This is Not a Book Review

Through the tumultuous first decade of the new millennium there has flowed an ever more articulate stream of eulogies for the book review in print. Lamentations for the death of…

The Art of American 
Book Covers, 1873—1930
by Richard Minsky
Hardcover, $35.00
George Braziller, 2010

A Book by its Cover

It’s an unfortunate truth that—beyond making sure everything is spelt correctly—most modern publishers pay little attention to their hardcover bindings. Thousands of dollars may be devoted to design and artwork…

For You, For You I am Trilling These Songs
by Kathleen Rooney
Softcover, $14.95
Counterpoint, 2010

It Could Be Robinson Calling

Pulp Fiction re-ignited an old narrative trope that was then adopted by many clever popular films: a series of scenes, jumping from one character to another, and forward and backward…


With the Desert Surrounding

I. City of Extremes Is it possible for any one city to represent a nation as diverse and complex as America? Perhaps it is, in times of major crises, when…


Juneteenth: Ralph Ellison’s Three Days Before the Shooting

With the publication of his first and only complete novel in 1952, Ralph Ellison secured his place at the forefront of American literature and history. Invisible Man was an astounding achievement, not…


Slight Arms ’Round the Cypress Bough

In January, 2010, The Guardian asked former UK poet laureate Andrew Motion, “Why are we all still so hung up on the Romantics?” It may at first seem an odd question: a…

No Room at the End (diptych): Henri Cole

A thirty-foot spider made of stainless steel perches outside of London’s Tate Modern Museum. Artist Louise Bourgeois’ sculpture Maman is grotesque and elegant, vulnerable and out of place on its long uneven…

Mythomania: Zachary Mason’s Fantasies

Odysseus suffers—if that’s the word for it—from a perpetual fascination with his own cleverness, and The Odyssey thoroughly documents its hero’s indulgence in this fascination: Odysseus constantly dares, playing with…

Reading Gabriel Gudding

I. G.G. and the Humble Sublime Gabriel Gudding is an upstart crow, the only shake-scene in the country. The scene he shakes and bobbles is not merely the snow-globe of…

Living Dolls
by Natasha Walter
Softcover, £12.95
Little, Brown

A Choice of Bondage: Our Hypersexual Culture

In Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Clarissa’s daughter Elizabeth takes a short trip on an omnibus, from Westminster down the Strand toward St. Paul’s Cathedral. She is the only character in…

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