PositivePopMattersA slender and carefully crafted work of fiction, Winter in Sokcho could easily be read in an afternoon but warrants more dedicated attention ... Because of the spareness of Dusapin’s writing, much is left for the reader to contemplate in what promises to be a rich reflection.
PositivePopMatters... written with poetic charm ... Specktor has a skill for jarring integration ... As a critic of both films and literature, Specktor has a balanced touch, lauding actors and writers deservedly but finding those accomplishments often to be in the context of lesser achievements ... . Specktor’s skill also shines as a writer who is writing about other writers—surely a challenge, yet one that Specktor takes on with an understanding of heartfelt yearning for success, appreciation, even stardom ... As each chapter is a slice of biography from a particular perspective...the stories feel somewhat incomplete. In the specificity of his detail, and his discussions of how his attention, in a state of grief, edged into obsession, which inspired research, Specktor makes clear the thoroughness of his study ... To draw the reader in, then inspire the reader to search online, to watch the films, to listen to the albums, indicates a quality book.
Anthony Bourdain and Laurie Woolever, illustrated by Wesley Allsbrook
PositivePopMattersReaders are fortunate to have Woolever organizing the strategic battle to create what has become Bourdain’s final word on travel ... The simply-rendered sketches are a rich addition, setting the tone for a diverse group of locations ... As the book undoubtedly serves as an homage to Bourdain, World Travel could have benefited from additional essays penned by his dear friends and traveling companions ... celebrates both the refined and the rugged bits of the world on their own terms, appreciated by Bourdain regardless.
PositivePopMattersIn his off-kilter adventure story/cultural history In the Land of Good Living, Kent Russell says he doesn\'t want to pander to those who filter their ideas of the Sunshine State through the absurdist lens of Florida Man memes. Yet he seldom seems to be more generous in his portrayal of his fellow Floridians ... Russell\'s writing is unfailingly descriptive and engaging when portraying scenes from Florida history ... a buddy movie narrative develops that is a counterbalance to the more serious questions about social realities discovered along the way ... If Florida is indeed the land of good living, then its goodness is particular and individual. Russell\'s narrative, with film scenes and dialog spliced in, is an engaging adventure of the strangeness of both Florida and its people.
RaveSpectrum CultureHalberstadt’s skill at rich description is double-edged: on one side, he clearly portrays the everyday life of the Soviet Union, of his childhood experiences there and in the United States. The visceral details that bring these places to life also make his stories of war and violence painfully vivid ... makes clear the links between family, nation and belonging that many take for granted ... The lessons shared here are far from unique to Halberstadt’s individual circumstances, allowing his experiences to resonate broadly across cultures, nations and identities.
RavePop Matters... alluring, descriptive prose. That Babitz\'s work is not more widely read is surprising ... She channels the glamour and enthusiasm of an online influencer, with a slight hint of disaffection that an influencer would blather about on their second channel. Babitz doesn\'t seem to have a second channel, or a backstage, except for maybe a faux backstage where she admits to things like feeling she could lose a bit of weight. But then she does, she claims, by eating only fruit and endlessly complaining to friends about it over the phone, only to emerge into the alluring LA scene, ten days later and 12 pounds lighter ... Babitz is more than a child of the \'60s. She is also \'50s glamour and \'70s glam, reflecting on the decades with her sharp eye on cultural trends and transformations. A writer\'s legacy, for good or bad, is that what they have written holds a particular moment in time. In this way, Eve Babitz is always charming. This collection does not preserve her work as a thing of the past but rather invites her influence to contemporary readers and writers alike.
PositivePop MattersOffer an unprecedented insight into the poet and his travels ... The reader who is familiar with Howl will find a similar experience in reading Ginsberg\'s journals: words and scenes rush at you like a tidal wave, leaving you immersed and breathless, then, with surprising immediacy, lift you to another scene, sometimes frantic, sometimes serene. Yet there\'s a core of Ginsberg\'s essential being that\'s always present, threading together these disparate scenarios...Since these are Ginsberg\'s journals, no editing has parsed out one aspect of his life from another. The scenes move quickly between dinner parties, walks on the beach, poetry readings, personal worries, and sex.
PositivePopMatters\"Dery provides strong and often humorous evidence that Gorey did not think of children as his audience at all, although his well-known books coincide with what Dery rightly depicts as a transformation in meaning-making about childhood in the United States ... A good portion of Born to be Posthumous is devoted to a kind of literary criticism required for an author and artist like Edward Gorey. His work is never simple and straightforward, although it creates the aura of being so ... Dery carefully renders as close to a full portrait of Gorey as possible. His insight is welcome, as is his unwillingness to make Gorey one thing or another, which simply would not do.\
RavePop MattersThe presence of celebrity in the White House and as a driving force in the political and social business of the nation is not only undeniable, it\'s ubiquitous. While I have typically laid responsibility for America\'s hyper-celebrity culture at the feet of the television series Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and the need to fill space on 24/7 cable news networks, Samantha Barbas tells another story in Confidential Confidential: The Inside Story of Hollywood\'s Notorious Scandal Magazine ... Barbas is both a historian and law professor, and these two areas of expertise serve her writing in creating a crisp, unbiased narrative. She establishes the beginnings of Confidential
PositivePopMattersThe book is written in a gentle tone, but without euphemisms, as you would hope to hear from the person who sits beside to tell you that you are going to die. Someday. That is Tisdale\'s mission, as is the mission of the \'good death\' movement ... Tisdale is as plainspoken about grief as she is about the process of moving toward death. This, too, is refreshing ... Tisdale offers some scientific evidence that grief is large and luminous.
RavePopMatters\"In weaving these stories together, Fontaine creates a binary between her body and her mother\'s body: Fontaine works to relearn the body\'s instincts and the pain of sword swallowing or fire eating, alongside her mother\'s struggles to learn new kinds of mobility after the stroke that left her unable to speak or walk. The explicit documenting of these travails of body and mind are, in fact, difficult reading due to the visceral responses inspired by Fontaine\'s descriptions ... Fontaine is so straighforward and forthcoming at the book\'s end I feel that I have already received a steady stream of postcards from her.\