Friday December 18th, 2009

The Beat

A weekly roundup of noteworthy reviews from other sources.

gwilsonThomas DePietro reviews a new, beautifully designed three-volume collection of Gahan Wilson’s cartoons for Playboy. (“Wilson, in short, is very much a creature of his time, the postwar era of domestic prosperity and nuclear anxiety. Without ever losing sight of the humor in it all, Wilson reveals in these many cartoons a disgust with the American war machine, rage over possible Armageddon, and fear of ecological catastrophe.”) . . . A review of several creepy books, including two that “offer an intriguing overview of how the supernatural short story has developed in the U.S. over the past 200 years.” . . . Philip Hoare reviews The Bedside Book of Beasts by Graeme Gibson, a lavishly illustrated look at predators and their prey. . . . In 1993, a freight ship called the Golden Venture got stuck approaching New York, with nearly 300 undocumented Chinese on board. In The Snakehead, Patrick Radden Keefe explores the underground economy and intrigue in Chinatown and around the world. Ted Conover says that “Keefe has done an immense amount of research around the globe; if the Golden Venture beaching was the tip of an iceberg, then here, finally, is the iceberg.” . . . The Economist calls Nicholas Wade’s The Faith Instinct “a masterly book. It lays the basis for a rich dialogue between biology, social science and religious history.”