Monday February 22nd, 2010

The Beat

A weekly roundup of noteworthy reviews from other sources.

giddins-and-deveauxJoe Queenan reviews Jazz, an encyclopedic work by Gary Giddins and Scott DeVeaux: “It is vast, thorough, illuminating, thought-provoking, beautifully written and very entertaining. It is also dense, demanding and fundamentally a scholarly text.” . . . “Almost every page here contains an anecdotal gem”: Robert Sandall reviews the memoir of a 1970s rock writer who “became the trusted ally and drug buddy of so many of the rock aristocracy.” . . . Jonathan Shapiro reviews the latest novel by Henning Mankell, and uses the opportunity to judge between the work of Mankell and his fellow Swedish author, bestseller Stieg Larsson: “Like the songs of ABBA, Larsson is sometimes insipid but never boring; like the plays of August Strindberg, Mankell is often dull but never stupid.” . . . In Chasing the White Dog journalist Max Watman goes on the trail of moonshine, “an underground industry that shows no signs of letting up.” . . . Michael Greenberg reviews Alison Gopnik’s The Philosophical Baby, “both a scientific and romantic book, a result of Gopnik’s charming willingness to imagine herself inside the consciousness of young children.” . . . Ross Posnock finds many things to recommend in Terry Castle’s new book of personal essays, The Professor, not least the way it might complicate our feelings about the “cardboard figure of fun” that is its title. . . . Mark Holcomb reviews Lorraine Adams’ new novel: “Adopting the propulsion and framework of an intricately plotted political thriller, The Room and the Chair mercilessly critiques our addiction to narratives of Western exceptionalism even as it compels us to turn its pages.”