Sunday May 22nd, 2011

The Beat

A weekly roundup of noteworthy reviews from other sources.

Ruth Franklin praises Paula Fox, and reviews a new collection, which “pairs an assortment of previously published short stories, some dating back to the 1960s, with a series of autobiographical lectures and essays that tell of the often-complicated adult life — divorce, children, friendships, family — that took place behind the scenes of her fiction.” . . . Belinda Lanks reviews Intern Nation, a look at the proliferation of unpaid internships, and what impact the trend has on the interns and all other workers. . . . Elizabeth Lowry reviews a new book about boredom — its history, its cultural representations, its occasional usefulness, and its closeness to existential despair. . . . Sally Satel reviews a new book by Richard J. McNally that attempts to mark the dividing line between mental health and illness: “Should we worry about the sanity of the author for assigning himself this thankless task? He might as well be asking where to draw the line between twilight and dusk. But rest assured: McNally’s wide-ranging and extremely readable book is quite sane, and vastly illuminating.” . . . Geeta Dayal says that Rob Young’s Electric Eden, a bulky book that “grapples with the unwieldy history of British folk music” makes up for shunning some of the bigger-name bands with breadth: “This book is wide-ranging enough to contend with Rudyard Kipling, faeries, G.I. Gurdjieff, Paradise Lost, Marshall McLuhan, Arthur Machen, and a member of the Incredible String Band named Licorice.” . . . Nicholas Lezard reviews Peter Nowak’s Sex, Bombs, and Burgers, about the way our appetites have led to unlikely innovations: “This is a breezy, accessible book. I would have preferred something a little more pretentious, with some continental intellectual flashiness thrown in. But then that is just me; and the connections Nowak makes may well form the basis for the kind of thing I’m hankering after.”