Tag: Books

The Pioneering Morality of Raven Leilani’s Luster

But beneath all her analytical intelligence, Edie is a traumatized narrator. So when she meets Akila, a slightly miserable girl wearing a pink Party City wig who needs her adoptive parents to maintain a stable household more than Edie needs them for her own entertainment, it represents the intrusion of reality into the protagonist’s fantasy. […]

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How the GOP Became the Party of Resentment

Few have done more than Perlstein to help cement that interpretation of the decade. His first book, Before the Storm, began the story with a thickly descriptive examination of Goldwater’s consequential loss in the presidential contest of 1964. Goldwater, the scion of a prominent Arizona family, had inherited a department-store fortune. He hated Franklin Roosevelt […]

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Lovecraft Country Blends Pulpy Horror and Family Drama Into a Story About America’s Demons

Jonathan Majors as Atticus Free and Jurnee Smollett as Letitia “Leti” Lewis.Image: HBO io9 ReviewsReviews and critical analyses of fan-favorite movies, TV shows, comics, books, and more. HBO’s Lovecraft Country is a story about its heroes fighting for their lives as they make their way across 1950s America. It’s also a multifaceted family drama that […]

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The Helpless Outrage of the Anti-Trump Book

The Toddler In Chief: What Donald Trump Teaches Us About the Modern Presidency by Daniel W. Drezner Buy on Bookshop University of Chicago Press, 272 pp., $15.00 Drezner’s The Toddler In Chief: What Donald Trump Teaches Us About the Modern Presidency exemplifies the kind of smug, ironic distance that marks many of these books. A […]

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What I Learned From the Worst Novelist in the English Language

Fatefully—some might even say tragically—Burrows accepted the offer. As you might expect, the review was a hatchet job, one that would make today’s most dexterous knife-wielders—Patricia Lockwood, say, or Andrea Long Chu—stand up for unbridled applause. Strafing his way from one literary offense to the next, Weingarten lampooned the book’s premise (“you write very badly”) […]

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Learning to Pivot in 2020

For once, I don’t feel I’m being dramatic when I say it’s been a lot. And since I have a history of General Anxiety Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and Depression, I fully expected to be cracking under the strain by now. But somehow… I’m not. And I think that might have at least a little […]

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The Never Trumpers Have Already Won

Exceptionally close to the Never Trump insurgency, Saldin and Teles take a cozy approach to their study of this movement and its central characters, faithfully drawing on their accounts of the rise of Trump. They start with the national security experts—figures such as former National Security Council staffers Peter Feaver and Philip Zelikow. Officially, this […]

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The Cyclical Psychology of White Supremacy

Through documentary evidence, interviews with living descendants of the massacre’s survivors, and almost novelistic meditation on the meaning of it all, Ball characterizes P.C. as a petty and disappointed man, outshone by his more successful brothers and embittered by the financial loss abolition had brought him. Ball writes predominantly in the present tense, making us […]

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Charlie Kaufman’s Defense of Film

Charlie Kaufman is best known as the writer of Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, co-author of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (for which he won an Oscar), writer-director of Synecdoche, New York, and co-director of the animated feature film, Anomalisa (for which he won a second Oscar). Kaufman’s films are not populated by slick, polished […]

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Between Thomas Chatterton Williams and Me

I bring up my experience of fatherhood because it is so similar to an experience that forms the premise of Thomas Chatterton Williams’s memoir, Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race. The book opens with Williams and his white wife celebrating the birth of their daughter Marlow, which shakes the very foundations of his self-conception […]

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The Problem With Putinology

Useful in understanding Putin’s rise to power, Putin’s People is also an impediment to understanding much else about the country that he rules. Belton capably chronicles the ensuing two decades of Putin’s rule, a tale of authoritarianism gradually consolidated. There were the “liberal-seeming economic reforms of Putin’s first term” buoyed by rising oil prices, a […]

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Donald Trump Has Permanently Changed the Publishing Industry

Since 2017, a great number of bestsellers have been published about President Trump. Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, published in early 2018, has sold several million copies. (Its less splashy sequel, Siege, was also a bestseller the following year, though it lagged far behind its predecessor.) Bob Woodward’s Fear sold 1.1 million copies its first […]

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Book No One Should Buy Alleges Trump Made Racist Remarks About Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela

Photo: Win McNamee (Getty Images) I know you’re gonna find this hard to believe but, there’s a book coming out from someone who worked with Trump for years that outlines Trump’s corruption, lies and racist statements. And, according to a manuscript not obtained by The Root, the upcoming tell-all also contains the shocking revelations that […]

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Niece Suggests Trump Has Routinely Used The N-Word And Anti-Semitic Slurs

Throughout the few highs and too-many-to-count downs of what’s been a very unpredictable year, one single constant has remained: Donald Trump‘s racism. And so it only follows that his niece, fresh off the release of her bombshell tell-all about her uncle, provided a racist addendum of sorts when she suggested on Thursday night that Trump […]

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The Truth About Trump’s Evangelical Support

The modern evangelical movement was born in the late nineteenth century at a moment of tremendous turmoil. Americans were recovering from the horrors of the Civil War and the conflicts over Reconstruction, struggling through turbulent economic contractions, wrestling with the impact of massive immigration, and confronting novel ideas about the evolution of humans from monkeys. […]

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Donald Trump Jr. Wages a Culture War on the Publishing Industry

Those decisions have come under intense scrutiny from employees and authors, and faced public pressure campaigns and boycotts. It seems, as I wrote last month, only a matter of time before the decision to publish a book from a prominent right-wing author will lead to a staff revolt, as happened when Hachette announced that it would be […]

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The Pioneers of the Misinformation Industry

As Breit­bart’s awe for Limbaugh demonstrates, today’s right-wing media did not come out of nowhere. Two new books promise to uncover its prehistory and the widespread sense that it has broken American reality. Claire Bond Potter’s Political Junkies tracks the rise of a broad swath of what she calls “alternative media”—both left and right—since the […]

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The Great Germ War Cover-Up

There is something about scouring classified documents for long-hidden military secrets that attracts a certain type of obsessive. Nicholson Baker, who once wrote a 147-page essay tracking an archaic use of the word lumber through centuries of Anglophone literature, is that type. He somersaulted onto the literary scene in 1988 with The Mezzanine, a heavily […]

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Mary Trump Diagnoses the President

The women of the house—the matriarch Mary Trump and her daughters, Maryanne and Elizabeth—were confined to gender roles that were rigid even for the 1950s. The three boys—Fred Jr., Donald, and Robert—had to fend for themselves in an environment not unlike The Lord of the Flies. Enamored with the prosperity gospel, Fred Trump Sr. drilled […]

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The Shallowness of the Self-Aware Novelist

If these names are virtually interchangeable, then so are the characters themselves. Julia and Leslie are all but identical: attractive, “laid back” (my scare quotes), adept at clever banter. Ditto the men: attractive enough (though tending toward chubbiness), “chill,” adept at clever flirtation. All the characters, even the minor ones, are like this. They have […]

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The American Obsession With Conspiracy Theories, Explained

The Unidentified Colin Dickey Buy on Bookshop Viking, 320pp., $27.00. Dickey is not interested in debunking such stories, or in solving them. He seeks instead “to understand their genealogy: where they come from and how they came to take root in popular culture.” Every conspiracy theory or cryptid creature is the “result of two great […]

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Monopolies Make Their Own Rules

Teachout’s thesis is provocative and simple: that monopolistic corporations operate a despotic parallel governmental system. Teachout’s thesis is provocative and simple: that monopolistic corporations operate a despotic parallel governmental system, or as she writes in her refreshingly brusque style, “monopoly is tyranny.” It is a system of coercive, private power that rivals, and often surpasses, […]

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What Woodrow Wilson Did to Robert Smalls

Smalls’s house in Beaufort, South Carolina, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Library of Congress Smalls founded the South Carolina Republican Party in 1867 and, in 1868, joined 71 Black delegates to the state convention that ratified the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In that same convention, Smalls and his fellow Black […]

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Trump’s Extraordinary Gift for Self-Sabotage

This narrative has also been deployed repeatedly as a shield by Trump’s defenders, particularly since he took office. When the president said something offensive, they would note that the president was simply doing what he does best. Asked why the president suggested at a 2019 political rally that recently deceased former Democratic Congressman John Dingell […]

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Searching for Consolation in Max Weber’s Work Ethic

Charisma and Disenchantment: The Vocation Lectures Max Weber Buy on Bookshop New York Review of Books, 176 pp., $15.95 Modern invocations of the work ethic are usually misreadings: The Protestant Ethic was more lament than celebration. Weber sought to narrate the arrival of what had become a no-longer-questioned assumption: that our duty was to labor […]

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