Monthly Archives: November 2011

Great Gonzo: ‘Let It Blurt’

If you saw the semi-autobiographical film “Almost Famous,” chances are you recall Philip Seymour Hoffman playing music critic Lester Bangs. There are a few reasons why you would remember it. For one, Hoffman is a recognizable actor in a movie … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Music, Non-Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Meaning of Life and Other Concerns: ‘The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet’

With a title like The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, you have to wonder what the book’s about. As it turns out, the real question is: What isn’t it about? Author David Mitchell’s work features a love triangle, a … Continue reading

Posted in Drama, Historical Fiction | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘The Boys of October’: The Best of Times in the Worst of Times

The mid-1970s was not a great time for America. The country, which had just gone through Watergate, Vietnam, and the dissolution of the original Bretton-Woods system, faced widespread gas shortages, high inflation, rising unemployment, and geopolitical turbulence. There was a … Continue reading

Posted in Non-Fiction, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Original Banksters: ‘The Money Men’

The first thing you need to know about Prof. H.W. Brands’ The Money Men is that the author failed. In the prologue of this book, Brands connects the individual exploits of five great American financiers (Alexander Hamilton, Nicholas Biddle, Jay … Continue reading

Posted in Non-Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Containing Multitudes: ‘The Lost Books of the Odyssey’

When I was in college, I took a course on the Biblical Gospels as history. One of the things we learned about was the existence of dozens of “Gnostic” gospels — other accounts of Jesus’ life that wound up on … Continue reading

Posted in Capital "L" Literature, Historical Fiction, Sci-Fi/Fantasy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

‘Drood’: Horrors Normal and Supernatural

I almost never reread books, because I rarely get anything new out of it. All of the characters, plot points, and themes are picked up in the first go-round, if it’s written well. And if it’s not, well, then I … Continue reading

Posted in Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment