Archive for The Book Bum

Second Look Books: Julip by Jim Harrison

  Second Look Books: Julip by Jim Harrison (Houghton Mifflin, $21.95) Originally published on July 10, 1994. Jim Harrison died last year. His passing is a great loss for American letters. Jim Harrison is one of our very best American writers. He is the author…

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Sorrows of the Digital Age: Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping us Hooked by Adam Alter

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter (Penguin Press, New York 2017) Nobody in their right minds would now be anything but concerned about the rise of addictive behaviors, especially as they relate to digital electronic…

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Nutshell by Ian McEwan

Nutshell by Ian McEwan (Nan Talese, Doubleday New York, 2017) Conceits like those employed by Ian McEwan in his new novel, “Nutshell”, rarely succeed. Concocted points of view, skewed voices, or ghostly and enigmatic tale-tellers (such conceits were common in 60s fiction, eg. the work…

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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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