Barenaked Ladies

Lit Crit

Stanley b/w Rogers

Ali G: [Explaining his business idea] What is the most popular thing in the world? Donald Trump: [Ponders the question, then decisively finds the right answer] Music. G: [After a long pause] No. Trump: [Bored] Tell me. G: Ice cream! Trump: Okay... Because music may well be the most popular thing in the world, I’m going to review two fine new books on ...

Lit Crit

Sorry I Murdered You With My ‘Hate Speech’

It's not every day that I praise a book by the former head of the American Civil Liberties Union, let alone the longest-serving president of that organization. But I was delighted to have Nadine Strossen on my Substack recently to talk ...

Lit Crit

‘The Right’ Read

Curiously, many nonfiction books these days are published without an index, despite Microsoft Word providing indexing. My guess is that because serious new books mostly intrigue other writers hoping to find their names mentioned in the ...

Lit Crit

Faded Roots

At age 86, David Hackett Fischer, author of the landmark 1989 book Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (which is perhaps the most influential work of American history in the last third of a century), has returned to try to ...

Lit Crit

Off to the Races

Douglas Murray’s opus The War on the West has just been published, and it’s a doozy. He is a friend and fellow columnist in the London Spectator, the oldest magazine in the English-speaking world. It is a book about what happens ...

Lit Crit

This Sporting Life

Say you have an athletic child in middle school: Specializing in which sport in high school would make it most likely for your son or daughter to earn a college scholarship? The new self-help book from data scientist Seth ...

Lit Crit

The Wealth of Notions

How can we explain the varying wealth of nations? This question has long elicited a wealth of notions. Thus, in my quarter century as a book reviewer, I’ve always been a sucker for taking on ambitious theory-and-history-of-everything ...

John von Neumann

Lit Crit

Math Appeal

The 1940s, when so many new technologies such as atomic weapons and computers were rushed into existence, remains the peak real-life science-fiction decade. So there’s a steady demand from highbrow readers for biographies of the ...

Kurt Cobain

Lit Crit

‘The Nineties’: Moments of Clarity

When it was suggested that I review the new nonfiction book The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman, I assumed he would be an ideal analyst of that distant decade because, after all, he’d written that very 1990s novel Fight Club, hadn’t ...

Lit Crit

A Simpler Life

The only written words of mine that have ever had a practical effect on the world appeared in my review of Alexander McCall Smith’s book The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Mine was the first review in the national press, and I like ...

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