Monday June 14th, 2010

The Beat

A weekly roundup of noteworthy reviews from other sources.

extralivesTom Bissell’s latest book, Extra Lives, details the author’s love affair with video games, and investigates whether or not the games can be considered art. Abigail Deutsch says, “Like a chat with a smart friend who may have fallen for a ditz, Extra Lives provides a lesson in articulate ambivalence.” And Jonathan Last says that Bissell is “so descriptively alert that his accounts of pixelated derring-do may well interest even those who are immune to the charm of video games.” . . . Off the top of my head, I can think of four or five recent books about noise and silence. Nicholas Carr reviews one of them, In Pursuit of Silence by George Prochnik: “Hearing loss, Prochnik reports, is becoming an epidemic, and yet, seeking refuge from noise in more noise, we continue to jack up the volume.” . . . Sylvia Brownrigg calls Ann Beattie’s new novella “a deceptively complex work, one that touches on the intricate strangenesses of friendship and marriage, and of life in that indulgent period [the 1980s].” . . . As a child, poet Paul Guest was in a bicycle accident that left him a quadriplegic. Christopher Beha reviews Guest’s new memoir, which includes an account of the accident “harrowing in its matter-of-factness.” . . . Peter Kramer reviews How Pleasure Works in the form of a conversation with the book’s author, Paul Bloom.