Tag Archives: winter 2007

GHOST STORIES: Essex County Volume 2

Jeff Lemire Top Shelf Productions ($14.95) by Donald Lemke Ghost Stories is the second volume in Jeff Lemire’s graphic novel trilogy Essex County, but simply to label the book “part two” would diminish the satisfying completeness of this distinctive work. Although delicately connected to the first volume, Ghost Stories stands alone and stands out among recent publications in this […]


Jim Munroe and Salgood Sam Idea and Design Works ($14.99) by Spencer Dew Everyone loves an apocalypse: most human cultures tell stories about them to suit their particular desires. Apocalyptic literature, moreover, is never really about an end, just climactic and cataclysmic events, world-changing in a radical, fantastic, way. In his first graphic novel, writer […]


Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill America’s Best Comics ($29.99) by Rudi Dornemann Alan Moore has been widely touted for bringing the depth of a literary novel to his comics. In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, he turns the tables, blending all of literature into a comics-style crossover event to dwarf anything dreamt of in the marketing […]


Shaun Tan Arthur A. Levine Books ($19.95) by David A. Beronä Those who have had the experience of listening to their grandparents talk about their immigration experiences will recognize the spirit of The Arrival, Shaun Tan’s stunning wordless graphic novel. The story involves a young man who leaves his wife and daughter in their hostile homeland […]

FAINT PRAISE: The Plight of Book Reviewing in America

Gail Pool University of Missouri Press ($19.95) by Marcus A. Banks Gail Pool cares about book reviews. She wants them to be critical and incisive, not tentative and formulaic, and she believes they can make a difference in reader’s lives, or at least provide meaningful guidance about what’s worth reading among the nearly 200,000 books […]


Shalom Auslander Riverhead ($24.95) by Jessica Bennett When—while browsing your local bookstore, clicking your way through some online bookseller, or perhaps reading this review—you first encounter Shalom Auslander’s memoir of escaping his Orthodox Jewish upbringing, you may find the title intriguing, amusing, or kind of repulsive. If your reaction closely matches the last of these, […]

HIDDEN DIMENSIONS: The Unification of Physics and Consciousness

B. Alan Wallace Columbia University Press ($24.50) by Kelly Everding Discoveries in quantum physics have underlined the vast chasm between our day-to-day world and the workings of subatomic particles, and the quest for a unification theory—one that may bridge this chasm—has been the holy grail for physicists for decades. Many assume the key may lie […]

VANISHING AMERICA: In Pursuit of Our Elusive Landscapes

James Conaway Shoemaker & Hoard ($24.95) by Spencer Dew A collection of vignettes about “exceptional American places” that “serve as physical and spiritual barometers” to the declining state of the country, Vanishing America laments the cancerous spread of development, of “nihilistic, temporarily enriching transformations” that destroy public land and wreck the cultural heritage of unique places. James […]

BEAUTIFUL ENEMIES: Friendship and Postwar American Poetry

Andrew Epstein Oxford University Press ($45) by Elizabeth Robinson Andrew Epstein’s Beautiful Enemies offers a study of friendship and postwar American poetry by focusing on three poets, Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, and Amiri Baraka. In his introduction, Epstein states that the intention of the book is to investigate the peculiar dynamics of American avant-garde poetic communities and the […]

MERTON & BUDDHISM: Realizing the Self

edited by Bonnie Bowman Thurston Fons Vitae ($26.95) by Joel Weishaus Thomas Feverel Merton was born in Prades, France, on January 31, 1915. In 1941, a Masters Degree from Columbia University in hand, he entered the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, a Trappist monastery in Kentucky. One would think, as Merton’s friends did, that […]