Staff Picks

July 31, 2012

Staff Pick: Saul Bellow’s The Bellarosa Connection 2


Do the ones who save us owe us anything? The Bellarosa Connection is fascinating as a study of memory and regret.

May 31, 2012

The Mad Music of Kevin Barry’s City of Bohane 9


Thank you, Kevin Barry, for reminding us that the people in the book business are not all idiots simply because they remain locked in slavish pursuit of The Next Hot Young Thing.

May 10, 2012

Staff Pick: H.H. Munro’s The Best of Saki 10


H.H. Munro wrote a great many light and often very funny send-ups of the stifling conventions and manners of the Edwardian age. But on the other hand, three of the first eight stories in the book involve corpses, with two of these being small children eaten by wild animals.

April 27, 2012

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Dallas Hudgens’ Wake Up, We’re Here 9


Hudgens doesn’t shy away from the brutality of life on earth — the illness, the decreptitude, the humiliations and the teen suicides — but the grittiness is never gratuitous, and his stories are infused with compassion and humanity.

April 18, 2012

Getting the Good Stuff: Mark Haskell Smith’s Heart of Dankness 6


Take it from a guy who hates reggae: I highly recommend picking up Heart of Dankness, whether you have a doctor’s recommendation or not.

April 17, 2012

Staff Pick: Lauren Groff’s Arcadia 6


Sometimes I just want to read a book from beginning to end as quickly as possible. Arcadia was perfect for this venture, both because I was immediately in love with it, and because the book itself is about experiences that wrap around you until the outside world fades away.

March 26, 2012

Staff Pick: E.L. Doctorow’s The Book of Daniel 0


The Book of Daniel is metafiction done right, by an author who cares as much about telling stories as he does about talking about telling stories.

March 22, 2012

John Leonard Died for Our Sins 6


I’m glad I haven’t read anything Leonard wrote about Nixon after 1975. My guess is it would be like watching someone empty an Uzi into a lifeless Clydesdale.

January 11, 2012

Staff Pick: John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead 16


Every word I say or write about John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead turns instantly to mush. Yes, he’s that good.

November 23, 2011

Staff Pick: Steve Erickson’s Zeroville 5


Zeroville is a work of surpassing strangeness and beauty. Vikar is possesed by movies, and he’s come to the promised land. He has a tattoo of Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift on his shaved head, a red tear drop inked below an eye.