Literature

Paper weight

The specific matter of Hollywood glamour shots and postcard records
|
()

johnny@sfbg.com

Call me wasteful, call me Luddite, call me nostalgic, call me obsolete. I'm not ashamed to admit it: I like paper. I like it a little too much. These days, when I look at paper, I have a pair of scissors in my mind if not my right hand — I want to take the complete form of detritus that a single sheet or a full book represents, and cut it into a new shape. Maybe it's a visual extension of editing words for a living. Read more »

Notes of a dirty old man.

Or: a portion from a wine-stained notebook. A story
|
()

› a&eletters@sfbg.com

"YOWWWWWWW!"

I was having visions in those days. They came mostly when I was drying out, not drinking, waiting around for money or something to arrive, and the visions were very real — Technicolor and with music — mostly they flashed across the top of the ceiling while I was on the bed in a half-slumberous state. I had worked in too many factories, had seen too many jails, had drunk too many bottles of cheap wine to maintain any sort of cool and intelligent state toward my visions —

"OH, GO AWAY YOU BASTARDS! I BEG YOU! Read more »

Critical sass

Daniel Mendelsohn's How Beautiful It Is And How Easily It Can Be Broken could use a little bitchiness
|
()

ISBN REAL This month, a collection of Daniel Mendelsohn's essays on books, plays, and films is being published. How Beautiful It Is And How Easily It Can Be Broken (Harper, 480 pages, $26.95) is excellent. But it lacks something I can't help wanting from the criticism I read, no matter how often some denunciation tries to shame the desire out of me. Read more »

Speed Reading

The Three Trillion Dollar War, The Comic Book Holocaust, and The Klassic Komix Klub
|
()

THE THREE TRILLION DOLLAR WAR: THE TRUE COST OF THE IRAQ CONFLICT

By Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes

W.W. Norton & Company

192 pages, $22.95 (hardcover)

336 pages, $14.95 (trade paperback available next month)Read more »

Micheline, man

The return of a poet with the pulse of a 10-ton engine
|
()

› a&eletters@sfbg.com

So much of Jack Micheline's work is great that it almost feels like a lie to speak of it. He remains a problematic, adorable, and — to the very end — indefinable artist. This is not loose praise.

In an introduction to the new Micheline collection One of a Kind (Ugly Duckling Press, 155 pages, $15), editor Julien Poirier asks, "Why does literature consider Jack Micheline a joke if it considers him at all? Read more »

Speed Reading

Christopher Ciccione's life with Madonna, Ulrike Meinhof's radical journalism
|
()

EVERYBODY TALKS ABOUT THE WEATHER ... WE DON'T: THE WRITINGS OF ULRIKE MEINHOF

Edited by Karin Bauer

Seven Stories Press

268 pages

$16.95

Will the myriad fragments of Ulrike Meinhof's life ever make a convincing portrait? This first English publication of her journalism presents the many argumentative voices of Meinhof and those she inspires or infuriates. Read more »

Self-help books

Publishing yourself through the slush pile of Joe Shmuck and friends
|
()

ISBN REAL In a recent, much-discussed Washington Post op-ed, Twelve publisher Jonathan Karp said, "There are thousands of independent publishers and even more self-publishers. These players will soon have the same access to readers as major publishers do, once digital distribution and print-on-demand technology enter the mainstream. Read more »

Speed Reading

Baldwin's Harlem: A Biography Of James Baldwin
|
()

BALDWIN'S HARLEM: A BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES BALDWIN

By Herb Boyd

Atria

272 pages

$24

Herb Boyd's Baldwin's Harlem is a successful primer on James Baldwin's work and a well-researched travelogue through the history of ever-changing Harlem. But it's also something more.

When Boyd, an accomplished journalist for the Amsterdam News in Harlem, was approached to write a biography of a native son and his native soil, it probably seemed like an apt placement. Read more »

Beyong the nerd herd

Ta-Nehisi Coates charts a Beautiful Struggle
|
()

› a&eletters@sfbg.com

REVIEW Amid impoverished rural segregation, my parents were part of the first bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala. While my father studied Frantz Fanon and tae kwan do in Okinawa, my mother went on to be a probation officer in Los Angeles during the Watts riots. I was born in a riot-torn Washington, DC, around the time my father helped take over the administration offices of Howard University. Read more »

Speed Reading

Fashion: A Philosophy tumbles on the runway
|
()

FASHION: A PHILOSOPHY

By Lars Svendsen

Reaktion Books

188 pages

$24.95

As a once and future dandy, I've noted the growing field of fashion philosophy. In the realm of the academy, the idea of a unified theory of style has become something of a holy grail. Read more »