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J.D. Salinger: 1919 - 2010

In Memoriam
J.D. Salinger was 91 when he died in his New Hampshire home on January 27, 45 years after he published his last known story, "Hapworth 16, 1924," in the New Yorker .
By: STEVE VINEBERG  |  February 05, 2010


Small wonders

Quirks of Literature Dept.
The books — a quartet of them, each five-by-five, smaller than a CD case — feel like treasures, handsome little volumes, a different gem of a story in each.
By: NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  February 03, 2010


Review: Patti Smith's Just Kids

The small prophecies of Patti Smith
How do you get to be the Godmother of Punk? Pure dumb luck, for starters.
By: CARRIE BATTAN  |  February 08, 2010


A painful case

Patricia Highsmith's ultimate mystery
Is it living in a wishy-washy culture of sheepish PBS humanism and numbing political correctness that makes the nasty, psychopathic amorality — no, immorality! — of Patricia Highsmith's novels so savory and appealing?
By: GERALD PEARY  |  February 02, 2010


Power of place

Exploring a New England ghost town in person, and on the page
I'd arranged the trip (Dogtown is about an hour and a half south of Portland) because I was planning to write about Elyssa East's new book, Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town.
By: DEIRDRE FULTON  |  January 29, 2010


God of love

Amy Bloom once more into the breach
Amy Bloom is known for her psychological acuity, especially as it bears on the subject of love. In her new collection, Where the God of Love Hangs Out , her characters — often very knowing — are nonetheless surprised by the undertow.
By: SUSAN CHAMANDY  |  January 19, 2010


Searching for Stephen King

A new biography presents facts but not a full story
In 1983, Doubleday published yet another book from the increasingly renowned Stephen King, whose Carrie and The Shining (to name just two) were already popular books and movies.
By: DEIRDRE FULTON  |  January 13, 2010


The art of horror

A coffee table book that might scare you awake
While Lisa Rogak's Stephen King biography might be labeled "for fans only," it's unclear whether Knowing Darkness: Artists Inspired by Stephen King should carry the same marker.
By: DEIRDRE FULTON  |  January 13, 2010


Scientology defector tells all

Many's Rivers to Cross Dept.
If every last allegation that Church of Scientology (CoS) defector Nancy Many charges in My Billion Year Contract is true, then her book should inspire several FBI raids and a Lifetime mini-series to rival any Charles Manson documentary.
By: CHRIS FARAONE  |  January 13, 2010


Photos: Stephen King-inspired artwork

  Images from Knowing Darkness: Artists Inspired by Stephen King
Artwork from Stephen King's novel covers and more
By: CENTIPEDE PRESS  |  January 14, 2010


Makes sense to him

John Ashbery's Planisphere
So understood is John Ashbery's post at the top of the contemporary American poetry heap (a distinction these days with the cultural heft of a Scrabble championship) that the question of just how to read him seems doomed to languish beside the point. Detractors need only a pillow and a trusty alarm clock to approach Ashbery.
By: MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  January 12, 2010


Interview: Don Lattin

Cracking Harvard's 'psychedelic club'
"This is like the founding myth of the '60s counterculture, even though there was a lot of truth to it."
By: CHRIS FARAONE  |  January 13, 2010


Remembering Joey Ramone

Long Live Rock Dept.
On top of everything else that was a drag about the decade just past, there was this: in a three-and-a-half-year span, we lost three quarters of the Ramones. And then CBGB closed.
By: MIKE MILIARD  |  January 08, 2010


Interview: Raj Patel

Borrow his book
"The opposite of consumption is not thrift but generosity; if you look at happiness studies, we are happiest when we give things away rather than when we accumulate or when we don't spend."
By: CHRIS FARAONE  |  December 30, 2009


Booked solid

A hefty season of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry
The holidays are over — time to hit the books.
By: BARBARA HOFFERT  |  January 04, 2010


2009: Rants of the Right

Going where few reviewers dare to tread.
Few "respectable" publications were willing to review the year's top-selling conservative books, but the Phoenix has no fear. After wading through 2500 or so pages of right-wing ravings, your brave correspondent reports back with the following analyses.
By: DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  December 22, 2009


Reading is fundamentalist

Conservative screeds dominated the book charts this year. Will future election results follow the bestseller lists?
In 2009, liberals held firm control of the presidency, the US Senate, and the US House of Representatives. But there was one realm where conservatives dominated: the New York Times bestseller list.
By: DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  December 22, 2009


2009: The year in books

True stories - fact and fiction
Here, listed alphabetically by author, are 10 of the best books the Phoenix reviewed in 2009.
By: JON GARELICK  |  December 22, 2009


Book Review: The Tin Drum

Günter Grass and Tin Drum 2
There are — and have always been — two Günter Grasses. There's the Grass who was born in Danzig and the Grass who was born in Gdansk.
By: JEFFREY GANTZ  |  December 15, 2009


Fast and loose

Robert Altman's movie life
You're a cocky film-school grad with a drawer full of socko screenplays and Hollywood ambitions. But it's all California dreamin', as you're shivering in New England, cutting public-service announcements and digitizing educational videos, your only brush with the studios those Netflix rentals.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  December 09, 2009


Updike does death, R. Crumb does God, Vanity Fair does Proust

Gift books to savor
Trying to reach as broad a range of tastes and pocketbooks as possible, we this year scavenged everything from the front pages of the Onion to R. Crumb's genesis, to valedictory Updike. Stuff to read, stuff to look at, glossy pages and matte. Remember: be careful not to nick the pages or spill eggnog on them before you wrap. Happy holidays!
By: PHOENIX STAFF  |  December 08, 2009

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