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Saturday, August 20th


Eisner/Miller by Will Eisner and Frank Miller

A review by Chris Bolton

Imagine Alfred Hitchcock sharing a conversation with Steven Spielberg, Bruce Springsteen chatting with Jack White, or Saul Bellow conversing with Jonathan Franzen, and you begin to understand the significance of Eisner/Miller for comics fans. Frank Miller and Will Eisner are two of the greatest talents ever to put pencil and brush to a piece of paper divided into eight square panels; each can arguably be called the leading light of his generation. To have the two of them sit together and discuss their work, the comics medium as a whole, and the history of the comic industry is a minor miracle; to be able to read the edited transcripts is a major one.

Will Eisner is perhaps best known for creating the Spirit, a masked crimefighter (Eisner takes pride in the fact that he wasn't a costumed superhero; in fact, he only added the mask on the insistence of a publisher) who first appeared in newspaper strips, then in comic books, until 1952. Eisner then became CEO of his own company until...

JFK, Nixon, Oliver Stone and Me: An Idealist's Journey from Capitol Hill to Hollywood Hell by Eric Hamburg

Back When I Was a Stoner...

A review by Adrienne Miller

Here's a book with an audience of about five.

I know this because when I start in at parties on how I've seen the Oliver Stone-voiceover DVD version of Wall Street roughly eighteen times, people sort of nod politely, then back away, and quick. Although I remain afraid of U-Turn, and have for that reason avoided it, I know how the statement "Oliver Stone is a genuine artist" won't make you any new friends. In this dismally written yet nevertheless entertaining memoir by a disgruntled ex-Stone employee, O.S. (as he is cleverly known) comes across as the most interesting and sympathetic...

Laughing Gas (36 Edition) by P.g. Wodehouse

A review by Adrienne Miller

Right then. We're just so frightfully pleased by Overlook Press's sensational new Wodehouse program, reissuing eight of the old so-and-so's books and all that. This event is indeed cause to rub one's fingers together in oily glee. Oh, you certainly know who this P.J. Wodehouse fellow is. He published over ninety novels, so 'tis true that this program is an ambitious one, as was the writer of such ha-has as, "We Havershots are men of action, even when we have been turned into kids with golden curls smelling, I now perceived, of a rather offensive brand of brilliantine" (from Laughing Gas, in...

The Keep: A Novel by Jennifer Egan

Night Shudders

A review by Joseph O?Neill

If, like your reviewer, you are inclined to regard traditional Gothic tropes as silly -- who, past boneheaded adolescence, gives a hoot about haunted houses and antics by candlelight? why bother with a Schauerroman (literally, "shudder novel") when The New York Times is available? -- you may be inclined to skip Jennifer Egan’s The Keep, which involves secret passages, dungeons, precipices, a mysterious damsel in a tower, and an ancient Schloss somewhere near the junction of Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. You would, however, be making a mistake: Egan’s third novel, The Keep (her...

Fairness by Ferdinand Mount

A review by Christopher Hitchens

When we quote L. P. Hartley in saying "The past is another country. They do things differently there," we utter a sort of tautology. Of course the past is another country; of course its inhabitants have a tendency to behave oddly. This is no more than to say that the past is past, or is not the present. Certain novelists have the ability to challenge this remorselessly obvious verdict – to narrow the divide between youth and maturity and to make both states, if not countries, real and immediate. On the evidence of this novel Ferdinand Mount is one of them.

I'll take a wild guess and say...

A Song Flung Up to Heaven by Maya Angelou

Saint Maya

A review by John McWhorter

I. When I was in college in the early 1980s, the black folksinger Odetta was invited to campus to perform. Clad in African garb and accompanying herself on the guitar, she weaved together inspirational songs and savory anecdotes garnished with ancient wisdom. She rocked the house, the young and mostly white students delighted to be sitting at the feet of a black Earth goddess "telling it like it is." I thought I had a good time. But later my white roommate shocked me by dismissing the whole thing. His problem with Odetta was her smugness, her obvious expectation that her audience bow to her...

Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England by Judith Flanders

A review by Benjamin Schwarz

The creation of an ordered and happy household, the balance between work and home life, the effort to protect the domestic sphere from a harsh and amoral world, the division of child care between fathers and mothers, the question of whether a woman neglects her responsibilities to her children if she leaves part of their rearing to another (especially to someone from a different culture or class) — these issues were largely delineated by the middle class of the nineteenth century, especially in Britain, the cradle of modern bourgeois life, and at that time the home of by far the largest...

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