For the academician planning a cutting-edge survey in Manliness Studies, fall 2009 provides a fine reading list. Start with two new novels from the modern masters of professional boyhood: Juliet, Naked, Nick Hornby’s latest adult-contemporary fable, features Apple ear-buds on its cover and, in its plot, a character called Tucker Crowe, described as “a reclusive Read More
By Jonathan Liu 5/26/09 8:11pm
Lost in the Meritocracy: The Undereducation of an Overachiever
by Walter Kirn
Doubleday, 211 pages, $24.95
If you were out to assemble the Platonic ideal, the parodic prototype, of the Great American bildungsroman—wherein a middle-class, top-of-his-class lad from the Middle West is saved, then savaged by the North Atlantic and, specifically, the Ivy League—how might Read More
By Jonathan Liu 4/28/09 8:13pm
By Colson Whitehead
Doubleday, 273 pp., $24.95
On this past January’s third Tuesday, Barack H. Obama was sworn in as president of the United States. On its fourth Tuesday, John H. Updike died at the age of 76.
I have no doubt the old man savored the gravity and relief of life Read More
By Jonathan Liu 3/04/09 6:45pm
Blood and Rage: A Cultural History of Terrorism
By Michael Burleigh
Harper, 577 pages, $29.99
Nearly a decade has passed since this country declared war on terror, and still, I’m afraid to report, the definitive history of modern terrorism remains to be written.
But that’s not to say it doesn’t exist. Read More
By Jonathan Liu 2/19/09 4:53pm
The Book of Dead Philosophers
By Simon Critchley
Random House, 265 pages, $15.95
Whatever you think of his philosophy, or his celebrity, give Simon Critchley this: He’s a courageous writer. It takes an author possessed of true courage (or utter folly) to follow these sentences—“Philosophy begins, then, with … the cultivation of a love of Read More
By Jonathan Liu 2/03/09 8:08pm
Death by Leisure: A Cautionary Tale
By Chris Ayres
Grove Press, 300 pages, $24
Getting to Death by Leisure, Chris Ayres’ fascinating and rather off-putting new book, will require a detour through death by combat. Bear with me.
Erich Maria Remarque, author of All Quiet on the Western Front, was drafted into Read More
By Jonathan Liu 1/28/09 9:13pm
The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century
By George Friedman
Doubleday, 253 pages, $25.95
The destruction of the three Battle Stars will be planned for November 24, 2050, at 5 P.M. At this time on Thanksgiving Day most people in the United States would be watching football and napping after Read More
By Jonathan Liu 11/26/08 5:23pm
Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for
Civil Rights in the North
By Thomas J. Sugrue
Random House, 688 pages, $35
Thomas Sugrue’s Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North was published on Nov. 4, 2008. Imagine toiling more or less monomanically for the better part of Read More
National Book Awards Tries to Glam Things Up; Who Invited All the Fancy People, Publishing Peons Wonder?
By Jonathan Liu 11/20/08 9:27pm
At around 1 o’clock Thursday morning, Morgan Entrekin decided it was time to extract himself from the dance floor at Socialista and head home. "I’m having an excellent time!" he said, half empty beer in hand. "I wish I were 20 years younger! I could dance all night."
The reason he couldn’t: "I have Read More
By Jonathan Liu 10/22/08 8:45pm
In an age where Damien Hirst errata have joined gold and United States government bonds in the shrinking pantheon of safe investments, can contemporary art still be dangerous?
More to the point, can contemporary art be dangerous when it’s held in something of a polyurethane uterus, a haute-culture billboard designed by deconstructivist goddess Zaha Hadid, Read More