Archive for The Book Bum

The Art of Rivalry by Sebastian Smee

The Art of Rivalry: Four Friendships, Betrayals, and Breakthroughs in Modern Art by Sebastian Smee (Random House, New York, 2017) At the center of Sebastian Smee’s new book “The Art of Rivalry” is the idea of artistic struggle through rivalry. Smee won the Pulitzer Prize…

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Winter Notes on Summer Impressions by Fyodor Dostoyevsky—The Underground Man does London, 1862

FROM: Winter Notes on Summer Impressions by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Criterion Books, New York, 1955, forward by Saul Bellow) Notes on the Liberal Bourgeoisie, Alienation, the Struggle for Survival:  In 1862 Dostoyevsky visited London to see the famous Crystal Palace, a capitalist and imperialist wonderland of…

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Age of Anger by Pankaj Mishra

Age of Anger: A History of the Present by Pankaj Mishra (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2017) On Nine-Eleven George W. Bush “awoke” to a reality he defined in the coming months as Good against Evil, with the “evil doers” a set (never precisely…

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Strangers in their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Hochschild—-What’s the Matter With Kansas (and Louisiana)…

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild (The New Press, New York, 2016) Highly regarded Berkeley sociologist Arlie Hochschild’s new book, “Strangers in Their Own Land” is an effort to “get inside” the emotional world of…

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Timothy Snyder’s “On Tyranny: Twenty lessons from the Twentieth Century”—–Must Reading!!!

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder (Tim Duggan Books, New York, 2017 $7.99) The first few Greek democracies were scattered throughout the Peloponnesus. From the beginning, around the third century B.C., these townships and small cities were considered fragile, being…

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Second Look Books: The Death and Life of American Cities by Jane Jacobs (Fifty years later…)

Second Look Books: Systems of Survival: A Dialogue on the Moral Foundations of Commerce and Politics by Jane Jacobs; The Death and Life of American Cities by Jane Jacobs. This comprehensive look at the later work of urban moralist and city planner Jane Jacobs was…

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Perspectives–Fascism Lite: The “Ur-fascism of Donald J. Trump and Company

Perspectives: Fascism Lite: The ‘Ur-fascism’ of Donald J. Trump and Company  Things to read: “On Message” by Lewis H. Lapham: From Age of Folly: America Abandons its Democracy (Verso, London/New York, 2016). “Containing Trump” by Jonathan Rauch: From ‘The Atlantic’, March 2017. “How to Build…

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Political Lynching and the Popular Mob: Donald J. Trump Against the Central Park Five

Perspectives: Political Lynching and the Popular Mob: Donald J. Trump Against the Central Park Five  Reading and Viewing:  “New York: Sentimental Journeys” by Joan Didion, The New York Review of Books, January 17, 1991. The Central Park Five: A Chronicle of a City Wilding by…

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South and West: From a Notebook by Joan Didion

South and West: From a Notebook by Joan Didion (Alfred A. Knopf, New York 2017) “California Notes” began as an assignment from ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine on the Patty Hearst trial of 1976. Didion never wrote the piece, but she collected a large number of notes,…

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Perspectives: Sorrows of the Digital Age: The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind and Brain by Eric Kandel

Perspectives: Sorrows of the Digital Age or, Communication absent Faces, Hands and Bodies—the Un-Social Network. One can only ponder the scene: The family gathered at the dinner table, each of the five, or six, or seven, staring down at a screen. One, maybe, involved with…

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