Friday January 22nd, 2010

The Beat

A weekly roundup of noteworthy reviews from other sources.

36-argumentsPeter Lopatin says that Rebecca Newberger Goldstein’s 36 Arguments for the Existence of God is “a captivating, original, and at times riotously funny novel” that “does justice to the depth of the problem of reconciling a scientific worldview with the insistent yearning for transcendence.” . . . Julian Baggini surveys four new books about happiness. . . . Paul Mason reviews two books about the financial crisis, one by Joseph Stiglitz and the other by John Lanchester. . . . Tom Shone says that a new book about James Cameron is “less a biography proper than a set visit by someone who got carried away with access to the great and mighty Oz.” . . . Blake Morrison recommends Antonia Fraser’s new memoir about her marriage to Harold Pinter. (“Those hoping for bedroom tattle will be disappointed. The book is intimate without being confessional, and on certain subjects [Fraser] prefers to say nothing. But she’s not so discreet as to be dull, and there’s a lot of humor.”) . . . Ludovic Hunter-Tilney says that Nick Flynn’s second memoir, The Ticking is the Bomb, melds the political and the personal in a way that is “profoundly unconvincing,” not to mention “banal”: “Strip away the highbrow references to Paradise Lost and so on, and the book’s message is essentially that of a Batman movie: we all have a dark side.”