If I were a different reader — a dental enthusiast, say, a Red Sox fan, a God seeker or an authority on alternate biblical history — each recurring obsession might have given me an electric jolt, and the book would have maintained momentum; the ending would have been a real revelation.
What happens? Not much. But Mr. Kinney has a chance to describe several different strata of Dylan admirers, from those who’ll eat cherry pie because he did to those who know the first name of his maternal great-grandmother...The stories are innocent and not particularly interesting.
Whitehead serves up an engrossing mix of casual yet astute reportage and hang-dog philosophizing, showing us that, for all of poker’s intricate calculations and shrewd stratagems, everything still hangs on the turn of a card.
It turns out that “Love, Nina” is indeed charming, but only in the best ways. It’s observant, funny, terse, at times a bit rude. It affords a glimpse into a rarefied London social and literary milieu. It’s an “Upstairs, Downstairs” or “Downton Abbey” of sorts...
In the case of "Creativity, Inc.," by Ed Catmull, one of the founders of Pixar Animation, readers will want to take a big bite. Yes, there are clichés here...But the book also offers up a fascinating story about how some very smart people built something that profoundly changed the animation business and, along the way, popular culture.
The best stories in this collection have the confidence of subtlety, and a touch of the unexpected...her characters and their adventures take flight.
Lowe's second effort is an interesting insider's perspective on what works in Hollywood and what seems to be irredeemably broken and his advice on life and relationships is well-conceived and intelligent.
In “Worst. Person. Ever.” Coupland offers an excess-on-excess satire of what he may see as the worst culture ever...The world of his new book is a worthy target as well...But in choosing a narrator who embodies the target so completely, the author makes it hard to know what to look at, what to make of it or how to enjoy it.
...John Wayne: The Life and Legend displays the Duke as a man...of wit, charm, and integrity—a man and an actor who both had great appeal.
As always, Pratchett's unforgettable characters and lively story mirror the best, the worst, and the oddest bits of our own world, entertaining readers while skewering social and political foibles in a melting pot of humanity, dwarfs, trolls, goblins, vampires, and a werewolf or two.
Although Wagner regales readers with tales of many of his Hollywood friends—from Mary Pickford and Harold Lloyd to Andy Williams and Jimmy Stewart—he never stoops to kiss-and-tell gossip about the stars nor does he wax nostalgic about a past for which he desperately longs.
...Harris pens superb exegeses of the ideological currents coursing through this most political of cinematic eras, and in the arcs of his vividly drawn protagonists—especially Stevens, whose camera took in the liberation of Paris and the horror of Dachau—we see Hollywood abandoning sentimental make-believe to confront the starkest realities.
In this latest crisis, waves of wild magic are flowing from Rachel’s ley-line, causing charms to misfire, often with devastating results...A great ride in and of itself, rather than simply a buildup to the finale, which is sure to be whiz-bang.
The good news, mathematically speaking, is that the stories are pretty much 100% brilliant...Since the stories are also, as always, extremely funny, Moore has come to enjoy the unusual distinction of being just about the darkest light writer around.
Mr. Itzkoff’s narrative is thorough yet brisk as he catalogs the good and the bad that befell Mr. Chayefsky and his passion project. It is fortified with vivid anecdotes pulled from generous access to the Paddy Chayefsky papers at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts...
If the collection feels uneven at times...perhaps that’s because Novak seems to have worked harder on the more substantial stories, which have the pleasing feel of being written by an author in complete control of his craft.
...it is full of loose ends—a reconciliation with his brother, the attempt to fake a recording from 1932—that the author never ties together, perhaps since Jimmy’s is not the sort of tidy life. Whatever its novelistic flaws, the rock criticism and pop-culture insights are sharp throughout.
Once again there are deliciously unexpected pairings, reunions with characters we thought were simply walk-ons, worldly wisdom on everything from death to erotic etiquette, a slew of new words you hope you'll find the social opportunity to reuse (shirtcockers, anyone?) and a plot to guarantee a late lights-out.
They are routine failures that Mr Shteyngart’s prose and his New York brand of empathy—brusque and big-hearted—render meaningful and poignant. He fails and fails and fails, and then he doesn’t. Through grit and struggle and self-awareness, things fall into place...
The Encyclopedia of Early Earth is ambitious and impressive enough as a feat of world-building, but it's a good deal more than that.