RaveThe Philadelphia Inquirer... so lacerating, so appalling you often can’t believe what you’re reading. I hope this powerful book helps preserve this bad memory for a long time ... Zucchino is your ideal guide. The Pulitzer Prize-winner and former Inquirer staffer is a tireless, resourceful reporter, an incisive social analyst, and a direct, often elegant writer ... Zucchino skillfully builds suspense as the insurrection is coordinated and manned ... The middle third of the book covers a few days when the streets brim with blood; it’s so well told, so eloquently illustrated, that it seems to take only minutes to read ... Wilmington 1898 may seem like an exaggerated case, an outlier, a jungle spasm in an otherwise well-ordered democracy. Read Wilmington’s Lie, though, and you may come to see it as more like America than unlike.
RavePopMatters...I don\'t think I\'ve ever read — or ever held — anything like Anne Carson\'s Nox ... What saves Nox from being precious, from overdoing it, striking a pose that, while very moving, is finally ingenuine? Of course, a sister grieves for her brother — but she doesn\'t always create such a cathedral to her grief. And there\'s an irony to grief: It\'s one of life\'s most piercing things, yet it\'s not special ..Nox is saved by its painful, authentic uneasiness with itself. Again, the accordion-action of the book guarantees that we, as readers, stay off-balance as the pages pull in a couple of directions at once ... There is — as in much of Carson\'s poetry — a classical distance from shattering sorrow ... Nox looks and reads like memory ... True, this book — which you can read in less than an hour but will take a life to absorb — takes risks, gambles with exposure. It literally shows us family snapshots. Yet, it also suggests an austere but powerful hope, the kind you can\'t know unless you\'ve been through loss like Carson\'s: Nox reminds us that where we cannot understand, we can still love.
RaveThe Philadelphia Inquirer[Schjeldhal] is a practicing poet, and the poet’s specificity and clarity are his biggest assets. He’s also witty, and mostly, or at least usually, without the unearned hauteur that so many art critics seem obliged to assume ... One glory of this book is the way Schjeldahl writes about female artists. Essays on Neel, Laura Owens, and Laura Harrison are among the book’s best ... The best single thing in this book is The Ghent Altarpiece, in which Schjeldahl discusses the elaborate efforts to preserve and protect the masterwork (thought to be largely by Jan van Eyck), and in which he rises to some of his best description of \'hands that touch and grip with tangible pressures, masses of hair given depth and definition by a few highlighted strands.\' He then adds: \'Overall, the pictures generate a sweet and mighty visual music.\' Much the same is true of this gorgeously yet precisely written collection.
RaveThe Philadelphia InquirerLike nothing else in the newspaper, [these essays] burst with awareness of the things of nature, awareness that our lives are led in that midst, permeated with and part of the natural world. All is written with an open, joyful, yet steady voice of wonder ... [Renkl] may not know the science (although she knows the names of birds and plants with precision) but she knows the glory. That’s what poets do: They enact the impact of the real on our open minds and call on us to share the wonder ... The book, although it covers many emotions, owns the hush of high summer ... Margaret Renkl is the most sensible of spiritual writers. She’s not going to fool herself about the world. Late Migrations sings, nevertheless, the best praise we can offer, praise that need not be pinned down to any single doctrine or teaching. She finds the whole world holy and is moved to praise at every turn. That’s enough to warm a lifetime of summers.
RaveThe Philadelphia InquirerOne of the many fine things about the work of Clive Thompson, on the other hand, is his gusty pleasure in our moment ... He likes coders—people who create computer code for a living—and is fascinated by their stories of how they discovered coding, what it’s like to code, and the wonderfully weird and weirdly wonderful world they have helped build ... Anthropologist Clifford Geertz would have admired his thick description of the conditions and structures within which people and machines interact. Never, however, does Thompson lose the personal touch. An avalanche of profiles, stories, quips, and anecdotes in this beautifully reported book returns us constantly to people, their stories, their hopes and thrills and disappointments ... the technical aspect never overwhelms Coders. Rather, it’s the background program for the book, a productive global purr that lets everything happen ... All is not light. Everyone should read Chapter 8, \'Hackers, Crackers, and Freedom Fighters,\' which tackles the ambiguous moral and ethical areas where coders, often outright and proudly, run afoul of the law. It’s superb ... Fun to read, this book knows its stuff and makes it fun to learn.
RavePhiladelphia InquirerThis beautiful book — compact yet flowing, lovingly translated by Charlotte Collins, understated yet passionate — brings German author Benedict Wells, only 35, front and center among world writers ... When you reach the last words and set the book reluctantly down (you don’t want to leave the world it has woven), you have suffered and lost again and again, and you are smiling ... The End of Loneliness joins the world literature of solitude, including titles such as Gabriel García Márquez’s Hundred Years of Solitude, William Faulkner’s Light in August, Carson McCullers’ The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man ... Although certainly an emotional novel, The End of Loneliness is not sentimental ... Which is why I marvel at The End of Loneliness. Underneath its steady flow, there is a bedrock of kindness, of belief in the power of those we love to bear us up.
RaveThe Philadelphia Inquirer... a movie of the mind ... Ferlinghetti lets it rip, going where he will go, in unpunctuated free-association pages of literary allusions, curmudgeonly grumbles, wisdom, and outbursts of beautiful language ... Especially ineffable, especially bravura is a passage beginning \'Oh Endless.\' It runs for pages and is by itself worth the price of the book ... a hymn of love to life, which seems so big and permanent to us who live it, and does contain, for Ferlinghetti, the \'crystal moments,\' sweetest of the sweet, best of the best. All I can say is, Little Boy done good and is still doing it.
Leila Slimani Trans. by Sam Taylor
PositivePhiladelphia Inquirer\"Adèle joins several grand French traditions. Its clean, affectless prose may recall Camus. (A gifted stylist, Slimani can pack a sneaky wallop when she wants.) ... The best I can say? Adèle is a skillfully turned novel that gives us nothing we expect. Clearly, this is intentional, and clearly, this is brave. It may be an interesting interrogation of those expectations. It’s not a fun read, though, or a world I want to be in. It is a tale of misery. It may tell us most of all about ourselves and the limits of our tolerance.\
Karl Ove Knausgaard, Trans. by Ingvild Burkey
RaveThe InquirerIn essays like these, subjects glow in the light of fierce attention ... His view is existentialist and tragic; many essays end with a reminder of death ... Yet he can become transfixed with the glory of the everyday, the wordless eloquence of landscape, sky colors at sunset, the hills of Norway. Such near-ecstatic homage pulls against his insistent darkness ... Also pervading Summer is art, what it is, why it is crucial. The diary entry for June 7, 2016, meditates on literary art, why art must be ruthless, tell the truth no matter how we feel about it (as Knausgaard tries to do here). Utterly remarkable, this passage could be a mini-primer for a course on literature ... Although there will be much that saddens and disturbs, Little Anne may well grow up grateful for this record of a father\'s world and soul.
RavePhiladelphia Inquirer\"These are sonnets, all right — but no poet in any other age could have written them like this ... Stringent but flexible, strong but not strained, Hayes\' poems are crammed with passages that resound long after reading ... [American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin gives] us a singular, cherishable voice that commands music, history, and language.\
Karl Ove Knausgaard, Trans. by by Ingvild Burkey
RaveThe Inquirer\"As we read, we realize the purpose behind Autumn, Winter, Spring, and, this summer, Summer. Knausgaard writes in a desperate bid to throw his daughter a lifeline, well before she even needs one. You go back, reread those tender, intense books, return to Spring, and see: This man is writing to save his daughter\'s life.\
Karl Ove Knausgaard, Trans. by Ingvild Burkey
RaveThe Philadelphia Inquirer\"The fascination of Winter lies in watching where the sizzling gunpowder trail of the Knausgaard mind goes. It\'s often unpredictable, profound, sometimes wryly humorous. It\'s also wintry, in tone and content ... His essays, too, are often wild rides that end breathless and alive.\
Elizabeth Hardwick, selected by Darryl Pinckney
RaveThe Philadelphia InquirerReaders will enjoy her tilts at Melville (‘Bartleby in Manhattan’ is one of the century's best literary essays), Edith Wharton, and Philip Roth. Essayists could seek for a lifetime and not find a better model … This is a great night-table book, to read cover to cover or to dip into, to see what Hardwick thought of Frost, Henry James, or Solzhenitsyn, or to follow a mind reaching out to extend its understanding and ours.
Karl Ove Knausgaard, Trans. by Ingvild Burkey
RaveThe Philadelphia Inquirer\"Summer ends with one of the sweetest reading surprises of the year. Autumn is a sweeping, 10-to-4 curveball, something unexpected, tender, intense, and persuasive, an ideal gesture to a moment of equipoise before winter, with pulses of joy, perplexity, and valediction ... Like autumn, each essay holds you; each goes by too quickly. This summer, I haven\'t been able to lie on a beach and read. If I could, though, I\'d lie on the beach and read Autumn. Whether on the sand, on a mountaintop, in Venice, in bed, among falling leaves, on a city street, or in any quiet pause, I encourage you to spend your autumn reading it.\
RaveThe Philadelphia Inquirer...one of the best books of the year ... Author Michael Tisserand is great on the New Orleans of Herriman's birth. And he wants to tell this life through the lens of race...Krazy Kat transcends all, and Tisserand's book lets go of the race issue after a while - just for the story. It's one of the best true stories told in 2016.