Staff Picks

May 17, 2011

Staff Pick: China Mieville’s Embassytown 9

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Instead of doing the safe thing and revisiting his imaginary world of Bas-Lag or his reconfigured city of London, Mieville now takes us to his titular “city of contradictions on the outskirts of the universe.”

April 14, 2011

Staff Pick: Two Crime Novels 12

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The most recent books I’ve read in the genre confirm my long-held suspicion that attempting to categorize books by genre does readers a disservice; these books are no less literary than any of the other great books I’ve read this year, they just have crimes and/or guns in them.

March 31, 2011

Staff Pick: The Patterns of Paper Monsters by Emma Rathbone 7

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I longed for a contemporary novel about contemporary life. I longed for references to malls, and to boners, and to “intense cell phones” and to a pillow made of denim with an actual jeans pocket on the front, “like it thinks it’s Bruce Springsteen.”

March 30, 2011

Staff Pick: The Literary Life: A Scrapbook Almanac 1900 to 1950 0

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Phelps and Deane were interested in the individualized, romantic convergence of reader and writer; in the deeply-felt notion that literature matters in life, that indeed it is life.

February 18, 2011

Staff Pick: The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature 4

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Potential is a dreamer’s word, an ideal state that may never be. Perhaps that’s what makes it a writer’s word.

February 3, 2011

Staff Pick: Sarah Bakewell’s How to Live 5

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It’s a ripping story, splashed with bloody horrors and punctuated by moments of serene beauty.

January 31, 2011

Staff Pick: Bleak House and The Dickensian Way 13

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You have to embrace Bleak House for what it is – a rambling, confusing, verbose, over-populated, vastly improbable story which substitutes caricatures for people and is full of puns. In other words, an 800-page Dickens novel.

January 25, 2011

Staff Pick: Hannah Pittard’s The Fates Will Find Their Way 5

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In her elegant debut novel The Fates Will Find Their Way, Hannah Pittard defies the odds; she takes a story we’ve all read before—a girl disappears, the lives of those left behind are changed forever in the aftermath—and manages to create something entirely original.

January 12, 2011

Staff Pick: FreeDarko Presents The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History 6

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To find truth — and in so doing, beauty — in the game is the height of sportswriting, a genre usually mired somewhere between tawdry gossip and vitriolic hyperbole.

November 28, 2010

Staff Pick: Millen Brand’s The Outward Room 2

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A quiet little miracle of a book.