Entertainment & Sports Book Reviews

EVERY SONG EVER by Ben Ratliff
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"A collection of essays that makes unlikely connections that will encourage music fans to listen beyond categorical distinctions and comfort zones—though reading the book feels a little incomplete without the listening that should accompany the experience."
A veteran New York Times critic, Ratliff here goes beyond the focus on jazz in his previous books (The Jazz Ear: Conversations Over Music, 2008) to explore the consumption of music in its widest variety and availability. Read full book review >
MY FATHER, THE PORNOGRAPHER by Chris Offutt
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"Though his relationship with his father was distant, melancholic, and precarious, Offutt quite movingly weaves his personal history into a fascinating tapestry of a compulsive writer with a knack for the naughty."
A fond memoir of life with a prolific writer of science fiction and pornography. Read full book review >

SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF THIS by Dave Stewart
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"Amid the glut of music veteran memoirs, this holds more interest than most, though Stewart admits that he isn't very reflective and he too rarely goes deeper than surface anecdote."
A rock star who realizes that he's a very lucky man shares how he made his own luck. Read full book review >
WEST OF EDEN by Jean Stein
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"Slips occasionally into hearsay and grievance but rivets readers with 'a kind of fascinated horror.'"
Through interviews with remnants of a long-gone Hollywood, a vivid sense of some of the great formative families emerges. Read full book review >
BETTER LIVING THROUGH CRITICISM by A.O. Scott
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"A zealous and well-considered work of advocacy for an art too often unappreciated and misunderstood."
An exploration of criticism, which "is not an enemy from which art must be defended, but rather another name—the proper name—for the defense of art itself." Read full book review >

EARNHARDT NATION by Jay Busbee
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"A smart look at an iconic but not necessarily admirable superstar and at what goes on behind the scenes in big-money sports."
A pit-crew view of a definitively dangerous sport-turned-big business and cultural bellwether. Read full book review >
SO AS I WAS SAYING... by Frank Mankiewicz
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"A roughly chronological memoir of a life well-lived, full of specific portraits and vivid detail."
Off-the-cuff sketches from a rich, committed life. Read full book review >
INDENTURED by Joe Nocera
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"Championship-level reporting on the boundaries of sport and business."
A vigorous indictment of collegiate athletics, a system that enriches everyone except the athletes. Read full book review >
LEONARD by William Shatner
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"A fond remembrance of Leonard Nimoy by one who knew him like no other."
In the original Star Trek series, Mr. Spock's contemplative temperament was balanced by Capt. Kirk's emotive and physical nature. Now it's the captain's turn to reflect. Read full book review >
MASTER OF CEREMONIES by Joel Grey
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"An honest, eloquent, memorable autobiography."
The diminutive, unforgettable creator of the emcee in Cabaret both on stage and on screen writes frankly of his diverse career, exacting mother, and public embrace of his homosexuality.Read full book review >
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"The jump shot created offense, and Fury elevates it to yet higher ground."
Journalist Fury (Keeping the Faith: In the Trenches with College Football's Worst Team, 2005) celebrates basketball's jump shot: its origins, its fundamentals, and its greatest practitioners.Read full book review >
YOU'RE BETTER THAN ME by Bonnie McFarlane
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"A breezy and entertaining, if ultimately inessential, look at life in comedy."
Comedian McFarlane's long, strange trip to the middle. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >