Entertainment & Sports Book Reviews

Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"An academic yet concise, fresh, and deeply informed look at how we read."
How does the study of disability help us to understand stories? Read full book review >
ONE BREATH by Adam Skolnick
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"A worthy addition to the growing body of literature on adventures that test the limits of nature and mankind."
A fatality spurs an inquiry into an extreme sport, illuminating the risks—as well as the rewards—of free diving. Read full book review >

DISASTER DRAWN by Hillary L. Chute
Released: Jan. 1, 2016

"Though this academic study has a stylistic density that a general readership might occasionally find difficult, the epiphanies are worth the effort."
An illuminating analysis of graphic narrative's documentary power. Read full book review >
MAGGIE SMITH by Michael Coveney
Released: Dec. 29, 2015

"An authoritative and perceptive portrait."
The illustrious career of "a great stage actress in both comedy and tragedy, and an international film star." Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 24, 2015

"A remarkable memoir by a remarkable artist."
The memoir of the resilient career of a singer who knows how closely he succumbed to self-parody. Read full book review >

BOYS IN THE TREES by Carly Simon
Released: Nov. 24, 2015

"Memoirs by rock icons of the 1960s and '70s are flying fast and furious these days. This is one of the best, lively and memorable. Check the new album that accompanies the book, too."
Understated but revealing memoir by the long-absent but still much-played pop star. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 10, 2015

"Worthy of Studs Terkel and an essential addition to the books of the Dead."
Coming on its 50th anniversary and just after the band's farewell tour, an engaging, near-comprehensive oral history of the Grateful Dead. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 10, 2015

"A wonderful story that brings us deep into that moment when America made race music its own and gave rise to the rock sound now heard around the world."
A monumental biography of the larger-than-life loner who fought for the acceptance of black music and discovered an extraordinary group of poor, country-boy singers whose records would transform American popular culture. Read full book review >
PETTY by Warren Zanes
Released: Nov. 10, 2015

"Though it attests to the artist's singularity, this incisive, illuminating biography also serves as an elegy to one of the golden eras of the classic rock band—of the days when 'a band was everything, a shield and a shelter.'"
A biography of a reticent musician that will allow even his biggest fans to see him with fresh eyes and hear him with fresh ears. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"A lively, raucous, and immensely entertaining love letter to the funny business."
A comprehensive history of American stand-up comedy, from vaudeville to Twitter. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 2, 2015

"Rather than a nostalgic lament, this revelatory book celebrates an indelible cultural imprint."
An illuminating stroll through the decades of one of the most culturally significant streets in America. Read full book review >
TWO HOURS by Ed Caesar
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"Caesar's winning prose will keep even armchair readers turning pages, perhaps tuning in to watch the next marathon."
A wide-ranging and compelling account of marathons and the very fastest men who run them. 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 >