RaveThe Boston GlobeI shouldn’t be surprised that Jones manages to carry her originality, intimacy, and volcanic expressiveness into book form. Everything about this artist speaks of facing challenges—a peripatetic and potholed childhood, a high-risk hippie youth searching for belonging, a nagging addiction problem—and, ultimately and knowingly, triumphing ... an impassioned and cinematic trip through Jones’s eventful life ... It is a vivid trip ... Jones also conveys, with unblinking and judicial honesty, her fierce, moody mother, her defiant older sister, and her older brother Danny, whose motorcycle accident leaves him, like two other men in her family, with only one leg. In the early sections of the memoir, I wondered if Jones was dodging self-examination by focusing on her family history—until it becomes clear that Jones is revealing herself through them; the Jones family stories, steeped in American optimism and failure, are indeed about her own burdens ... Fortunately, in the process of giving context and clues to so many of her songs, Jones never robs them of mystery. In a way, the book, which is filled with many of the syntactic idiosyncrasies and the jokiness of her lyrics, only adds breadth to her mythology.
RaveThe Boston Globe... beautifully written ... Leave it to Phair, who doesn’t tend to conform to expectations – of gender, of rock ‘n’ roll, of sexuality, of truthfulness – to build a narrative on her own terms, as a series of seemingly random vignettes from early childhood to adulthood that double as painfully honest emotional revelations ... Phair slips in the objective facts of her life — that she and her brother were adopted, that her marriage broke up after she had an affair — only as they relate to the tale at hand, in service of the greater points she’s making. She also changes the names of her exes. She’s mapping out her psychic grid, not the specific neighborhood of her childhood or the roots of her family or the particulars of her love life ... don’t expect a ton of alternative rock dish and tour partying deets, past or present ... one of the lovely things about Horror Stories is Phair’s inclination to own her own mistakes and naivete ... you might not expect the way Phair delivers sex and the rest of her world to us this time out, with equal parts elegance, humor, and authenticity.
RaveThe Boston Globe...[a] terrific biography ... I’m not saying that Robin is a bummer, by any means, or that it’s just another tears-of-a-clown story. Itzkoff’s a better writer than that, and he gives us a man whose life was a series of triumphs and tragedies, addiction and sobriety, marriage and infidelity, depression and stability ... an artfully shaped, fact-filled book that honors the truth of his life.
RaveThe Boston GlobeThat well-known narrative, capped by the angry political Joni who challenged but never alienated her loyal listeners, is essentially the outline of David Yaffe’s new biography, Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell ...a pleasant journey through the handed-down tales we’ve already heard, peppered with a few perhaps lesser-known vignettes... This portrait doesn’t try to be definitive or challenging; it’s comfort food for fans who can’t get enough of her brilliant career ... The more original and inquisitive material in Reckless Daughter is Yaffe’s literary analysis of each Mitchell album... The book ends in 2015, when Mitchell suffers an aneurism and lies unconscious on her kitchen floor for three days.
RaveThe Boston GlobeIf you’ve read Eileen Myles before, you know that her new book is surely not going to be Marley & Me or The Art of Racing in the Rain. You’ll laugh, and you’ll cry, yes, but you’ll also think hard, as you work to pull together the many disparate, cosmic, and charming notions Myles sets forth ... Afterglow is a challenging read that spirals up into big and little thoughts all inspired by her beloved companion, bringing in seemingly unrelated topics along the way such as the 'self-war' of Kurt Cobain, libraries, gender identity, Abu Ghraib, George W. Bush’s farts, and, at some length, sea foam ... Myles writes that she doesn’t want to stop talking to Rosie, that she has written the book, she says, 'to keep talking to her.' Luckily for us, we can eavesdrop on that long, wry, far-flung, and wonderfully loving conversation.
PositiveThe Boston GlobeThe Leftovers represents his go at science fiction, as he invents a Rapture-like event in order to explore the fallout on the survivors – specifically the family of Kevin Garvey, the mayor of Mapleton. But it’s a gentle, Perrotta-esque go at sci-fi, without any mangled bodies or bombed-out buildings; it’s a realistic novel built on a supernatural foundation … Some families lost many; others lost none. No algorithm emerged, although many survivors - the leftovers of the title - still struggle to find one … Kevin walks through all this upheaval with a mild sense of denial. His optimism is both appealing and frustrating … Perrotta’s tone is plainspoken, elegiac, and universal, not incendiary.
RaveThe Boston Globe[T]he haunting Sweet Lamb of Heaven is nothing like the marital-discord novels that might arrive bearing somewhat similar descriptions — a twisty thriller such as Gone Girl, say, or a fraught romance by Luanne Rice. It’s nothing like them at all and nothing like most literary novels. It’s a rare thing, a semi-experimental narrative, and, thanks to Millet’s precisely elliptical language, it’s a rare pleasure to read.
PanThe Boston GlobeBrooks has humanized the king and cleverly added a modern perspective to our understanding of him. But as a sustained chronicle, The Secret Chord is wanting.
RaveThe Boston Globe[Brownstein] gives us a sharp, unromanticized portrait of her restless soul, one for whom 'home' is an elusive psychic state. Titled after a rich line in the Sleater-Kinney song 'Modern Girl,' the book is perceptive, unblinking, and intelligently written.