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Surf bored

Little virtue in Pynchon's Inherent Vice
Paranoia isn't what it used to be — not for Thomas Pynchon, at any rate.
By: PETER KEOUGH  |  July 28, 2009


Extreme Reads

The Phoenix beach-reading four-pack delivers sex, drugs, and rock and role — plus black-market human organs!
Reading on the beach is a rite of summer as treasured as slathering on globs of coconut oil and squatting in front of a tanning mirror. Of course, five out of five dermatologists recommend that you read this special collection of book excerpts indoors — but that’s where we decided to draw the line.
By: PHOENIX STAFF  |  July 22, 2009


The End of the Long Summer

Why we must remake our civilization to survive on a volatile Earth
In this nonfiction treatise about global warming and other ecological dangers, the author details why our environment is in much worse shape than we thought. In this excerpt, Dianne Dumanoski notes that, far from taming Mother Nature, our factories and habits have only enraged her, which could lead to Earth's inability to sustain life. In other words, we're all gonna die — enjoy your summer!
By: DIANNE DUMANOSKI  |  July 22, 2009


Larry's Kidney

Being the true story of how I found myself in China with my black-sheep cousin and his mail-order bride, skirting the law to get him a transplant — and save his life
In this nonfiction account pretty accurately described by the book's subtitle, Daniel Asa Rose accompanies his nebbishy but mobbed-up relative on a mission for a Chinese two-fer: to get the organ he desperately needs and — why not, as long as we're here? — a wife, to boot. In this excerpt, the author first hears about his cousin's dubious — and, according to Chinese law, illegal — plan.
By: DANIEL ASA ROSE  |  July 22, 2009


It Feels So Good When I Stop

In this excerpt, the protagonist recalls his post-college years, in which he worked a crappy job at a restaurant owned by a racist.
In the winter of 1994, I graduated from UMass after four and a half years with a BA in English. I did pretty average; a lot worse than I might have done if I had given the tiniest of fucks about school. I decided to dick around until the summer and not think about my limited prospects, my withering University Health Insurance, and the looming crush of student-loan repayment.
By: JOE PERNICE  |  July 22, 2009


The Accidental Billionaires

The founding of Facebook: A tale of sex, money, genius, and betrayal
In this nonfiction account of the Harvard origins of the social-networking phenomenon, the author boils down the essence of why Facebook — orginially called thefacebook — was created and the root of its power: nerds obsessing over sex. In this excerpt, undergrads Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg begin to realize that Facebook is indeed their golden ticket.
By: BEN MEZRICH  |  July 22, 2009


The Market Messiah

How Sam Walton changed America
Many Americans feel as if they'd been living helplessly amid the handiwork of extraterrestrials, as if a spaceship had suddenly blown in and zapped the landscape with suburban sprawl while sucking up middle-class wages in exchange for low-paid service work.
By: CATHERINE TUMBER  |  July 07, 2009


K is for clown

The lighter side of global annihilation
The lighter side of global annihilation
By: CLIF GARBODEN  |  June 30, 2009


Newman's own

Mainstream life, good read
Among Shawn Levy's books is one of my favorite film bios, King of Comedy , with crazy-guy Jerry Lewis, so show-off goofy and schmaltzy, spilling all on every exuberant, excessive page.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  June 24, 2009


Endurance Reads

Summer-Book Therapy Sessions
Beach reading . The very phrase is abhorrent to book lovers, connoting as it does cheap paperbacks, tumescent with air-dried seawater and crunchy with sand, paragraph after paragraph of poorly written pulp meant to be read as fast as the passing of summer itself.
By: MIKE MILIARD  |  June 17, 2009



Michael Stein Examines The Addict
Providence author and physician Michael Stein has an uncanny ability to make a medical case history read like a novel in his newest book, The Addict (William Morrow, 288 pages, $26). It's not only that he makes us care about the patients whose lives he describes; it's also that he puts himself into the narrative.
By: JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ  |  June 16, 2009

Review: Bad Cop

Life as one of NYPD's not-so-finest
Title a book Bad Cop and brain-basher types like Harvey Keitel and Ray Liotta spring to mind.
By: AMY FINCH  |  June 05, 2009


Full shelf

The best in summer reading
Hot town, summer in the city. . . . or in the country. . . . or at the beach. Wherever you are, don't forget your books.
By: BARBARA HOFFERT  |  June 08, 2009

sarah list

Love and friendship (Rhode Island-style)

An excerpt from Sarah Rainone's new novel, Love Will Tear Us Apart , in which six friends let the music do the talking
Cort is whispering something to me but she's trying to be all respectful or whatever so I can't make out what she's saying.
By: SARAH RAINONE  |  May 22, 2009

Interview: Sarah Rainone

Welcome to Galestown, RI
Sarah Rainone on growing up in Cranston and getting in touch with her inner author.
By: LOU PAPINEAU  |  May 21, 2009


River song

A lyrical turn in the South
Tim Gautreaux writes of a South that never changes. Dense, humid, with a fecundity that is more than a match for any human development, his South is largely a no man's land where the trees close off the sky, their roots rise "from the soppy mud like stalagmites," and the calm is broken only by the "stout windings of water moccasins."
By: CLEA SIMON  |  May 13, 2009


Bad girls

Mary Gaitskill carries on
People tend to make much of what they think of as Mary Gaitskill's fictional realm, a place of sexual transgression, of violence, violation, rape, and sado-masochism, and her female characters, the violated, the used, the users.
By: DANA KLETTER  |  April 28, 2009


Review: The Rocket that Fell to Earth

Roger Clemens's fall and rise and fall
On July 18, 1992, in a celebrated post-game meltdown at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, the pitcher formerly known as the Rocket expressed his displeasure over a column I had written.
By: GEORGE KIMBALL  |  April 01, 2009


Review: The Kindly Ones

Inside the Reich
Those put off by the soft-pedaling of the SS in the movie adaptation of Bernhard Schlink's The Reader might be wary of Jonathan Littell's memoir of fictional war criminal Maximilien Aue.
By: PETER KEOUGH  |  March 11, 2009


Review: Lark and Termite

Total immersion
"Language Immersion" is the name of a program set up by the US Army in Korea just prior to the North's invasion of the South.
By: PETER KEOUGH  |  January 29, 2009
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