Staff Picks

October 18, 2011

Staff Pick: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall 2


Let me get this out of the way: I hate running. I never enjoyed it: it hurt, it was boring, and I always worried about getting a sunburn.

October 12, 2011

Guilty Pleasures: Julie Salamon’s The Devil’s Candy & Wendy and the Lost Boys 0


Author Julie Salamon is blessed with that rare talent for not missing the forest for the trees while at the same time being able to see the trees.

September 20, 2011

Staff Pick: Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau 2


By the end of the first page, you have learned everything you are ever going to know about the events on which the book focuses. What Queneau does do, however, is re-narrate this same scenario a further 98 times, in a series of distinct styles.

September 16, 2011

Staff Pick: Kenneth Fearing’s The Big Clock 0


In Kenneth Fearing’s 1946 noir novel, a Manhattan writer is given the unenviable task of tracking himself down.

August 29, 2011

Staff Pick: Daniele Mastrogiacomo’s Days of Fear 1


In the spring of 2007, the Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo arrived in Afghanistan. He was there to conduct an interview with a Taliban commander, but the promised interview was a trap.

August 25, 2011

Staff Picks: Sabbath’s Theater by Philip Roth 8


With its gallons of bodily fluids and its frankness about the attendant pneumatics, Sabbath’s Theater makes Nicholson Baker’s “manstarch” look like marzipan, and The Rosy Crucifixion look like Make Way for Ducklings.

July 28, 2011

Staff Pick: Baseball Playbook 1


“You might have to coach Little League in a few years,” my father told me, handing me a strange, plain book. My son was a week old. It would be at least two years before he would learn to throw a cut fastball (and probably another year or two before he had any real command of the pitch).

July 28, 2011

Through A Glass, Clearly: Steve Coll’s Ghost Wars 5


One comes away from Ghost Wars with two seemingly paradoxical impressions: 1. unlike most civilians, American leaders saw 9/11 coming years before it happened; and 2. barring a run of stupid luck, they had almost zero chance of stopping it, given the realities of the pre-9/11 world.

July 26, 2011

Staff Pick: The Real State of America Atlas 2


Where The Real State of America Atlas truly shines is in its demolition of the notion – the enduring fantasy – that America is a land of equal opportunity.

June 29, 2011

The Devil in a Cadillac: Langston Hughes’ Tambourines to Glory 0


This is a living book—one that summons the age of the Great Migration and Sarah Vaughan and Joe Louis.  And while it’s a morality fable, its characters aren’t the flat allegorical kind.