PositiveThe Boston GlobeIn an elegant and searching form, Yamashita addresses letters of explanation and inquiry to Homer, to Ishi, to Vyasa, to Qohelet, 'a preacher’s kid,' raising questions of sin and forgiveness, loyalty, death and laughter, aiming a light on a dark period of American history. It’s a challenging, varied work, in moments deeply personal and impressionistic and in moments pulling back into a voice of epic omniscience.
PositiveThe Boston GlobeGilvarry is a master of the secondary character — Eastman’s exchanges with newspapermen, bigwig editors, a cop buddy, are lively and sharp. While in Saigon, Eastman is taken by a thirty-something correspondent named Anne Channing, a savvy, brave, and intelligent woman who proves his better in all respects, a foil through which we see all that Eastman is not. Some of the chapters are written from her perspective, which gives us a welcome respite from Eastman’s deluded buffoonery ... Gilvarry has given us a portrait of toxic masculinity — one that feels as if it both belongs to a certain time and is still familiar. His Eastman is a riveting, loathsome presence who demands to be loved and remembered. He is not likable, but human. There is much to admire about this book, but in the end, though, questions linger: Haven’t we had enough Eastmans (and men like him)? Did we need another?
PositiveThe Boston Globe"Wonderland brims with these sorts of tidbits, memorable moments, and bits of information that light up the mind ... Johnson, a writer who hangs out at the intersection of science, technology, and culture, surprises and delights as he traces the path of how various objects of fun and fancy — mechanized dolls, follies, and music boxes — drove advances, but perhaps most compelling is his chapter on how public spaces sparked seismic shifts in thinking ... Johnson’s tone is sometimes that of an enthusiastic professor and at others that of a salesman trying with oozy smarts and charm to convince you of things you might not want to buy. The breeziness sometimes masks some questionable leaps in thinking...there are other slippery bits here, but the ideas are generally so intriguing and Johnson such an enthusiastic guide that the ride is consistently entertaining if not always solid.
PositiveThe Boston GlobeHe balances the inevitable gore with a breezy tone as he writes about entrails, encephalitis, and blue clots in human placenta meat. Schutt’s goal is to understand whether the taboos are hardwired or because of culture and ponders whether circumstances, particularly brought about by climate change, could popularize people eating. He finds, with humor and clarity, that cannibalism is an evolutionary act, one based on stress, reproduction, and survival.
RaveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksThe result is an increased sense of intimacy, a different sort of union with the work, because what’s being displayed, at the core, what’s being offered, laid bare, is nothing less than the workings of a mind itself ... Float feels saturated in collaboration, a sense of interaction and conversation, not only with the reader, but with writers, thinkers, and artists from before and from now.
PositiveThe Boston GlobeSpiegelman deftly weaves in her own coming of age — watching the Twin Towers fall as a high school freshman in New York City, her explorations of her own sexuality — so that the two stories both touch and veer from one another ... Spiegelman approaches her subjects with sensitivity, wisdom, generosity, and honesty, with an acute sense of the responsibilities and risks involved with sharing other people’s stories. There are moments that sound a little like the revelations that come from the therapist’s couch, but more than anything, the book shows us, in intimate detail, what a strange thing it is, to have a mother, how painful, how powerful.