Friday October 30th, 2009

The Beat

A weekly roundup of noteworthy reviews from other sources.

tim_pageDaniel Menaker reviews Tim Page’s memoir about growing up with Asperger’s: “The writing here is for the most part clear, conversational, mordantly funny. In fact, you wonder how the author can have such a wide palette of expressiveness, given the nature of his nature.” . . . A smart piece by Andrew Delbanco on two new books about education, and why “despite the manifest ambiguities of the data, Americans persist in believing that our schools have fallen from some golden age of excellence.” . . . Gordon Haber reviews six recent books about God vs. No God. On the longest of them, Robert Wright’s 567-page The Evolution of God: “He consistently provides an unnecessary level of detail, which creates a book that refuses to end. Days after I finally got through it all, I flinched whenever I got a text message, for fear that it was Wright with further elucidation.” . . . In the fifth issue of n+1’s book review, Marco Roth reads Caleb Crain’s self-published book of blog writing: “Crain handles [all topics] with an unflagging open-mindedness and intelligence, as though conducting a course on how to be a responsible polymath.” . . . Henry Hitchings compares the seventh edition of the Oxford Companion to English Literature with previous versions. Final verdict: “a scrupulously produced, smartly laid-out, academically serious and at the same time relishably browsable book, replete with valuable information.”