Rust Belt towns across the upper Midwest
are on the verge of oblivion, their economies hallowed out by
technological innovation and globalization. Yet many are not ready to
give up on blue-collar bastions like Akron, Ohio, as David Giffels’ new
Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers
is rightly being hailed as one the of the best novels in recent memory, a
deeply immersive book marked by incisive cultural observations and a
vividly descriptive prose style that is drawing comparisons to everyone
from Flaubert to Don DeLillo.
Chris Matthews is a political junkie of unyielding enthusiasm. His nightly talk show, Hardball,
has been an MSNBC staple for more than a decade, a showcase for its
irascible host’s boundless passion for politics and the importance of
good governance in the lives of everyday Americans.
If you wanted to borrow a book from a library in 18th-century America, you might run into some problems. Back then public libraries didn’t exist.
Instead, small private libraries served those who were members — mainly
upper-class citizens who could afford the annual fees.
Michael E. Keating spent 34 years as a photojournalist at The Cincinnati Enquirer,
where his vivid work gave readers views of the Queen City that could be
beautiful, troubling or revealing — sometimes all at once and almost
always imbued with an uncommon sense of humanity.
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.
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
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