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Books
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 (16)

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 (4)

“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)

“A Million Little Pieces” by James Frey. Doubleday 2003, $22.95 *** This is the worst thing I’ve ever read. A Million Little Pieces is the dregs of a degraded genre, the rehab memoir. Rehab stories provide a way for pampered…

Posted on: May 29th, 2003 | Comments (7)

Mikey McFaul and the Three Bears: A Review of “Russia’s Unfinished Revolution”

This book is a four-hundred page testimonial to the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the American Russia-watching mafia. In its pages, Michael McFaul condemns himself again and again with staggering non-sequiturs, self-serving lies, crude misrepresentations of his own past and the recent history of Russia, and repeated failures to meet even the most basic standards of academic rigor.

Posted on: November 27th, 2002 | Leave Comment