F-5: Devastating, Survival, and the Most Violent Tornado Outbreak of the Twentieth Century by Mark Levine
Funnels of Death
A review by Gary Krist
Earthquakes can happen anywhere. Floods and wildfires don't seem to play favorites among the countries they afflict. Even volcanoes, though mainly concentrated on the edges of continental plates, are scattered somewhat widely over the globe. But a full three-quarters of the world's recorded overland whirlwinds occur in a single country: the United States. For whatever reason, tornadoes -- as Mark Levine points out in his arresting new book -- are "the archetypal American natural disaster."
Books about tornadoes, of course, are also pretty common in this country. I can't pretend to have...
Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession by Julie Powell
Julia Powell's Obsessions with Marriage and Meatcutting
A review by Nicole Chvatal
Julie Powell's latest book, Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession, picks up where her first memoir, Julie and Julia, left off -- sort of.
The wisecracking, brutally honest Powell is back, except now instead of cooking all the recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, she's learning how to debone turkeys and hacking up beef at a butcher shop in upstate New York. Oh, and she cheated on her husband. Wait -- what?
It's true, but before we get to those juicy bits, Powell brings us up to speed on how she got into butchering. Once the initial hype of Julie and...
Sex and the River Styx by Edward Hoagland
Edward Hoagland's Essays Look Back at a Life Lived to the Fullest
A review by Steve Yarbrough
"Believing in life," Edward Hoagland writes in "Curtain Calls," one of the essays in his splendid new collection, "I believe in death as well, and at seventy-six look forward to my immersion in the other plane of the seesaw also. Without wishing to hasten it, in other words, I don't dread the event. The politics will be less rancid, my dentistry at an end, and the TV off." Reading this essay and several of the others in Sex and the River Styx, I found myself marveling at Hoagland's notes of acceptance.
As these essays will prove to those who don't know the work of this extraordinary writer,...
The Stone Keeper: Amulet, Book One (Amulet #01) by Kazu Kibuishi
All Ages Adventures
A review by Donald Lemke
Since Jeff Smith's Bone, few graphic novels have truly captured the imagination of an all-ages audience. It's a difficult task, satisfying the curiosities of youth while pandering to the expectations of adults. Fortunately, Kazu Kibuishi, creator of Daisy Kutter and editor of the acclaimed Flight anthologies, has discovered the secret formula in Amulet: The Stonekeeper, book one of his much-anticipated series from Scholastic.
In Amulet, Kibuishi doesn't give readers, young or old, a chance to turn away. His distinctly cinematic style will immediately captivate readers from the opening...
Mating by Norman Rush
In Retrospect: On Mating & Memory
A review by Tim Burke
What difference does it make to live somewhere for a time? It's a pretty difficult matter to pin down. There are a lot of people with a vested interest who insist that it makes all the difference. Usually that's the people who've lived in the world as well as the home, and who gain some precious (and often quite material) advantage by insisting that they know the world and its travails better than you, the mere reader, the viewer, the armchair general, the person who has never been there.
But it does make a difference. There is a fellowship of people who have been there, united by their...
Makeshift Metropolis: Ideas about Cities by Witold Rybczynski
The Plan is All
A review by Blair A. Ruble
Witold Rybczynski, the author of more than a dozen extraordinarily popular treatises on cities and architecture, is a master of making professional quarrels -- over the value of the American suburban landscape, the relative importance of psychological comfort and technical perfection in home design, and others -- accessible to nonspecialist readers. In Makeshift Metropolis, which grew out of a 2007 lecture at the National Building Museum, he seeks to place contemporary American city planning within the context of American life past and present. This slim and elegant book is just the thing for ...