Entertainment & Sports Book Reviews

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 >
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
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 >

ALL MONSTERS MUST DIE by Magnus Bärtås
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"A clear and troubling picture of a country forced to embrace madness."
Two Swedish artists (one visual, the other musical) record their impressions of a one-week sojourn in North Korea in 2008. Read full book review >
ONE BREATH by Adam Skolnick
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
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
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
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
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
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 >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Dec. 1, 2015

"An amusingly shrewd memoir of following a lifelong dream."
Kessler (Counterclockwise: My Year of Hypnosis, Hormones, Dark Chocolate, and Other Adventures in the World of Anti-aging, 2013, etc.) chronicles her obsession with dancing The Nutcracker.Read full book review >
OVER THE TOP AND BACK by Tom Jones
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
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
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
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 >
HOW TO WATCH A MOVIE by David Thomson
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Nov. 12, 2015

"An enjoyably deep dive into the interaction between cinema and psyche."
Celebrated movie critic and film studies teacher Thomson (Moments that Made the Movies, 2013, etc.) implores viewers to scrutinize themselves as closely as what's playing on the silver screen—or YouTube.Read full book review >
DEAR MR. YOU by Mary-Louise Parker
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 10, 2015

"A unique, poised, and polished first book from a respected actress."
An award-winning actress's collection of never-sent literary missives to the men who have most influenced her personal development. Read full book review >
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
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 >
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 >