Tim Gunn (with Ada Calhoun): Gunn’s Golden Rules

I’m probably waaay over thinking my reaction to Gunn’s Golden Rules. I was entertained and amused, even a little bit edified. But it still strikes me as an odd, even inconsistent book. Presumably the draw for most fans of Project Runway‘s congenial but incisive mentor figure Tim Gunn (certainly for me) is the promise ofContinue reading “Tim Gunn (with Ada Calhoun): Gunn’s Golden Rules”

Seth Greenland: Shining City

I think the marketing of Shining City does it a mild disservice — it’s positioned as a story in which a more-or-less normal guy inherits a small business from his estranged brother that is not what it at first seems. Really, it’s a story about a more-or-less normal guy whose life is repeatedly jostled outContinue reading “Seth Greenland: Shining City”

Tanya Egan Gibson: How to Buy a Love of Reading

How to Buy a Love of Reading is hard to pigeonhole, since it combines disparate elements and themes: there’s the more-or-less naturalistic coming-of-age story of chronic underachiever Carley Wells, some generalized satire of New York’s upper crust, and some more specific satire of trends in literature-with-the-second-syllable-elided. These facets are drawn together when Carley’s dad commissionsContinue reading “Tanya Egan Gibson: How to Buy a Love of Reading”

Glen David Gold, Sunnyside

On the whole I liked Glen David Gold’s Sunnyside, even if I’m not quite sure what to make of it. It shares only superficial similarities with Gold’s debut novel, Carter Beats the Devil: like the earlier book it seamlessly blends historical and invented characters in a story fully of derring-do, heartbreak, and coincidence-fueled plot twists.Continue reading “Glen David Gold, Sunnyside”

Neil Gaiman: Coraline

I loved the film Coraline although I expected not to (I’m not a Nightmare Before Christmas fan). I started reading Coraline the novel expecting additional richness and strangeness that had not fit into the film, and instead discovered that with one interesting (and somewhat controversial) exception, Coraline the film is one of the most faithfulContinue reading “Neil Gaiman: Coraline”

Martin H. Greenberg and John Helfers (eds); Slipstreams

Pretty much ever since the genres science fiction, fantasy, and horror have existed as distinct marketing categories, there have been periodic movements seeking to un-define them as such. In the 60’s there was “The New Wave.” In the 80’s some bruited about the awkward, demi-hemispherist phrase “North American magical realism.” And more recently, an unrulyContinue reading “Martin H. Greenberg and John Helfers (eds); Slipstreams”

Marcus Gray: The Last Gang in Town

I found Gray’s enormous, dense history of The Clash mostly fascinating, but the obviousness of Gray’s authorial agendas bugged me. The book is subtitled “The Story and Myth of the Clash,” and Gray spends a lot of effort looking for the points of divergence between the (hi)story and the myth of the band. He providesContinue reading “Marcus Gray: The Last Gang in Town”

John MacLachlan Gray: The Fiend In Human

I think the first time my friend Marty and I had a conversation about books, he said something like “I read classic literature [which gave us substantial common ground] and thrillers about serial killers.” [which didn’t much increase it] and he expressed a distinct lack of fondness for modern “serious” fiction. We’ve spent plenty ofContinue reading “John MacLachlan Gray: The Fiend In Human”

Malcolm Gladwell: Blink

[editorial note: this review/essay/whatever was originally published as three separate entities over the course of a month.] surprise benefits of pseudo-vegetarianism I’ve been reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink in fits and starts over the past two months — it’s on the library’s short-term loan list, so I request it, read as much as I can beforeContinue reading “Malcolm Gladwell: Blink”