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Books
Mark Twain’s Autobiography: A Pre-approval

You might have heard that Mark Twain’s autobiography is going to be published this fall—the real one, not the abridged, expurgated, censored, compromised, cleaned-up, Sunday school superintendent version that’s circulated over the years. 5,000 pages of sheer bile, cussedness, and…

Posted on: June 17th, 2010 | Comments (54)

The Crying Conservative: How Glenn Beck Taught His Feminine Side To Turn Tricks

The following is an adapted excerpt from Alexander Zaitchik’s book, Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance, just released by Wiley & Sons. Every July 4, Glenn Beck emcees the Stadium of Fire celebration in Provo, Utah. The…

Posted on: May 14th, 2010 | Comments (36)

A Brief History Of Media Cover-Ups & Self-Censorship: Who's Afraid of Russ Baker's "Family Of Secrets"

On February 17, 1967, the newspapers ran stories about a sensational new investigation into JFK’s assassination, headed by a New Orleans DA named Jim Garrison, who called into question the “lone gunman” theory laying all the blame on Lee Harvey…

Posted on: April 11th, 2010 | Comments (49)

New Shit Has Come to Light on The Big Lebowski

Lotta books on The Big Lebowski have come out recently, and I’ve slogged through them so you don’t have to: I’m a Lebowski, You’re a Lebowski by Bill Green, Ben Peskoe, Will Russell, and Scott Shuffitt The Dude Abides: The…

Posted on: March 27th, 2010 | Comments (61)

Exiles: Why I Hate Modern Novels

I promised this guy I’d review a new novel called Exiles, so the review could appear in eXiled and provide some sort of synergistic frisson in the universe or something. That was months ago and I still haven’t done it….

Posted on: January 23rd, 2010 | Comments (55)

Lord Byron: The eXile's Patron Saint

“Polidori once asked Byron what, besides scribble verses, he could do better than Polidori himself. Byron icily replied: ‘Three things. First, I can hit with a pistol the keyhole of that door. Secondly, I can swim across that river to…

Posted on: November 2nd, 2009 | Comments (12)

David Brooks Blows Bobos: An Exile Classic

This article was first published in The eXile on June 22, 2000. Reading Bobos in Paradise, I realized that it’s not so hard to make money by writing: all you have to do is suck and swallow several million people…

Posted on: October 19th, 2009 | Comments (17)

Mono-Highbrow: A Lowbrow Critique

I’ve been reading anthologies again, God help me. It’s all about money, as in we ain’t got none. So it’s back to teaching, and that means reading the anthologies that attempt to take a bunch of innocent kids through the…

Posted on: July 18th, 2009 | Comments (49)

Zombies Under Attack

A short while back I wrote a review for the appalling hit movie Twilight, mourning the fact that vampires and werewolves were being ruined by soft-serve sex fantasy addicts, but rejoicing that at least zombies were safe. No way to…

Posted on: April 20th, 2009 | Comments (31)

Sylvia Plath's Son?

Most Recent Photograph of That Guy That Plath Popped Out (bottom right; circa 1962) Sylvia Plath’s son died yesterday. That’s how it was reported, even by the BBC. The dead man’s name was Nicholas Hughes, not Plath, but in death…

Posted on: March 24th, 2009 | Comments (32)

Dead Philosophers Are Maddeningly Unhelpful

The Book of Dead Philosophers has on its cover a photo of a book with the title The Book of Dead Philosophers. The book in the photo is lying on its back, presumably in a supine, dead-book pose. This is…

Posted on: March 23rd, 2009 | Comments (14)

He Stole It All from A Cockroach: A Lesson In Why You Shouldn't Become A Poet

Robert Creeley: Great Poet or One-Eyed Interspecies Plagiarist? Here are two pieces of twentieth-century verse. One has been called “…the most often quoted, even the most widely known, short poem” of the 1960s; the other is from a long-forgotten collection…

Posted on: March 17th, 2009 | Comments (3)

Drood: A Humongous Horror Novel

Dan Simmons, a guy best known for his respected sci-fi stuff like the four-book “Hyperion Cantos”, has now produced a horror novel so big and heavy it could knock your head off, if flung. It’s called Drood, and it weighs…

Posted on: March 1st, 2009 | Comments (11)

Literature on Mexico's Drug War You Can Read, Sort Of

Today’s Topic: In semi-praise of Down by the River. Statement of the Grand Inquisitor: As we have ruled earlier, there are few good books. Down by the River by Charles Bowden, a meandering and disorganized collection of facts, soundbites and…

Posted on: January 21st, 2009 | Comments (17)

BOOK REVIEW: Snark, and Why We're For It

Maureen Dowd: queen of snark? The burning issue in David Denby’s new book, Snark: It’s Mean, It’s Personal, and It’s Ruining Our Conversation, is that these days we’re all too snarky, and it’s imperiling Western Civilization. First, of course, he…

Posted on: January 16th, 2009 | Comments (17)

"Jackrabbit" Bill O'Reilly's Autobiography: A Hot Steaming Pile Of Banality

Reviewed: “A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity” by Bill O’ Reilly (Broadway, 2008). In this slight, self-indulgent memoir, Bill O’Reilly tells us how he got so “bold” and “fresh.” A humble man, he attributes his success to his own innate…

Posted on: December 31st, 2008 | Comments (11)

The eXile: Sex, Drugs and Libel in the New Russia By Mark Ames and Matt Taibbi Yea, the Lord has heard thine prayers, and He, in His infinite Sadism, has answered thee: back on sale, newly printed up, is the…

Posted on: November 23rd, 2008 | Leave Comment

Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya One of the great mysteries of the twentieth century was the way Britain got away with pillaging nearly every country on the planet without suffering any retribution. I’ve spent a…

Posted on: September 8th, 2006 | Comments (5)

“My Friend Leonard” James Frey Riverhead Hardcover 2005 $24.95 See it on Amazon.com… James Frey is a liar. A bad one. And hugely successful. You can discover just how bad a liar he is by reading his second novel, My…

Posted on: September 9th, 2005 | Comments (1)

“Mao: the Unknown Story” by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday Random House 2005 See it on Amazon.com… When I watched the second Addams Family movie, I knew there’d be a “blockbuster biography” of Mao coming soon. The key scene comes…

Posted on: July 1st, 2005 | Comments (1)