With the rise of Amazon, Netflix, iTunes
and myriad other Internet-driven options, old-school brick-and-mortar
book, video and music stores are evaporating at a rapid pace. It’s a
distressing development for many of us who grew up wandering the aisles
of such places, and that isn’t just nostalgia talking.
Written with hip, smart and exquisitely brilliant prose, Marisha Pessl’s latest novel, Night Film,
is like a roller coaster ride through the haunted house at the wildest
amusement park ever built. It’s a spine-tingling journey covering
enormous territory as it delves into the deep recesses of the human
Daniel Woodrell is clearly among the best
living American writers when it comes to evoking the sights, sounds and
even the smell of the blood-soaked terrain on which most of his novels
take place. Described by some as the master of “country noir,” Woodrell
is incredibly gifted at describing small towns of the Missouri Ozarks
while also delivering pitch-perfect dialogue straight out of those
The Engraving Trade in Early Cincinnati: With a Brief Account of the Beginning of the Lithograph Trade is
a beautiful book, as it should be, given its subject matter. In the
early years of the 19th century, images
in publications were the way people saw the world beyond their own
Sisterland, the freshly minted
fourth novel by Cincinnati native Curtis Sittenfeld, centers on twin
sisters Kate and Violet, who have the unique psychic ability to see
future events, among other less vital factoids.
A deadly firefight between U.S. forces and Iraqi
insurgents is caught on video by a Fox News crew and before the eight
surviving members of Bravo Company can get back to their barracks, the
video has gone viral on the Internet.
The four English and one American gentlemen who came
together at the end of the turbulent 1960s to form the comedy troupe
known as Monty Python’s Flying Circus were highly intelligent,
well-educated, profoundly funny, incredibly creative, incessantly silly,
politically satirical, highly neurotic and explosively successful.
What first started as a community forum to
reach neighborhood children resulted in a nonprofit organization called
WordPlay, which offers a place outside the home where kids can get
tutoring and work on creative projects that aim to create confidence and
allow for positive social engagement.
Pity poor Harold Silver, the loveable protagonist in A.M. Homes’ latest and perhaps finest novel, May We Be Forgiven.
Set over the course of one nightmarish year, from one disastrous family
Thanksgiving to the next year’s “remains of the day,” Homes has cooked
up the blackest of comedies.
Less than a year ago, word began
circulating of a new “definitive” biography of Rock and Roll icon Bruce
Springsteen. These rumors were like manna from heaven for frustrated
Springsteen fans, who have been waiting for decades for this kind of
biography. And who could blame them?
Long an incisive cultural critic, a
dedicated teacher and a nimble-minded writer, Camille Paglia is known
for her polarizing opinions on everything from politics (she’s voting
Green Party this year) to pop culture (she recently confessed her love
for Real Housewives of New Jersey, which she says is a more accurate depiction of the state’s residents than The Sopranos, which she hated).
Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Diaz
is on the phone with me from Los Angeles, where he’s beginning a book
tour to mark the release of his second collection of short stories, This Is How You Lose Her, some 16 years in the making.
There’s a little red house mounted to a
wooden stand in front of Afsaneh Fowler’s home in Loveland. At first
glance, it looks like a bird feeder or a dollhouse or maybe even a
quirky mailbox. It’s actually a Little Free Library, a homemade, DIY, old-fashioned community
investment that connects neighbors, books and ideas.