Oh, the Horror! | Arts & Humanities Reviews, December 2016

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Skal’s exploration of Stoker’s most famous work is for serious students of horror literature and ­Victorian ­culture; thoroughly documented, Powers of Darkness is recommended for Dracula scholars

Award-Winning Short Fiction, Hamlet Worldwide, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2017, Pt. 4

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Arimah, Lesley Nneka. What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories. Riverhead. Apr. 2017. 240p. ISBN 9780735211025. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780735211049. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. SHORT STORIES Arimah won the 2015 African Commonwealth Prize for the Granta-published “Light,” was a finalist for the 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing for the title story, […]

Literature, Music, TV | Arts Previews, Apr. 2017, Pt. 4

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Bloom, Harold. Falstaff: Give Me Life. Scribner. Apr. 2017. 176p. ISBN 9781501164132. $22; ebk. ISBN 9781501164156. LITERATURE Distinguished critic Bloom, known especially for his Shakespeare scholarship, shows us why Falstaff—central to the three Henry plays—is considered Shakespeare’s greatest comic character. As Bloom explains, readers experience Falstaff differently as they move through life, which clarifies how […]

Two Big Fiction Debuts, Gaitskill, Lamott, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2017, Pt. 3

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El Akkad, Omar. American War. Knopf. Apr. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9780451493583. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780451493590. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY/DYSTOPIAN FICTION Having reported on key issues from the war in Afghanistan to the Black Lives Matter movement, Egyptian-born, Canadian-based journalist El Akkad not surprisingly offers a debut novel shaped by current events while pointing […]

Great Literary Titles & World Politics | Nonfiction Previews, Mar. 2017, Pt. 4

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Bellos, David. The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables. Farrar. Mar. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9780374223236. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780374716295. LITERARY CRITICISM A prolific translator and Princeton professor of French and comparative literature whose Is That a Fish in Your Ear? was a Los Angeles Book Prize finalist, Bellos discusses not just […]

History, Literature, Cultural Studies | Nonfiction Previews, Jan. 2017, Pt. 4

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Blackburn, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Elissa Epel. The Telomere Effect: The New Science of Living Younger. Grand Central. Jan. 2017. 302p. ISBN 9781455587971. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781455587964; lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455569939. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. HEALTH & FITNESS Currently president of the Salk Institute, Blackburn was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along […]

Günter Grass’s Last Work, the Nabokov-Wilson Feud, & More | Barbara’s Picks, December 2016, Pt. 1

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Beam, Alex. The Feud: Vladimir Nabokov, Edmund Wilson, and the End of a Beautiful Friendship. Pantheon. Dec. 2016. 224p. ISBN 9781101870228. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101870235. LITERATURE/biogr In 1940, leading man of American letters Edmund Wilson helped asylum-seeker Vladimir Nabokov get settled in this country, introducing him to editors and assigning him book reviews for the […]

P.D. James, Javier Marias, the Gelbs on O’Neill, & Pulitzer Prize Winner Wood | Barbara’s Picks, Nov. 2016, Pt. 2

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Gelb, Arthur & Barbara Gelb. By Women Possessed: A Life of Eugene O’Neill. Marian Wood: Putnam. Nov. 2016. 896p. ISBN 9780399159114. $50; ebk. ISBN 9780698170681. LITERATURE The Gelbs are already the authors of O’Neill (1962) and O’Neill: Life with Monte Cristo (2000), so they were building on a solid base when they crafted this final […]

LJ Nonfiction Reviews: May 1, 2016

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In 1971, there was Never a Dull Moment, Hasson on Believers, Thinkers, and Founders, how to do Adult Stuff, plus military picks, baseball books, and writerly advice from Mattison in The Kite and the String

From De Quincey to Abramovic to the Beatles | Arts Previews, Oct. 2016, Pt. 3

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Abramovic, Marina. Walk Through Walls: Becoming Marina Abramovic. Crown Archetype. Oct. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781101905043. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781101905050. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. ART/MEMOIR Preeminent performance artist Abramovic has been stripped, burned, and cut and has sat with a loaded gun to her head or simply sat for hours—all in the name of an art that […]