Wednesday December 15th, 2010

The Beat

A weekly roundup of noteworthy reviews from other sources.

modernismHere’s a very smart review of a new book by Gabriel Josipovici, in which Robert Boyers addresses why “modernism cannot be effectually revived on the basis of a face-off with a largely imaginary and misconceived opposition.” On a minor note, he also makes me think that maybe it isn’t too late for me to write about David Shields’ Reality Hunger. . . . Bruce Barcott says that Simon Winchester’s history of the Atlantic Ocean is strong early, when it “traces humanity’s small steps seaward, whizzes along with insight, clarity and drama.” But by the end, he’s less enchanted: “Winchester has pulled together a remarkable assemblage of material, but much of it is presented with little rhyme or reason.” . . . Sam McPheeters reviews a new book about the appearance of punk rockers in movies from 1976 to 1999: “The end-product is less of a primer than an encyclopedia, with lavishly illustrated capsule reviews bracketed with a dizzying array of interviews with punks and filmmakers.” . . . Laura Miller reviews The Master Switch>, “a substantial and well-written account of the five major communications industries that have shaped the world as we know it: telephony, radio, movies, television and the Internet,” and considers whether the Internet could fall prey to the monopolistic forces that overtook those other media. . . . Julian Baggini reviews four books about genius and its nature.