Franson It may come as no surprise, given the title, that Rachel Cusk’s latest novel appears as neatly structured as a term paper. The eponymous word appears exactly twice in the book—once at the beginning, once at the end—and between these slender bookends stand ten tidy […]

My Documents

Alejandro Zambra Translated by Megan McDowell McSweeney’s ($15) by Jeff Alford Named after the catch-all computer folder, Alejandro Zambra’s My Documents collects an array of meditations on writing and wayward memories of growing up in Chile. To Zambra, an exciting story isn’t as important as the confidence with which it’s told. The short stories in […]

Holy Heathen Rhapsody

Pattiann Rogers Penguin ($20) by Kimberly Burwick Two days ago, the word of the day on Dictionary.com was Atticism, meaning concise or elegant diction. Yesterday, it was mirepoix: a flavoring made from diced vegetables, seasonings, herbs, and sometimes meat. Perhaps it is no accident that both words recall the environmentally voltaic poetry of Pattiann Rogers. […]

Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage, the Sixties, and Sound Recording

David Grubbs Duke University Press ($23.95) by Will Wlizlo In case you missed the headline, yet another music streaming service was launched this spring. Called Tidal, it differentiates itself from similar platforms like Spotify and Pandora Internet Radio by the quality of the recordings and exclusive access to new work from musicians. Rap mogul Jay […]


Joseph Harms CreateSpace ($13.99) by Jane Franklin There is much to admire in this self-published Midwestern horror gothic—it contains amazing landscapes; the writing moves beautifully between the realistic, the satiric, and the lyric; and the whole thing operates as a denunciation of patriarchal religion and patriarchal sexuality. It also has a beautiful and well-designed cover […]

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Bryan Stevenson Spiegel & Grau ($16) by George Longenecker Bryan Stevenson has been on the front lines of social justice, as an attorney representing some of the neediest prisoners in the nation and as executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. Just Mercy is a compelling narrative on the themes of economic and racial bias. […]