single-girl-anatomy

‘Single Girl’ a hot mess

The single girl is in perpetual existential crisis. She is faced with a glut of choices, some of them formative, others as simple as whom to date, and none of them easy. She is a paradox: A simultaneous blend of autonomy and dependence, of indecision and resolution. Her desire floats
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Wise-Men-by-Stuart-Nadler

‘Wise Men’ leaves readers out at sea

Stuart Nadler’s new novel “Wise Men” is not easily digestible, though its prose is not difficult. The themes it explores — from race, to lust, to the corruptive power of wealth — are so large and multifaceted as to render this one doozy of a seaside saga. Maybe it’s best
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rage-is-back

‘Rage is Back’ by Adam Mansbach relays NYC graffiti story

For all the recent institutional attention to graffiti, its natural habitat remains the grimy-glorious concrete jungle. “Rage is Back,” a new novel by Berkeley-based Adam Mansbach, author of children’s-book-turned-viral-sensation “Go the Fuck to Sleep,” knows it: “Don’t ever mention Haring to a graffiti writer by the way, or Basquiat either.
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Grimm

‘Golden Compass’ author Pullman reinvents Grimm fairytales

The Brothers Grimm have always seemed to be a fictional pair themselves — they are known for their collection of witches, princesses and elves, and never insert their opinions or morals into their tales. But Philip Pullman presents the two as “serious-minded” intellectuals in the introduction of “Fairy Tales from
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Alice Munro’s newest collection of stories disappoints

Summing up an entire lifetime in a book seems either impossible or depressing. We hope that our lives cannot be compressed into a single volume. With her new collection of stories, “Dear Life,” Alice Munro attempts to do this, but she ultimately fails in offering more than flat emotion and
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Franportrait

Fran Lebowitz goes road-tripping

In New York City, sometime in the early hours of October 30, a car made its way uptown. The streets were unusually empty for that hour (or any hour in NYC). A hurricane was in town and instead of the benign ambivalence with which the city usually greets new arrivals,
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hallucinations

Sack’s ‘Hallucinations’ tires

In “Hallucinations,” Oliver Sacks once again plays the role of the encyclopedic doctor of neurological phenomena. His signature way of telling strange tales of medicine fit for television hospital dramas hasn’t changed, but his topic has shifted to a small degree. He explores hallucinations and the human brain in his
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Vonnegut’s idiosyncrasies revealed in letter compilation

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. never wrote an autobiography — his story is in his works, woven into the irony-filled science fiction that he’s known for. He never wrote a singular personal account perhaps because the category would be too constricting and the self-reflection too painful. Right before his sudden death in
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