Essays & Anthologies Book Reviews

LIVING ON PAPER by Iris Murdoch
Released: Feb. 1, 2016

"An impressively edited, sharply revealing life in letters."
An intimate view of the prolific British novelist and philosopher. Read full book review >
HALLOW THIS GROUND by Colin Rafferty
Released: Feb. 1, 2016

"Though fixed on what remains of some of history's darkest moments, Rafferty's essays, both gripping and wonderfully reflective, illuminate."
Moving reflections on the literal remembrance of acts too significant to forget. Read full book review >

Released: Jan. 26, 2016

"With lively, colorful writing and inspired practical advice, this guide earns a spot along with Clark's Writing Tools (2006) as essential reading for writers. Recommended for book lovers as well."
Just when you think Poynter Institute senior scholar Clark, who has written some of the best books on the writer's craft, has covered everything related to the subject, he digs deep into literature and excavates a gold mine of artistic strategies for great writing. Read full book review >
SHAME AND WONDER by David Searcy
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"Ultimately, meaning and mystery coexist in Searcy's mind, and his offbeat, exciting writing will resonate with readers for whom 'you never know' and 'who knew?' might be mantras."
A Texas essayist goes looking for meaning in all the right places. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"A rich, urbane, insightful collection."
Masterful essays from an award-winning fiction writer. Read full book review >

THIS OLD MAN by Roger Angell
Released: Nov. 17, 2015

"As this ebullient and eloquent collection amply shows, Angell can deftly touch that reader, on whom he bestows this lovely gift."
A miscellany of memorable prose. 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. 1, 2015

"Lucid, sinewy sentences lash, tickle, and caress."
A veteran essayist for the New York Times collects some gems from his pile of precious—though not always popular—stones.Read full book review >
HUMANS OF NEW YORK by Brandon Stanton
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise."
Photographer and author Stanton returns with a companion volume to Humans of New York (2013), this one with similarly affecting photographs of New Yorkers but also with some tales from his subjects' mouths.Read full book review >
THE 50s by The New Yorker
Released: Sept. 29, 2015

"Superb: a gift that keeps on giving and a fine introduction to the life and letters of a supposedly (but not really) gray decade."
Following on the previous anthology, The 40s (2014), the editors of the New Yorker continue to mine the magazine's impossibly rich history.Read full book review >
THE NIXON TAPES by Douglas Brinkley
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"Essential for students of late-20th-century American history and the Nixon presidency."
Brinkley and Nichter (The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972, 2014, etc.) conclude their project of publishing highlights from Richard Nixon's infamous tapes with this volume from the last year of recording.Read full book review >
MYSTERIES OF THE MALL by Witold Rybczynski
Released: Sept. 8, 2015

"A superb book for those interested in architectural history, written in an easygoing style by a man with encyclopedic knowledge and an obvious great love for building."
In this illuminating collection of essays, Rybczynski (Emeritus, Architecture/Univ. of Pennsylvania; How Architecture Works, 2013, etc.) documents the wide-ranging effects of the men who built America in the 20th century.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 >