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Too Good to Be True: A Memoir
When Benjamin Anastas tells us that his memoir is about failure, he seems to believe it. He flagellates himself for never replicating the success of h ...more
Feb 2013
Feb 09, 2013
Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers
Tom Wolfe, full of snark. Wolfe's best work The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, the early Esquire stories centers on character who he cl ...more
Oct 2008
Jan 24, 2009
Beneath the Underdog
A book of earnest erotica posing as a jazz memoir, Beneath the Underdog chronicles Mingus' childhood and early career as a lover and a pimp with nary ...more
Mar 2009
Mar 06, 2009
Has a novel ever been more aptly titled than J. M. Ledgard's Submergence? From the opening pages, we're reminded relentlessly that "submergence," "sub ...more
Feb 23, 2013
Feb 27, 2013
The Day of the Locust
Whimsical and witty it may be, The Day of the Locust is ultimately too insubstantial to really care about. There's a flatness to both the characters a ...more
Nov 2008
Jan 24, 2009
The Ministry of Special Cases
Like Chabon's "The Yiddish Policemen's Union," this is the tale of hard-boiled Jewish protagonist trying to make sense of a world that is rapidly dete ...more
Oct 2007
Sep 07, 2007
Odds Against Tomorrow
Nathaniel Rich's Odds Against Tomorrow, an eerily prescient take on worst-cast scenarios and postdeluvian New York, is like a more humane, optimistic ...more
Apr 17, 2013
Apr 17, 2013
"His reality was a dream; her dream was a reality." -Sabi Szylagi

What begins as an absurdist Hollywood farce--John Milius bellowing on the set of Love
Feb 10, 2009
Jan 24, 2009
There are many things to be impressed with in Trillin's writing—the sly voice, the seamless reportage, the narrative momentum—but it's the economy of ...more
Jan 27, 2013
Jan 28, 2013
The Diary of a Rapist
Connell's nimble wordplay is a lifeline out of the paranoid muck of his 1968 San Francisco. Told as a year's worth of journals from an increasingly de ...more
Dec 2008
Jan 24, 2009
The most striking thing about J.M. Ledgard's debut novel, Giraffe, is the narration, spread between half a dozen characters, all of them speaking in t ...more
Feb 25, 2013
Feb 27, 2013
Back to Blood
Tom Wolfe's new novel, Back to Blood, opens with a bravura prologue that seems to promise the sharp-witted, delightfully overblown Tom Wolfe novel we' ...more
Nov 2012
Feb 20, 2013
The Right Stuff
Wolfe's story of the U.S. supersonic test flight and early space programs transports you back to a bygone American era when pilots were heroes, scient ...more
May 2009
May 25, 2009
Standing Still in a Concrete Jungle
Shockingly original and deeply unsettling, Justin Nobel's "Standing Still in a Concrete Jungle" is a fever dream of New York--vivid, shadowy, and perc ...more
Oct 28, 2012
Oct 28, 2012
Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916
An exhaustively researched reconstruction of the 1916 Jersey Shore shark attacks that served as the basis for Jaws, Michael Capuzzo's Close to Shore i ...more
Apr 2009
Apr 12, 2009
The Marriage Plot
Eugenides triumphs when he writes what he knows. The first 100 pages are a dazzling mixture of academic satire and patient character creation, and Mit ...more
Feb 03, 2012
Feb 04, 2012
Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays
Slouching Toward Bethlehem features Didion's snarky but self-effacing prose slashing through vapid hippie rhetoric, swooning over John Wayne, and, oft ...more
Feb 13, 2009
Feb 10, 2009
Bright Lights, Big City
A novel about a 24-year-old fact-checker at a prestigious New York magazine was inevitably going to resonant somewhat with this reader. It's cliche to ...more
Feb 05, 2009
Feb 02, 2009
The Savage Detectives
"Words aren't all good," a friend said to me recently. "Those 'literary' people think that writing and reading is doing good, that it's some kind of p ...more
Feb 02, 2009
Jan 24, 2009
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
Written in the reigning nonfiction style of breezy, cocktail-party-factoid, prose, Lewis's Moneyball nevertheless proves more substantial than its int ...more
Nov 2008
Jan 24, 2009
The Big Sleep
The plot is famously convoluted and the payoff is trifling. Most of the characters are barely outlines and their motives are inconsistent and sporadic ...more
Feb 19, 2009
Feb 10, 2009
Trillin on Texas
A hodgepodge collection of Calvin Trillin's writings on the Lone Star state, "Trillin in Texas" showcases the great New Yorker writer in his many form ...more
Jun 09, 2013
Jun 09, 2013
Leaving the Atocha Station
Lerner brilliantly captures the surreal head-rush and out-of-body loneliness of the American abroad. He's a poet, and so it's not surprising that this ...more
Sep 18, 2012
Sep 18, 2012
The Devil & Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness & Obsession
Grann's collection is a sort of master class in narrative journalism. There are the character studies (Ricky Henderson, Toto Constant), the almost eth ...more
Jan 2013
Jan 28, 2013
The Night of the Gun
Carr hits upon an outstanding concept—a memoir written by someone without memories—but doesn't have the dedication to stick with it. In Gun's first se ...more
Jan 08, 2012
Jan 08, 2012
The Earl of Louisiana
Ostensibly the story of Louisiana Governor Earl Long's doomed bid to circumvent term-limit laws, Liebling's book ends up as a dissection of the South ...more
Aug 09, 2013
Aug 11, 2013
Sentences don't get much more thrilling than Amis's, which crackle with the boozy head-rush of ostentatious early 80s New York while slyly nodding to ...more
Nov 26, 2011
Nov 27, 2011
The Journalist and the Murderer
The surprising thing about Janet Malcolm's The Journalist and the Murderer isn't that it's so smart and perceptive about the craft; it's that it's suc ...more
Aug 11, 2013
Aug 11, 2013
Lucky Jim
Lucky Jim elevates the comedy of manners and the academic satire into a novel of pure pleasure through its caustic, cunning prose ("He lay sprawled, t ...more
Feb 18, 2013
Feb 18, 2013
The Forever War
The Forever War opens with a baroque scene right out of Coppola: the U.S. Marines storm the insurgent-run city of Fallujah as airstrikes light up the ...more
May 25, 2009
Apr 15, 2009
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