PanNew York Journal of BooksThis book is annoying from the get-go—not a good thing to inflict on readers ... This reviewer dutifully kept turning pages so that prospective readers won’t have to or waste their money (get it from the library if you want to know how bad it is).
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksFierstein traces his arc through a series of 50 short but emotionally packed interludes ... His wistful book is laced with understandable nostalgia ... The overall problem with Fierstein’s account will be a generational split. Younger gay people will not understand references such as Montserrat Caballé (the Spanish opera diva mentioned several times). His memoir will surely be enjoyed by Fierstein’s contemporary boomers ... Younger gay people don’t know this history and yet this book, for those willing to read it with an open mind, constitutes a blessed restorative.
RaveNew York Journal of Books... a grand synthesis of how sensing, emotion, and rational thinking cooperate to elucidate the biological roots of consciousness. Forty-eight brief and provocative chapters provide much to consider. Is it too much to call this latest book magisterial? ... What ultimately renders Damasio’s arguments persuasive is the way his premises flow from broad, general principles, particularly that of homeostasis, which is the drive within all organisms to maintain a stable internal milieu.
MixedNew York Journal of BooksThis is a debut novel for Neil Sharpson, who heretofore has been a playwright. He does a decent job painting a police state and the undertone of fear that permeates everyday life. But the dialogue is riddled by wisecracks—think of any Eve Arden movie. Rookie writing errors range from point of view violations, faulty syntax, and inconsistent tenses to dialogue tags, clichés, and missing the subjunctive mood.
Exposition abounds when interior psychological revelation would be welcome. Then there is the mysterious Yozhik, an anonymous rebel who has liberated scores of citizens from the Caspioan Republic. Her actual identity is revealed quite late in the book without the author having planted adequate clues earlier. The dénouement gets confusing and leads up to a surprising Contran copying.
PositiveNew York Journal of Books... well researched and full of detail this current volume is, something for the reader’s \'little gray cells\' to savor ... It is loaded with juicy anecdotes and excerpts from contemporary reviews, and it includes much on the actors who portrayed him over the years—Albert Finney, Peter Ustinov, David Suchet, and Kenneth Branagh, plus less well–known names from earlier decades. Aldridge is careful not to spoil the endings, which may encourage readers to take up titles they had missed or forgotten. The author provides an accessible history for each of the novels, short stories, and story collections in which the idiosyncratic detective appears and then places each into the context of Christie’s personal life and writing career.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksBirdsall gives the reader an intimate view of gay life in America between 1950 and 1980. His knowledge of gay history and access to primary sources allows him to illustrate the camaraderie that expressed the \'pleasure and the exuberance of intimate lives that they couldn’t otherwise reveal to the world.\' An activist himself, Birdsall’s preferred adjective is \'queer,\' and what he does in convincing detail is show the reader just how much this demimonde of outcasts influenced American culture.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksSex abounds in these pages, with something for everyone—gay, straight, kinky, voyeuristic—all rendered hilariously in its absurd human folly as only Edmund White can. Beautiful sentences spill off the page. Readers will delight in his marvelous asides, characteristically exact vocabulary, and metaphors that make the reader smile ... White has written a double first-person coming of age story replete with sex, dazzling wealth, secrets, and aspirations ... While this is a rollicking story full of memorable characters, there is plenty left unsaid between the lines and abundant of insights to be plumbed in White’s pages.
PositiveThe New York Journal of Books... concise and entertaining ... a welcome voice of encouragement to writers at any stage of their career ... The book lacks a table of contents, a curious yet perhaps fitting omission given \'the non-linear relationships of the elements of fiction\' ... At the very end Mosely gets a bit loosey-goosey in a synesthetic barrage of emotion, poetry, and aphorisms. Fortunately, the book ends there. His purpose, he reminds us, is to show by example how deeply writer can go into their own mind. And in this, he fairly well succeeds.
MixedNew York Journal of BooksZsa Zsa gets the most attention in these pages. Author Sam Staggs is a Hollywood biographer and family friend of the Gabors. While this gives him unique access, especially to Zsa Zsa’s daughter, Francesca Hilton...it sometimes leaves him open to questions of objectivity. His prose can also veer to 50 cent words (\'mephitic,\' \'testudo,\' \'otiose\') and cringe worthy similes.
PanNew York Journal of BooksWhat particularly undermines the high-concept story is writing that calls attention to itself. It pulls the reader out of what novelist John Gardner called the dream ... The narrative dream of Good Morning, Midnight is intruded on by logically incoherent sentences...prose that veers toward purple, and metaphors that try too hard or else are oddly anthropomorphic ... Ambiguous syntax is unintentionally hilarious ... This is not to say the book isn’t worth the effort, but it could move more. Obstacles arise, such as a severed communications antenna, but they are too easily solved.
Catherine Cusset, trans. by Teresa Fagan
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksFor readers who know anything about David Hockney...this book is a gem. For those who don’t, there is much to delight here, too ... The book moves along at a brisk pace, yet never resorts to mere chronicling ... Catherine Cusset’s imaginative novel captures the journey through time of Hockney’s life, never a straight line but a repetition of cycles, \'everything occurring in alternation.\'
PositiveNew York Journal of Books\"The characters are nuanced. Clues are well planted. Conflict arises steadily. The action through lines are deftly woven as they churn up a toxic brew of passion, jealousy, betrayal, manipulation, hatred, and love ... Blood Orange is dark and twisted, and will keep readers awake well into the wee hours as the plot hurls toward its surprising conclusion.\
Justin J Lehmiller
MixedThe New York JournalIn Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help Improve Your Sex Life, Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a research fellow at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute, aims to shed light on sexual fantasies—who has them, how common they are, and the psychological purpose they serve. While Alfred Kinsey famously wrote about people’s sexual behavior in the 1940s and 50s, he failed to ask about their desires. And yet, says Dr. Lehmiller, \'they can be a roadmap, pointing to which of our psychological needs are being met and which aren’t.\' The author arrived at his findings by surveying more than 4,000 volunteers. This methodology unfortunately makes his sample nonrepresentative, although the approach is understandable given how reluctant people still are to talk frankly about sex. Another drawback to the survey approach is that readers confront repetitive laundry lists and variations of activities taken from the questionnaires ... The book includes a 15–question quiz intended to reveal your secret desires. It concludes with icebreakers, tips on how to start a conversation about sexual desires, and ways to turn your fantasy into reality.
RaveNew York Journal of BooksIf ever a book were to be called magisterial, this one is ... He is the first journalist to have his entire genome analyzed by cutting–edge researchers, the results of which he shares with readers ... Zimmer is an excellent storyteller. Absorbing tales do double duty in laying out details of basic biology, historical discoveries, and complicated research. His ease with narrative makes the book hard to put down in places, a rarity in science writing.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksThe book covers much ground likely to be familiar, such as famous experiments done by men made famous by them. Truisms appear, too, such as the existence of \'major differences in the truths of science and religion and the manner in which those truths are discovered.\' Perhaps the author’s mixing of established observations with fresh perspectives will charm one set of readers. Others may find some of the author’s excursions too philosophical. Lightman ponders his big, knotty subjects in clear prose. He is content to be alive, aches and pains and all.
RaveThe New York Journal of Books...bears the qualities that endeared him to countless readers: his ability to turn clinical cases into literature, to make unexpected connections among far–flung disciplines, and to relate nearly any topic to historical arcs ... The River of Consciousness does not have a typically unifying theme. Rather, Sacks engages one last time with the heady topics of time, memory, creativity, evolution, subjectivity, and consciousness ...The essays are strewn with profound questions, such as how a sprinter 'can be off the blocks in 130 milliseconds,' when 'the conscious registration of the gunshot requires 400 milliseconds or more?' ...he explores the fallibility of memory and the reawakening of memories that have lain dormant for decades.